In SEO, a topic that comes up every once in awhile is ‘which SEO is better? Black hat or white hat?’ Here’s a quick refresher:
Black hat SEO attempts to improve rankings in ways that are disapproved of by the search engines, or involve deception. One black hat technique involves using hidden text, either as text colored similar to the background, in an invisible div, or positioned off screen. Another method gives a different page depending on whether the page is being requested by a human visitor or a search engine, a technique known as cloaking. (from Wikipedia)
Examples of black hat SEO:
- Spamming - using automated software to spam forums, article directories, directories, and more
- Cloaking - showing the user one page and showing the search engine a different page
White hat SEO - SEO techniques, which conform to best practice guidelines, and do not attempt to unscrupulously “game” or manipulate SERPs. (from SEOmoz)
Examples of white hat SEO:
- Content creation – creating helpful, useful content to your users. E.g. how-to lists, best of’s, interviews, Q&A, etc.
- Link bait - creating remarkable or interesting content that garners links easily. E.g. infographics, viral videos, etc.
- On-page SEO - optimizing titles, h1s, meta descriptions, meta robots, site architecture, etc.
If you are trying to build a sustainable site, it’s much safer and longer lasting if you decide to go with a white hat SEO strategy. This is because the content that you create helps you with branding and also strengthens your other marketing efforts. If you look at Mint, they have a fantastic blog with great content and interesting infographics. This brands them as a trusted source for good financial information and attracts links from quality sources. People continually turn to sources such as The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and TechCrunch because they’ve become the trusted source for news in their respective niches. Black hat SEO doesn’t do that for you.
A lot of black hat SEO involves churning out sites quickly and blasting them with links. This is a high-risk, quick win strategy that works with sites that black hatters are willing to risk. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying it doesn’t work. Saying that black hat SEO is ineffective would be a bit naive. However, black hat SEO generally does not work out if you are trying to build a sustainable site – a brand. So in the end, it really depends on what you are trying to do with your site.
What type of strategies do you employ with your site?