Home » White Hat Vs Black Hat SEO: Best practices for long term success

White Hat Vs Black Hat SEO: Best practices for long term success

by Lara

Black Hat SEO does not really concern itself with the user. It often works around the search engine in a ‘quick fix’ method that is not likely to have a lasting effect. Techniques used in Black Hat SEO include, but are not limited to, cloaking, link spam, hidden text and hidden links, often the use of low quality/offshore content and automated content. The benefit of using such methods is that if done effectively, spidering or the automatic program the search engine uses to index a page may show favorable results. However, as mentioned, it is always a risk and one that may result in the loss of potential clients, customers, and revenue.

One cannot begin to explore the differences between White Hat and Black Hat SEO without first examining the two main strategies of search engine optimization. An effective search engine optimization strategy will employ a mixture of both methods, however it is important to note that White Hat SEO is a much more ‘long term’ strategy, whereas Black Hat SEO is often employed by those that are looking to reap its benefits for a short period. White Hat SEO will focus on making the relevant changes to a website that are likely to improve its search engine results. These changes often include on-site optimization, improving a site’s relevancy, availability and writing high quality content.

Definition of White Hat SEO

White hat search engine optimization (SEO) can be defined as the usage of optimization strategies, techniques, and tactics that focus on a human audience opposed to search engines and completely follows search engine rules and policies. For example, a website that is SEO optimized, yet focuses on relevancy and organic ranking, is considered to be optimized using white hat SEO practices. Some examples of white hat SEO techniques include using keywords and keyword analysis, back-linking, link building to improve link popularity, and writing content for human readers. White hat SEO is more frequently used by those who intend to make a long-term investment on their website. Also called ethical SEO.

Definition of Black Hat SEO

The reason why you would employ black hat techniques is in most cases purely for quick financial gain. Black hat techniques are usually easier to implement than white hat as they do not require much effort through systematic planning, content development, and link building. Examples of best black hat techniques to make quick money would be through affiliate marketing, or giving the site a transient boost in search engine traffic. Black hat affiliate marketing is usually done through PPC advertising. By purchasing traffic for a specific keyword through a search engine, you can direct this traffic to your affiliate landing page link, get a conversion, and make a quick buck by not having to deal with the content development of a site to rank organically. Another method is creating a site specifically to target AdSense. With a higher traffic volume rate, money can be made relatively easily. This is done through the same methods of purchasing traffic for search engine terms. The aim to make quick money can be for anything, and an example would be offering a service in which a higher search engine ranking can generate more leads and customers.

– IP ban: An IP ban usually occurs when a site is hosting multiple sites that are using spam techniques. By banning the IP the search engine hopes to remove all the sites that are associated with that IP. An IP ban does not only affect the site in question, but also other sites on that IP.

– Site ban: A site ban is when a site is removed from the search engine’s index. To check and see if your site has been banned from Google, try using the site:www.yoursite.com search query. If nothing comes up it is possible your site could be banned.

Black hat SEO can be best described as the practice of implementing strategies and preparing a website for search engines, which is in conflict with the search engines’ guidelines. Using these techniques can potentially lead to your site being banned from a search engine, or in some cases entire domains get banned. A banned site is a site that has been removed from a search engine’s index, which means it will no longer be found through search engines. This can occur because of the algorithm update or a manual review. There are two different types of search engine bans:

White Hat SEO Strategies

Keyword Research and Optimization Keyword research is the first step in the SEO process. Deciding the best keyword phrase comes from common sense, intuition, and researching the competitive landscape. There are many free and paid keyword researching tools that help the site owner determine what are the “right” and “wrong” keyword phrases for their optimization goals. The key here is to select phrases that have high search volume and are relevant to the site while also being attainable. Attainable phrases are often long-tail and have less competition than shorter, more ambiguous phrases. Short-term and long-term goals must be set for which keyword phrases to target.

High-quality Content Creation White hat SEO starts with the kind of quality content that is intended to be usable by human readers, not just to get high search placement. The content must make use of keyword phrases in a natural manner and not be aimed at search engine ranking only. White hat content is visualized and constructed for the end user first and then reverse-engineered to fit the search spiders. The content comes in many forms, including body copy, blog posts, articles, white papers, press releases, and more.

