Black hat SEO refers to techniques and strategies used to get higher search rankings, and breaking search engine rules. Black hat SEO focuses on only search engines and not so much a human audience. Black hat SEO is typically used by those who are looking for a quick return on their site, rather than a long-term investment on their site. Some techniques used in black hat SEO include: keyword stuffing, link farming, hidden texts and links, and blog content spamming. Consequences of black hat SEO can possibly result in your site being banned from a search engine and de-indexed as a penalization for using unethical techniques.
White hat SEO refers to the use of techniques and strategies that target a human audience opposed to a search engine. Techniques that are typically used in white hat SEO include using keywords, and keyword analysis, doing research, rewriting meta tags in order for them to be more relevant, backlinking, link building as well as writing content for human readers. Those who use white hat SEO expect to make a long-term investment on their website, as the results last a long time.
Effectiveness of white hat vs black hat SEO
SEO is part science, part art. There is a wide range of opinion in the SEO practitioner community regarding the effectiveness of white hat vs black hat techniques. Most agree that white hat techniques take longer to improve search rankings.
Consequences of Black hat vs White hat SEO
Even though quick results make black hat SEO tempting, it can get your site banned (de-indexed) or heavily penalized for use of unethical practices. It is widely believed that the risk is not worthwhile for websites that plan to be operational over the long haul. Moreover black hat SEO methods give only short term results. White hat SEO can get your site ranked higher by use of ethical techniques, good content, appropriate keywords and a combination of smart marketing angles providing long lasting results.
Google’s Panda update rewards websites that have high-quality content. After this algorithm update, low-quality pages on the site affected not just the ranking for those pages but for the entire website.
Google’s Penguin update was targeted specifically at black hat SEO techniques using which some website owners had accumulated thousands of links from “link farms”. Thousands of such websites were penalized due to the Penguin update. Webmasters were encouraged to remove bad links pointing to their site. In some cases, they were able to do so successfully but often webmasters cannot control who links to them.
Because you cannot control who links to your site, it’s possible for a competitor to pay link farms to point “bad links” to your website from poor-quality sites. Google’s algorithms could penalize you for these links, which would hurt your search engine rankings. Bing has a tool that lets webmasters disavow bad links pointing to their website but Google does not. Some analysts have criticized Google for letting their algorithm be gamed with negative SEO.
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