In the current digital era, Search Engine Optimization or SEO has become a popular Internet methodology which is used to improve the ranking of the websites. In fact, the digital marketing standards are quite dynamic and subject to change on a gradual basis. The advertisers employ various techniques to obtain positive results as far as the search engine rankings are concerned including White Hat SEO, Black Hat SEO, Gray Hat SEO, etc. We at ServerCenter Search Engine Optimization employ White Hat SEO techniques to cater to the requirements of the customers.
1. White Hat SEO
This kind of SEO focuses upon implementing different strategies as well as optimization techniques that strictly follow the ethics put forward by search engines and also lays its emphasis on the human audience, unlike other SEO techniques which only target the behavior of the search engines. For this reason, it is also termed as ethical SEO. Further, placing focus on the human audience does not mean that it deviates from the SEO objectives. In fact, White Hat SEO also works on augmenting the search performance and is seen as the best option to pursue the competition for getting high ranking in the search engine results list.
For White Hat SEO, there are certain factors which are considered as quite important like optimization of images and videos and also written content, Meta details, site framework, etc. Some of the most common techniques employed by a White Hatter are as follows:
Offering Quality Content
As per the saying ‘content is king’, it is considered as the most important factor which serves the goal of targeting the online audience as well as the movement of the search engines. However, since we are talking about White Hat SEO, the website content is just meant for engaging the audience. For this reason, the focus is to provide quality content which offers value to the users as well as the concerned industry. Further, the content thus delivered should be free of any grammatical or spelling errors and simple.
For example, imagine a user searching for a portable air conditioner on hire. He performs a search for the phrase, “portable air conditioner hire”. In this scenario, let us suppose that there are two websites which target that particular phrase.
This site comprises of a single page with some three or four paragraphs text which provides an explanation that this firm handles portable air conditioning on hire and gives the contact details.
This site has 30 plus pages which give details on different portable air conditioning units for hire, and also the price list and other technical details.
Among the two websites, the search engines give preference for the second website which offers informative content.
Employing Keyword-rich Meta Details
The keywords are an integral part of White Hat SEO techniques. It is quite important to remember that keywords not only attracts search engine crawlers, but they also serve the purpose of making the audience understand what the entire website is about. While you use keywords in Meta tags as well as descriptions, it is advisable to use relevant and meaningful keywords.
Building a Perfect Website Architecture and Framework
Since the focus of White Hat SEO techniques is to engage the online users, it is essential to employ such techniques which help to build a perfect framework for websites. A flawless site allows easy navigation between the entire pages and offers a good performance in different platforms including mobiles, desktops, tablets, etc. As the main goal of the White Hatters is to serve the online audience, the website should motivate the users to stay there for long and go through the information offered by it.
Advantages of White Hat SEO:
To Build Reputation
Sustainable organic visibility is a great advantage of White Hat SEO. Though the results generated are slow but steady, they tend to grow gradually. When Google brings in software updates, those sites which make use of White Hat techniques do not feel the heat of what is termed as “rollercoaster rankings”. In other words, if you put users as the top priority, there would hardly be any fluctuations
Offers Better Return on Investment
The techniques used by White Hatters generates a reasonable Return On Investment, though the results are slow and gradual.
Disadvantages of White Hat SEO
There is no such obvious disadvantage for a White Hat SEO. Even if there is one, it gets converted to an advantage in the end. One such disadvantage is that in order to develop and maintain a high-quality website, it takes some time and lot of hard work. However, an optimized site which follows the White Hat rules features fresh information that interests the users once they land at the site.
2. Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO refers to the usage of aggressive strategies and techniques that place emphasis only on search engines and not on real users. Further, it does not comply with the guidelines put forward by search engines. Some examples of Black Hat SEO techniques include keyword stuffing, using hidden text, page cloaking, copying of content, and so on.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Black Hat SEO is frequently used by those who look forward to achieve a quick financial return as far as their website is concerned, rather than an investment on a long-term basis. This technique can possibly end up in the website getting banned from a search engine. However, since the focus is usually on quick return models of business, those who use this technique take website ban by search engines lightly. This type of SEO is also known as unethical SEO.