High-Quality Content Creation

First, it’s important to identify your audience. If it is a medical website, you really won’t be wanting to throw in any slang or humor as it may not be considered professional. Whereas if you run a site about games and gaming, you may find that visitors will be more easily engaged with some light-hearted language and maybe some memes here and there. Knowing who your audience is and catering towards that audience is key. Always ask yourself if the content is providing value, relevant information, and it being presented in a professional or entertaining matter. Value is extremely important, the content needs to leave the viewer with no questions and is comprehensive to the topic at hand.

While it is obvious that content is king when it comes to successful websites, many people often wonder exactly how to create said content. It is easy to simply type up a 500-word article and throw in some related pictures. The hard part is creating engaging and relevant content that will be useful to your readers and make them want to return time and time again. White hat SEO understands that there needs to be a good foundation to your content beforehand. It is suggested that a good 70% of time pre-optimization should be spent on content. The biggest goal is to always write for the user but keeping the search engines in mind.

Keyword Research and Optimization

The best way to truly know if you are receiving SEO best practices for your keyword analysis is to learn to do it yourself. Overture and Wordtracker provide advanced SEO tools at reasonable prices and even have free tools that you can utilize for the same purpose. The data you’ll gather will seem minimal; however, you can gain invaluable insight into how to discover new keywords and terms to try and how your site traffic, sales, and inquiries will produce successful results. The first step is to find out what people are searching for that is relevant to your business. The second step is to figure out if the search volume and potential traffic are worth your while. The third step is to find a specific niche in providing information or a product; the goal is finding a high conversion rate. This brings us to the very basic principle of SEO keyword optimization.

If you were to provide your search engine marketing work to a company, I’m certain that you’d like to know they’re using competitive intelligence to analyze and compile a listing of keywords that are relevant to your business. The problem is that competitive intelligence costs money and outsourcing abroad to SEO companies that don’t apply a high quality of work is not going to present the same results.

When businesses formulate their initial price range for search engine marketing, they know that keyword analysis is the preliminary step. Keyword analysis is the act of researching, analyzing, and selecting the best phrases or key phrases that can target search phrases people enter into the search engines. Keyword analysis is critically important to the success of any website because it supplies a roadmap for the creation of content.

On-Page Optimization Techniques

Each page should contain a unique title tag and meta description. These should contain keywords and give a brief explanation into what the page content is about. Your title tag should be a maximum of 64 characters and your meta description a maximum of 150. This can be difficult, but it encourages the creator to carefully think about what best describes the page content to a searcher. On a search engine results page, the title tag and meta description are what a user reads, so you must consider this when looking to drive people to visit your page.

The first step in on-page optimization is to create relevant, rich content about your keyword phrases. Take the top 3 keyword phrases that you are targeting and write a short article for each one. The content should be a minimum of 500 words and the keyword phrase should be included in the first and last paragraph. The article should contain a 2-3% keyword density. This is a general rule and should be adapted accordingly. Keyword density is an art and every experienced publisher. 1-2% is often said to be the required amount; however, this can vary depending on the keyword.

On-page optimization is a white hat SEO technique used to increase your website’s visibility. It is a process that needs to be done during the creation or updating of a website. This involves optimizing the pages within the website in order to rank higher in search engine results.

Building Quality Backlinks

A core principle of white hat SEO is building quality backlinks. It is a well-known fact that backlinks are the fuel on which SEO runs. The fastest way to get a site to show up on the first page of search results is to get a ton of low-quality, irrelevant backlinks. However, the sustainability of this method is questionable and it goes against Google’s webmaster guidelines. Google has become extremely proficient at identifying manipulative backlinks and penalizing sites that appear to be acquiring links unnaturally. This has led to a number of high-profile cases over the past two years with the most recent and biggest to date being the manual action against myblogguest.com. The owner of My Blog Guest, Ann Smarty, confirmed via Twitter that the site has been hit with a site-wide penalty for “backlinks”. This led to the site all but disappearing from Google search results. My Blog Guest was a platform used by bloggers to connect with each other and exchange backlinks in a legitimate way. Ann is adamant that the penalty was a mistake and that guest blogging, as long as it is done in a tasteful manner and with blogs of high quality, is a completely valid way to build backlinks. This method of guest blogging is a far cry from the advertorial style guest blogging which is essentially paying for links. This is just one example of how Google’s war on manipulative vs natural backlinks is sometimes causing collateral damage. It isn’t an easy task to categorize and penalize all the different shades of backlink manipulation but that’s another story.

