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Know the Common Differences: Black Hat vs. White Hat SEO
What is Search Engine Optimization or SEO?
If you’re not in the know, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a vital digital marketing strategy that is used to improve a website’s Search Engine Results. SEO helps drive web traffic to your site organically. You can read more about SEO marketing and additional tips on our SEO Tips for Hawaii Businesses blog post.
Black Hat SEO vs. White Hat SEO
In this blog post, we provide an overview of the Black Hat and White Hat approaches to common SEO Marketing strategies. By understanding their differences, you can confidently distinguish which SEO marketing tactics will improve or hinder your online presence.
You may have heard that White Hat or Gray Hat is the preferred and ethical practice of SEO marketing. This idea is prevalent because the White Hat approach follows the Webmasters Guidelines, which lists techniques that have long term benefits for your online presence. These techniques will also reduce the risk of being penalized by Google’s algorithms because they’re geared towards creating a valuable audience experience on your site. Going the White Hat route does require more effort and time on your behalf, but the payoff is well worth it.
Black Hat SEO marketing includes “quick win” approaches that work outside the Webmaster Guidelines, thus manipulating the search engine’s algorithms to get a higher SERP ranking. Although controversial, these methods do work, but only for a short amount of time and the result of using these taboo techniques may get your web site penalized by Google and other search engines. We here at Team Vision Marketing highly recommend avoiding the use of Black Hat SEO techniques because they cater to the search result’s algorithms, instead of benefitting your customers with rich content. Remember, the health of your online presence relies on the number of people that visit your site, how long they stay on your site, and how many pages they visit.
What Happens When You Use Black Hat SEO?
You can’t cheat your way to the top of the SERP unscathed. Although it’s not illegal, Black Hat SEO tactics are shady tactics that violate the Webmasters Guidelines. If caught, Google will send a preliminary warning against your site and lower your ranking, giving you the chance to correct the wrong. Once you fix your SEO issues, you can submit a reconsideration request to restore your ranking. If your site continues to break the search engine’s rules, the site will be excluded from the SERP. Ultimately, this will your weaken your online presence and negatively impact your company’s reputation.
Creating Web Content
Content is one of the top key factors that affect your search rankings. However, your web page’s content is a broad web component that isn’t limited to materials created by you. It also includes the information or materials shared from other content creators.
White Hat SEO marketers understand that Google rewards sites that regularly post valuable content. The higher the rank, the more likely you will receive increased web traffic and new leads to your site.
Knowing this, you should create excellent content that covers trending topics, and that includes popular search words and phrases. Your content should also include credible links and share other high-quality materials, like videos or infographics, that help your audience discover new content creators or in-depth information sources. You should also regularly update older pieces of content with current information.
TIP: We suggest writing longer blog posts (current recommendation is 2,500 words or more). Longer blog posts help make your posts stand out not just to your audiences but to Google, as well. Think about it, longer content means more keywords and backlinks.
When it comes to creating content, Black Hat SEO marketers will try to use auto-generated content. This is content created programmatically, using a set of rules or scripts instead of original content to trick Google filters. If you come across an online article that is full of grammatical and spelling errors, has duplicated information, is full of spam adverts, or includes nonsensical strings of keywords, it was probably auto-generated.
Adding Keywords and Key Phrases
Mixing in popular, relevant keywords and key phrases in the content, tags, and metadata are important to improving your SERP ranking. These tactics help direct leads to your web site via search engine inquiries.
The proper way of using keywords is to pair your content with a blend of primary and secondary (AKA related) keywords. We suggest brainstorming search phrases related to your content or research keywords with tools like Google Trends, Google Search Console, and Google Correlated. You can even use the “Search related to _____” section at the end of the SERP for keyword inspiration (Image 1).