Natural SEO is a time consuming process as far as any website is concerned. Further, to rank high on Google, it still takes time. The tactics used in Black Hat SEO are found effective for some web owners that they have even achieved first page results in a matter of few days, though it is not long lasting. On the other hand, the results generated by White Hat techniques take some time to manifest. In such situations, most people resort to employing Black Hat techniques. Since these techniques are much easier to carry out and the results obtained are fast, many site owners have an affinity for Black Hat SEO.
The web pages does not get indexed for long time as the Black Hatters does not adhere to the search engine rules.
Black Hat SEO does not provide quality content which is user-friendly, and due to this it cannot attract the attention of new visitors or returning visitors.
The chances are quite low with regard to the Black Hat SEO-infested pages making its appearance in the first page of the search results.
There exist high chances of floating of visitors.
Though it gets your website rank atop the search engine result list, if detected by the search engines, it may cause the site to experience a drastic fall from the list.
There is always a risk of getting penalized by the search engines for using illegal methods to obtain high rankings.
3. Gray Hat SEO
It is a kind of SEO practice which is less risky than Black Hat SEO, and the chances are not that high for the website to be banned from the search engines as well as their affiliate sites. In general terms, these practice does not belong to either Black Hat or White Hat category because the conditions which are applicable to this SEO are unclear. In other words, this SEO uses technically legal methods to boost the site rankings though they are dubious in the ethical sense, and may become Black Hat techniques with the passage of time.
Some of the Gray Hat techniques include:
a. Redesigning the Website on a Regular Basis
Even if the content does not change much, since the code as well as text changes, Google takes it as fresh content.
b. Usage of Negative SEO
This involves pushing other sites down in order to get your site ranked above. Techniques like site infection, promoting non-offending content, providing duplicate content, AdSense banning, etc. are used in this category.
c. Writing Negative Reviews
When people search for some product or service, they are likely to read the negative reviews instead of the positive ones so that they get an idea of what they are looking for.
Advantages of Gray Hat SEO
Punishments are not that harsh if caught as far as the Gray Hatters are concerned. This is because, the policies though sort of deviated, are not treated as unethical.
The color of Gray Hat speaks for itself. It is so called because of the ambiguity in nature. Also, in the ethical sense, Gray Hat SEO is not seen in either a good or a bad light. In fact, it is a set of strategies which takes good advantage of the loopholes with regard to the policies put forward by the search engines. So these techniques are regarded as relatively safe.
With Gray Hatters, a temporary surge in search engine traffic can be expected just the same way as Black Hatters, and also the results are instant.
Disadvantages of Gray Hat SEO
Gray Hatters face the risk of dubious reputation. In fact, they will find themselves constantly under the search engine scanner list – a list of websites which may get banned or demoted in the near future. Another disadvantage is that they will only be able to stay for long in the first page of a search engine result list, if at all they are able to get to the top. For this reason, this SEO model is not advisable for long-term goals.
Difference between White Hat, Black Hat, and Gray Hat SEOs
A White Hat SEO helps to boost rankings through straight forward techniques. In fact, as the color of the hat indicates that the tactics used for this purpose are pure and simple and also it abides by the rules and regulations of the search engines. As the process does not involve any malpractice, the websites using this tactics do not get affected when a search engine update takes place.
The Black Hat tactics are generally targeted by Google search algorithms like Penguin, and if caught red hand in the process, it may prove detrimental to the site which uses them. In fact, it takes much effort to stay constantly under radar and not get discovered. However, there is another angle to this concept. The terms and conditions are set forward by the search engines and as such, no tactic is either good or bad. For example, when we think of the quality aspect, it is in terms of the search engines. Many industry majors like BMW, Overstock, and JCPenney are rumored to have employed these tactics.
Gray Hat is a tactic that is a combination of White and Black Hats. It employs in those strategies which is approved by the search engines, at the same time deviating from the rules by some extent. So it is not considered as purely unethical like a Black Hat strategy. For example, you provide a lot of content which is not that relevant but ensures some quality and substance, and you do not use a content spinner for this purpose. This method is commonly used to speed up results and reduces the risk of penalties imposed by the search engine scanners. If this technique is carried out by an experienced hand, it will appear natural and the site appears to have acquired the desired goals. However, if dealt with carelessly, it may slip to the Black Hat category.
To sum it up, all these tactics are considered as neither good nor bad, and it is interpreted as per the rules set by the search engine giants.