Black Hat SEO Techniques

We’ll start with the ever-popular keyword stuffing. This is the oldest and the most common black hat technique. Keyword stuffing is the attempt to add as many keywords into a page as possible. The keywords are often out of context and interspersed with text that makes very little sense. When Google was in its infancy, this technique was very effective. Pages with an absurd keyword density would rank very highly as the search engine was fooled into thinking that the page was extremely relevant to the search term. Creating content that is too keyword dense nowadays often results in a warning or a penalty from Google, so keyword stuffing is not as effective as it once was. An example of keyword stuffing can look like this: We sell custom cigar humidors. Our custom cigar humidors are handmade. If you’re thinking of buying a custom cigar humidor, it is a good idea to purchase a custom cigar humidor. A custom cigar humidor is essential for anyone serious about cigars. Located in Florida, custom cigar humidors are important due to the humidity. Truthfully, that was painful to write. Writing like that will not do very well in search engines these days, and most internet users will avoid pages that are clearly garbled. Writing quality content is extremely important, and keyword stuffing goes against that. In the example above, it’s clear the writer’s focus was adding as many instances of ‘custom cigar humidor’ as possible, and very little thought was given to the overall quality of the content.

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is a practice that is now many years old. This is simply the overuse of keywords within a page of text. This can be done in a number of ways, and as the SEO gets bolder, the methods they use to stuff keywords become more advanced. In the early 2000s, keyword stuffing was often lists of phone numbers where the last 4 digits were changed, and this created thousands of pages targeted at that one keyword with the hope of getting some traffic. If you dial the phone number, you will hear a text-to-speech message. This is to avoid human visitors. Text-to-speech is detectable by search engine spiders and, until recently, was used to deliver keyword-rich messages on web pages. Often, the speech was nonsensical and the page was not written for human use. These days, keyword stuffing is often based around placing the text where it cannot be seen by the user or creating text whose only purpose is to act as keywords. An example being, a webpage about an appliance which has 500 instances of the word “appliance” in the same color as the page background, making it impossible to see but still accessible by search engine spiders. This method is usually thought of as a way to increase search engine rankings, but the page becomes unreadable to the human eye and can result in a search engine ban because it is seen as a detriment to the quality of their search results. An example of a page written solely for search engine results is one created entirely with the use of dynamic content. Static HTML is invisible to search engines. Dynamic pages are known for producing unrelated and keyword-rich links to more dynamic pages, and their occurrences of the keywords within URLs can often be high. Keyword stuffing in meta data is also a common occurrence. Due to the belief that meta keywords are still used by search engines to rank pages (it is not and has not been for a long time), often a page will contain a list of white text keywords on a white background at the bottom of the meta keywords in order to give relevance to the outgoing meta tags.

Hidden Text and Links

Hidden text and links is one of the oldest black hat techniques still in use today, and it is a clear violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. When a user searches for information, the text is the same color as the background and not visible to the user, but can be seen by search engine spiders. Serving a page of HTML text to search engines, while showing a page of images or Flash to users. Using CSS to position text off-screen where the user can’t see it. An example of hidden text is if a site contains paragraphs of text, each with only a word or two changed, but the link is the same. A visitor to the page is unable to discern a difference in the words, but search engine bots will. Text can be hidden in many ways, so below is a list of things to be wary of plus tips on how to avoid it. – If you like to do a highlight in text, make sure that the highlighted color isn’t the same as the background color. – If part of a website is using some kind of CSS Dropdown menu, make sure that links aren’t linking to pages which have JavaScript redirects. – Make sure that you always check the source code of your pages for things that may appear out of the ordinary. This task can be made easier by writing server-side scripts that will automatically output any text that may be hidden.


There are a lot of search engine optimization techniques that people use in order to generate traffic on their sites. Some are legitimate methods and there is nothing wrong with using them. White hat search engine optimization takes place when you use the search engine optimization methods to build your site in a way that is acceptable. Black hat techniques are considered to be unethical and try to “trick” the search engine in order to generate traffic. Cloaking is a search engine optimization technique in which the content presented to the search engine spider is different from that presented to the user’s browser. This is done by delivering the content based on the IP addresses or the User-Agent HTTP header of the user’s browser. It is considered to be a black hat technique because you are presenting different information to the search engine than you are to the actual user.

