Black Hat and White Hat SEO Techniques – What’s the Difference?

Sarah McInerney

Head of Content

Sarah has almost three decades of experience in crafting compelling, engaging content specifically designed to boost sales and enhance brand loyalty. She’s also an expert in developing unique tone of voice that helps brands connect with their audiences. Her marketing and client service background has given Sarah a natural understanding of how to write content that makes readers take action. Whether it’s signing up to a mailing list, making an enquiry or donation or clicking the buy button, Sarah knows precisely how to convert with words. Pen down, Sarah is a proud member of the Essex Wildlife Trust and spends most of her free time enjoying inspiring walks through her local woodland and nature reserves, admiring everything that flaps, flutters and flowers.

The Google Penguin algorithm was launched in April this year and was aimed at penalising websites who use black hat SEO techniques to boost their rankings.  As you might imagine, ‘black hat SEO’ involves using bad practices that may help a SEO company London in the short term, but can have devastating long term effects. White hat SEO techniques in contrast are what Google love and have a positive effect on your website.

Let’s take a look at the key aspects of both black hat and white hat techniques:

Black Hat SEO Techniques:

  1. Hidden Content.  This can occur in many forms, but it basically means that within the code that is used to build a website, there will be content that is stuffed with keywords.  This will not be visible to the end user and so is often hard to spot, but if detected by Google the website will be penalised.
  2. Keyword Stuffing.  This can occur in the Meta Tags or in the content of the website itself and shows content to be unnaturally overloaded with keywords.  Google much prefers content that makes sense and is written for humans rather than being written expressly for search engines.
  3. Link Farming.  These are pages that are unseen by end users that serve no other purpose than to list links of unrelated websites.
  4. Duplicate Content.  If multiple pages within a website contain the same content, search engines can penalise.

 White Hat SEO Techniques:

  1. Quality Content. This is the most valuable thing to optimise your website.  Unique, well written content that gives the user plenty of information will always be rewarded by Google.
  2. Effective use of Keywords. Content that makes good use of keywords and key phrases that have been well researched with the end user in mind will be considered favourably.
  3. Quality Inbound Links.  This doesn’t mean having links from just any old website, but links that are relevant to the content on that page. So the quality of link is more rewarded than the quantity. Deep linking to pages that aren’t just the homepage is also good.
  4. Effective Title and Meta Data. Used properly and not stuffing these with keywords, will give clear indications to search engines about the nature of your website and are encouraged.

Google Penguin should be considered a good thing for all of us as it promotes sites that only use good, ethical SEO practices.  Are you confident about which techniques are being used to build and promote your website?  Get in touch with our SEO agency in London if you want to find out more.  We only wear white hats in this office.

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