Difference between White Hat and Black Hat SEO

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is ever-changing and a staple of digital marketing. In fact, it’s so important that in the same way doctors can identify and treat diseases, there are SEO specialists known as black hat SEO practitioners and white hat SEO specialists. These two categories of SEO have very different intentions, with black hat SEO being used in ways that are considered unethical or even illegal by search engines such as Google. White hat SEO, on the otherhand, fits within Google’s guidelines and is used primarily as a means to provide users with useful search results content instead of attempting to trick them into clicking on an affiliate link or selling them something. The following article details the ins and outs of each type of SEO along with some examples of how they can be used for your business.

Black Hat SEO

Black hat SEO is any Internet marketing method that is intended to get a website or app onto a search engine’s “spam” or “negative” list. You can think of the spam list as a “do not click on” list for search engines. Why do black hat SEO tactics try to get your site identified as spam? There are a number of reasons, but mostly because it can be used as a shortcut to get you to the top spots for relevant keywords in Google. Black hat SEO tactics are also often used to try to game the algorithm in other ways (more on this later). Unfortunately, because the methods used to achieve these results are often unethical and sometimes illegal, Google now actively tries to remove those websites from their search engine results. They do this through what’s called “spam detection”; websites with black hat SEO tactics are at a much higher risk of being detected as “spam” by the search engine and subsequently banned from their results.

White Hat SEO

White hat SEO is a method of Internet marketing that uses best practices and ethical practices to optimize your website to rank higher in Google. White hat SEO is also sometimes called “ethical SEO” or, more commonly, “sEO best practices.” The term “white hat” comes from the idea that you’re wearing a white hat when you’re wearing one of these hats; you’re not wearing a black hat. This terminology was created to distinguish between black hat and white hat SEO. White hat SEO is a way to rank in Google's search results that uses best practices and ethical practices, instead of trying to game the system with illegal tactics. White hat SEO will get your website to rank higher in Google and draw more visitors to your site.

How Does Black Hat SEO Work?

Black hat SEO is when you intentionally try to trick Google and other search engines into thinking your site is something it’s not. This might mean you make up fake reviews or use a lot of “out-of-context” keywords that are irrelevant to your actual content. You can also use black hat techniques to try to game the algorithm in other ways. For example, you might try to artificially increase the amount of time your site is shown at the top of the results by using “parasite” software. This type of SEO is very risky because it can result in penalties from Google and other search engines, as well as loss of traffic from your visitors. It can also hurt your brand by appearing as if the site is sponsored or paid for.

How Does White Hat SEO Work?

White Hat SEO works by following the guidelines set forth by Google. These guidelines are similar to rules you’d find in a classroom; for example, you can’t use misleading keywords, you can’t use adult content, and so on. White hat SEO has several advantages that can help a website gain more exposure and traffic. First of all, it allows you to appear as if your site is trustworthy; if a reader clicks on an article, they’re likely to assume that the website they’re visiting is the author’s own, not a sponsored post. White hat SEO also makes it much easier to gain links from other websites. In fact, Google has actually penalized websites for trying to game their algorithm by trying to get other websites to link to them using link spam or unrelated link building.


Whether you choose to use black hat or white hat SEO tactics, you can expect a significant boost in traffic if you optimize your site for search engine results. However, it’s important to remember that both types of SEO have their risks, so it’s crucial for you to make the right decision for your business. Black hat SEO is incredibly risky, and you’re more likely to get caught and penalized. White hat SEO is more likely to get you high-quality, relevant links from other websites, but more work is required to implement it properly.

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