Private Blog Networks (PBNs)

It is entirely foreseeable that manual action will be taken on PBNs and even if it is not, given the amount of cluster updates over the last few years in search engine algorithms, PBN links are likely to have their value devalued greatly. Thus it is not wise to invest in PBNs for long-term SEO, or even to recover a site’s rankings. With the risks involved and the potential losses of rankings incurred by manual action or algorithm updates, it is best to use a white hat technique to build high-quality, relevant, contextual links which will have value to users and will not pose a risk to the website being linked to.

Ideally, the person would place 1 contextual link within the post. It should be noted that the quality of PBN links is usually quite high because the owner of the PBN has control over the website and can change the anchor text and link destination at any time. This contrasts buying link packages at some other sites or forums and even low-cost link building services where the links are on substandard pages or articles and the links are often in comments. Link builders love PBNs because they are an excellent way of building links with specific anchor text to the website. A newer website or one which has been hit by Google’s recent updates can use a PBN to quickly build high relevancy, high-quality links to its site to get the rankings back. However, given that PBNs are a form of link scheme, they offer no value to the user and exist purely to manipulate search engine rankings.

Private blog networks are a collection of blogs often controlled by 1 publisher, with the sole purpose of building links to a single website. Often the blogs can have relevant whois data, varied hosting solutions and use different CMSs, but the blogs are all owned or are being controlled by the same person. The content is usually of low quality and overstuffed with keywords around the link. Links are then placed within the content to the relevant website.

As with some of the other techniques discussed above, private blog networks have been devalued and identified as a black hat technique to increase search engine ranking. In fact, Matt Cutts publicly devalued PBNs back in 2014, you can watch the video here. He mentions how manual action is being taken against those using or selling blog networks. Online marketers or search engine optimizers may well remember how devastating it was when Google took manual action against the link networks. Given how PBNs are harder to detect than link networks, you can be sure that the outcomes will be severe if Google catches onto a widespread PBN tactic.

Link Farms and Link Buying

As search engines became more complex, they have also become much better at identifying link farms and link buying. Google in particular has been targeting these sorts of operations in recent years. Their aim is to provide the most relevant search results for their users, and links from link farms and PBNs are generally the antithesis of relevant. Commercial anchor text that is rich in keywords is often used in these sorts of links, which is something else that search engines are becoming more adept at identifying. Evidently the link building is done with the search engines in mind, rather than providing value for internet users. Rand Fishkin has a good Whiteboard Friday that is somewhat related, on the topic of manipulating link popularity to which he suggests that for long-term sustainable value through SERP’s, you should be avoiding the tactics that are being scrutinized. He highlights the fact that if you want to explain what you’re doing to a Google employee, the chances are it’s not a white hat practice. No doubt if your link building strategy is to the point where you’re hesitant to explain it to someone at Google, you’re on the wrong track. Real backlinks from real websites can still definitely be a safe and effective means of increasing your website’s performance. With the emergence of freelance blogging and outreach as an industry, there are plenty of opportunities to get a quality link from a relevant site. This involves collaborating with a blogger or a webmaster and providing them with a high-quality article to publish with your relevant anchor text and a link back to your site. This can often be in the form of a barter, or payment may be involved. As long as the article is of high quality and is providing value to readers, as opposed to a guest posting on a random site where the article is really just a vessel for your links, then this is a legitimate white hat SEO tactic.

Long Term Success with SEO Services

An effective SEO campaign is critical for any business looking to work on its digital presence. As outlined in the previous chapters, there are plenty of ways to go about initiating an SEO campaign with each method having its own set of rewards and risks. This section of the site’s essay looks at the long term process and ethical options available. Primarily, the aim is to look at what is best for the long term and sustained growth of a particular business. With the highly competitive marketplace of the modern world, everyone is looking for an edge over their competitors and would go to any lengths to achieve it. What is most important is that businesses are adaptable to change. Google is constantly updating its search algorithms in an effort to return more meaningful and relevant results to its users. What might be effective today could very well be redundant in the near future. Ethical SEO involves building a site that is more future proof and adaptable to changes in the algorithms.

