Black Hat vs White Hat SEO: What’s the Difference?

Black Hat vs White Hat SEO: What’s the Difference?

For those of you who are familiar with SEO marketing techniques, you are probably well acquainted with the terms “black hat” and “white hat” when describing different methods in marketing. At the same time, however, since there are hardly any rules on the Internet, there can often be no motivation to avoid the “dirty tricks” that often comprise black hat. What’s worse, sometimes there is confusion as to whether something is black or white, called gray hat. Here are some general tips for navigating your way around SEO marketing to avoid the bad and improve the good.

1. White hat is about content, black hat is about numbers.

This is the biggest and plainest difference between black hat and white hat SEO techniques. Black hatters try their best to be constantly up-to-date on even the slightest algorithm change on popular search engines like Google, in order to “game” the system, where as for white hatters, this does not come into the picture as much. If you do white hat SEO, you should know the basics of search engines and how they work. Knowing how different users look for items on the Internet is also very important, and knowing how to get your business or other businesses to tweak their content such that it appeals to their target audience, is absolutely essential as well.

2. If, as a user, you wouldn’t be happy, then don’t do it.

This might seem like common sense, but put yourself in your users’ shoes. If you are annoyed by spammy stuff in your email inbox, why would you resort to using similar tactics on someone else? Bottom line: Be nice.

3. Black hat may be tempting, but it’s not a sustainable business model.

Although many will knock black hatters for being “evil,” it isn’t simply a question of morality. It’s a matter of being bad for business. Black hat techniques are basically techniques used to solve quick problems and get users to buy into or search for a product or service of subpar quality. If you are representing a subpar product, then consider how to enhance the quality of what you are providing to establish a better long-term plan for growth.

4. Don’t be too judgmental of black hatters.

While black hatters get a lot of grief for being “immoral,” don’t automatically equate black hat techniques with mortal sins. Of course, those practices make the Internet an annoying place to hang out, but at the same time, black hat techniques direct to poor quality content, and if you don’t look for poor quality, then you won’t have much of a problem, especially now that Google has become better at detecting content farms and the like. Just rest assured that cheap tricks won’t be successful long term, so there’s no use getting upset over their underhanded practices like keyword stuffing.

About the author

Orangec Copper

Founder of OrangeCopper Webmaster Networks, also writes for the latest Launch - HippieMonk Tech & LifeStyle Blog! Stay tuned to the Orangecopper Network of websites at our network page.

Readers Comments (11)

  1. Hey Alvina,

    Thanks for posting this excellent article!

    It has been really informative.



  2. eng. Ilian Iliev 8 June, 2011 @ 6:41 pm

    I don`t deny that SEO is a constant process and you should always care for your ranking and try to optimise and produce more and valuable content but … in my opinion black hat results are really temporary, they will rank you high for a short term of time after which you will fall down back to page 50. Also not to mention the constant search engine algorithms improvement that will remove the effects from black hat SEO and the penalties that your website may get.

    I have seen some small size companies that hire some black hatters to spam blogs and sites with non-valuable comments pointing to their website. The results of this will only ruin your reputation and not bring you any good.

    Provide valuable content and get some good back-links. Be white hat and you will see the benefits.

  3. Interior designer Ja 19 June, 2011 @ 12:55 am

    Good to know how the thesis theme looks like or how it works. Thank you for sharing the detailed review with the pros and cons. I think I will consider using this especially because there is a 30 days Moneyback.

  4. :) your blog's so friendly

  5. Don't have much words to say but simply, very nice comparison of back hat and white hat SEO.



  6. Most link building by most SEO firms is not "natural" and is in fact blackhat according to Google. If you have to pay for it, ask for it, comment for it or insert a link in your article to gain it, then you are manipulating Google search results and Google terms that as blackhat. You just need to view the many video's by Matt Cutts to realize that if you are doing any of the above, then you are creating links manually and you violating Google's TOS.

    It simply baffles me how many SEO experts will quickly denounce Cloaking as "unethical" or against Google's TOS or even label it as spam which manipulates search results but then on a daily basis create artificial, manual or software generated backlinks for clients.

    If you are distributing countless articles with links or posting on blogs/forums to obtain backlinks or using automated backlinking software, isn't that also spamming to manipulate search engine results?

    What is the difference? It all violates Google's TOS.

    So does "blackhat" or being "unethical" really exist anymore? Isn't this really about traffic, conversions and surviving within an ever tightening monopoly created by Google for which we now are left with few other options, unless to line the pockets of Google shareholders.

    • You are right Samuel!
      The ideal way interlinking should work is naturally – Someone likes your content and links to it as a reference and it should count for SEO. But what is happening is forced optimization and to an extent that cannot be stopped. What needs to improve is the search engine algorithm to identify and penalize unethical methods, we can stop anyone from doing it ! The SE algorithms are becoming superior with time is the good side of it!


  7. Dang, man. Great article. Wow. Definitely going to be going through reading the rest of your stuff now Shane´s last blog ..SEO is Overrated

  8. Well said. SEO is such a time consuming process and the work is an ongoing project. Quality SEO's report their results on a monthly basis (at least) and just building useful reports is a project in and of itself. Not only that, but the value a company gets from a good SEO campaign will far outweigh the benefits regardless of the cost. Thanks so much!

  9. Sabrina Sabino 8 March, 2012 @ 10:03 am

    I sort of believe in gray hat seo…if there's such a thing. :)

  10. black hat seo, cooki 18 July, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

    Hey There. I found your blog the use of msn. This is a really smartly written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thank you for the post. I'll definitely comeback.


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