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There are two general approaches to SEO: white hat and black hat techniques. White hat SEO attributes to practices that increase a website’s search ranking on a search engine result page (SERP) without deviating from Google’s guidelines. Black Hat SEO, on the other hand, deals with finding and exploiting flaws within the Google algorithm. Although both have the same goal, there are some key differences that you will want to understand, especially because some black hat SEO strategies run the risk of earning Google penalties.
In this guide, we will discuss what is the difference between white hat from black hat SEO strategies. We will also cover the basics of effective white hat SEO strategies and how they can improve key ranking factors.
What is White Hat SEO?
White Hat SEO is a term used to refer to SEO strategies that operate within the rules and expectations of search engines and searchers. This means applying techniques to improve a website’s search engine rankings without relying on tricks to undermine a search engine’s algorithm.
White hat SEO strategies focus on providing readers with high-quality and relevant content that optimizes the user experience rather than using more spammy techniques, such as duplicate content that is optimized for search engines only.
White Hat vs Black Hat SEO: What’s the Difference?
Whether they engage in white hat or black hat strategies, content marketers want the same thing – to increase their rankings on Google. Why are SEO Strategists Happening to Google’s Algorithms? Because your website ranking high on Google means reaching 86% of internet users worldwide.
To better understand white hat SEO, it makes sense to examine black hat SEO and understand their key differences, such as:
- White hat SEO produces high-quality content that matches user intent, while black hat strategies exclude low-quality, duplicate, or heavily templated content.
- A white-hat strategy involves using well-labeled images with discreet alternative text, while a black hat uses more dated SEO practices, such as keyword stuffing and invisible text.
- White hat SEO uses keyword research on a single page systematically. In contrast, black hat SEO takes a targeted keyword and heavily uses it in a header, meta tag, or unnatural anchor text in a piece of content.
- White hat content complies with search engine guidelines and builds links by guest posting and authentic link-building strategies, while black hat strategy is link buying.
- Black Hat SEO should not be viewed as an insidious SEO service because on a closer look, some of the strategies are similar. It’s just that black hat strategies tend to create and produce content strictly for search engines rather than people. This practice is often referred to as “cloaking.” However, it is still best to stay away from such practices and build your site authority with long-term, sustainable strategies.
Why is White Hat SEO Important?
White hat SEO is important because, without it, search engine results would be disorganized. Without the rules guiding the Internet, website owners would rely on more dated SEO methods to rank on search pages. And users have to go through a lot of irrelevant sites to find what they are looking for.
White hat SEO is important because it benefits everyone. Google makes sure its algorithms only rank great content that captures the user’s intent for each keyword search. It encourages millions of Internet users to use the search engine.
Site owners also benefit as they can increase their ranking without resorting to dishonest tactics. In the end, users benefit because they can easily find what they’re looking for through organic search
What Are Some White Hat SEO Strategies?
Build your business and your website reputation on a solid foundation. White hat strategies may take time, but they produce long-term results. Below are some White Hat SEO strategies that you should implement.
- Provide valuable content
Blog posts are used as a lead generator by 86% of marketing teams. Content is still king. Therefore, do not create content for search engines. Create content for people looking for information.
You will also want your content to be relevant and authoritative so that others can use it for reference.
- Satisfy user intent
Satisfying user intent is Google’s #1 goal, so you as a website owner should aim for that as well. User intent is the person’s target when they type a query into a search engine. For example, if they type in “keto pasta recipe,” they’ll expect the results to show them a keto diet-approved pasta recipe.
Common types of user intent are informational, commercial, shipping, and transactional. If a person visits a clothing website, it is safe to say they want to buy, and it will be classified as commercial and transactional. If someone looks up “how to grow mushrooms”, they will be looking for information.
Some of the strategies used to accomplish user intent include:
- Knowing your audience and what they are looking for
- Optimizing your content to fit specific keywords
- Formatting Your Content for Skimmers — Use Subtitles and Leave Too Much Space
- Using video and images
Make your website mobile-friendly
In 2019, 52.2% of worldwide traffic used mobile phones to access the Internet. This means that if your website is not optimized for smartphone viewing, you are losing out on potential leads. If visitors to your website can’t navigate your site then they won’t stay.
Type your URL into the search box for Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool. You will get the answer as to whether your website can be viewed on a mobile phone. You will also receive a screenshot with a list of recommendations for optimizing how your pages look on the phone screen.
Should You Always Use White Hat SEO?
The answer to this question largely depends on your goal and the industry and niche you are in. We understand that some industries are themselves black hats, so their strategy is part of the business model. To remain competitive in those markets, you must use some black hat strategies mixed with white hat strategies, which some refer to as “grey hat strategies”.
However, there is also the risk of being penalized or affected by Google’s algorithmic changes. It can have disastrous consequences if you are building a legitimate business and website. That’s why we recommend that you build your web presence with White Hat methods for long term profitability and longevity.