Importance of Ethical SEO Practices

Ask yourself what your business really needs. If you are serious about sustaining long-term growth for your business online, this is what you need to focus on. Sustainable growth is not possible with unethical SEO tactics. It may seem like a content shortcut to higher search engine rankings, but the results are usually short-lived. In many cases, a website will incur a penalty or completely be dropped from the search engine database as a result of using unethical SEO techniques. This is a disaster which no business can afford. A drop in search engine rankings or being banned on a search engine database can result in a loss of hundreds of business leads and sales. Search engine rankings are very volatile…if a competitor finds that you have achieved a higher search engine ranking using unethical techniques, they too can employ the same tactics to take your spot. This vicious cycle can be avoided if you simply make an investment in quality SEO services. With a focus on white hat tactics, your search engine rankings will steadily increase over time. Due to your high search engine rankings, your business will be getting more leads. And with more leads, your business will have a chance to greatly increase sales. This is the ultimate goal for any business: more sales. High search engine rankings obtained with quality SEO services are a surefire way to attain this.

Benefits of White Hat SEO for Sustainable Growth

White hat SEO method is a lawful and active practice of a site to progress the way by refining the ranking on the search engine. It is produced by following the complete policy and guiding for the operation of SEO. It stresses human viewers instead of claiming the search engine. SEO services providers who use white hat SEO practice are likely to bring up lasting outcomes. It considers the search engine and constructs the site on it so that it becomes simply easy to access by the search engines compared to black hat SEO. White hat SEO comprises a wide range of moral operations, and there are no secret operations. During the action of white hat SEO, the site bidding to the search engine is considered first so that it can become healthy and active, making it search engine friendly. When you talk about the benefits of white hat SEO, something that comes to mind is the long term and reliable outcome. White hat SEO offers you a long term investment for customers and prepares you for enduring and beneficial rankings compared to those who use black hat SEO. This is because white hat SEO does not manipulate the search engine policy or use tricks to get high rankings. It improves the site ranking through actual enhancement and requires a great effort. The changes might be done gradually, but they will give advantageous outcomes. White hat SEO gives reliability to the end result for customers, and it makes the customer not worry about the ups and downs in ranking. With a specific rank and less uncertainty, it will help decrease the pressure on the marketing fund and increase the ROI for the company.

Risks and Consequences of Black Hat SEO

Consequences of using black hat SEO can be very harsh and could be damaging to a company. Once a site is penalized, it can be removed from SERPs or in some cases, the site and domain are blacklisted. It is already difficult for a new site to gain ranking in SERPs. Imagine how difficult it is for a site to try and get out of the sandbox when their site has been removed from search engines. Redistributions of a site’s rank can also be damaging. If a site has worked its way up to the top of SERPs and then is penalized, its decreased rank will most likely be a lot for the company to handle. This can result in loss of business for the company because most people never look past page one or two of search engine results. Removal of a site from a search engine’s index is the ultimate removal of a site from search engine results and it can be a death sentence for a site. A search engine’s guidelines is another consequence that is important to think about when practicing black hat SEO. If a site is heavily penalized and the webmaster realizes it, the webmaster can file a reinclusion request if the site can fix the problems that the search engine has found. If the request is denied, the site’s owner can always make a new site remembering what he did wrong on the previous site. It is common for black hat SEOs to file a new site reinclusion request a few times after being denied, and if it still doesn’t work, the webmaster can resort to making a new site. The next time a webmaster is deciding to practice unethical SEO, he will always have in the back of his mind that the site could be penalized and the consequences might not be worth the risk.

Sotavento Medios: A Trusted Digital Marketing Agency in Singapore

Sotavento is a professional company that provides quality services to clients from diverse industries by delivering real results and improving their return on investment. The team at Sotavento consists of seasoned SEO consultants and internet marketing professionals with proficient knowledge and experience in many areas. Sotavento SEO services pioneer in consultation-based services where the company forms close relationships with clients to better understand their business and utilize the most cost-effective strategies to improve their online presence.

Sotavento is a white hat SEO company that provides clear, ethical, and professional search engine optimization and internet marketing services to companies looking to improve their search engine rankings. One of the key reasons Sotavento is a white hat SEO company is because the company was conceived with the clear goal to operate an ethical and honest internet marketing business. Sotavento does not have a shady past, and the company follows its ethical code to stick to white hat SEO service. Sotavento is committed to improving the standards and reputation of the search engine marketing industry, and the company is continuously generating awareness to eradicate the bad image often associated with SEO. This includes playing an active role in educating the public about SEO and internet marketing.

Sotavento Medios is a reputable digital marketing agency based in Singapore, and they pride themselves on their ethical approach to SEO. Employing only white hat SEO techniques, Sotavento Medios has helped many clients improve their search rankings. The company is established with the goal of helping local businesses gain an online presence, and they have achieved this in an honest and ethical manner.

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