White Hat, Black Hat & Grey Hat SEO

If you’re an SEO savvy marketer, you already know about white, black and grey hat SEO practices. However, if you’re new to SEO and don’t know what hats have to do with search engine optimization, here’s what you need to know: White Hat SEO refers to any practice that improves search performance on a search engine results page (SERP) while adhering to that search engine’s policies. In terms of Google, White Hat techniques follow their self-published guidelines. Some examples of White Hat tactics include using keywords, back-linking, link building, and writing content that focuses on relevancy, organic ranking and audience engagement. Black Hat SEO tactics are disapproved practices that increase page rankings in a SERP by going against that search engine’s terms of service. Black Hat techniques range from keyword stuffing, using unrelated keywords in page content, and invisible text to doorway pages, page swapping, redirects and content automation. White Hat is preferable to Black Hat in that said practices are ethical and sustainable. Black Hat practices are effective, but are risky and can cause your site to be reported. Grey Hat SEO, on the other hand, is SEO practice that remains “ill-defined” and/or “ill-advised” by search engine published guidelines and which can be disagreeable. In essence, it’s Black masquerading as White. For example, click bait. Click bait refers to a practice where someone posts something like an eye catching link or piece of content that encourages a reader to click and read more.   For examples of common White and Black Hat strategy, check out PushOn’s article on the top 5 white hat and black hat search optimization techniques. Please feel free to contribute any discussion of how white, black, or grey SEO has worked for you in a comment below.

Reader Interactions


  1. Shubha says

    I suggest beginners, follow only white hat SEO which based on Google’s guidelines or any search engine’s guidelines. If you are not following their guidelines, they will kick you from their lists. This blog is very informative and understandable. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Rachel says

    This blog defines the White hat SEO and Black hat SEO in much detail which is very explanatory. Thank-you so much. One should always use White Hat SEO to rank websites. One will gain nothing by risking his/her site because of using the Black Hat or Grey Hat Techniques. Great job and appreciable work!

  3. pranit says

    If you want a solution for the long-term benefit, then white hat SEO is the right choice for you. This approach is organic and natural. White hat SEO improves your website’s page rank. Indeed nice sharing!

  4. Joel Huang says

    There’s no real definitive line on what is grey hat, black hat, or white hat. However, most grey hat methods are things that can be done in either a white hat or black hat manner. For example, content behind tabs can also be hidden entirely and work or be crammed with keyword focused content. It depends on how exactly you do it. Wonderful article. Thanks a lot for sharing it.

  5. Alian says

    Thanks for sharing this guide,
    In my view White Hat SEO is the one and only technique which we should follow to rank our sites.
    Black and Grey can be detected by Google at anytime and then our sites will be kicked.

  6. James Wilson says

    trying to learn everything I can about seo, doing alot of work myself. My question is submission software is it white or black hat seo. because Big companies have to use some kind of softwares for their customers, I know they are not doing it manually? is it safe?

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