If you’ve been leaning about, reading about, and trying to implements the basics of good SEO, then you’ve heard the term. white hat SEO and black hat SEO. White hat search engine optimization is series of search engine optimization techniques founded on principles laid out according to Google’s admonition “Don’t be evil”. What differentiates white hat techniques from black hat techniques is that white hat SEO is 100% legitimate and will be accepted by all search engines, no matter which algorithms or ranking techniques these search engines use.
Don’t be evil. Be a white hat SEO!
With white hat search engine optimization, you avoid anything that even has a whiff of unethical behavior about it, concentrating instead on taking advantage of all the proper methods of search engine optimization. White hat is about creating great content, establishing links from relevant, informative websites, increasing your effectiveness and SERPs rankings through keyword research and optimization, and enhancing your visibility and brand recognition through social networking.
Black hat SEO is about buying of irrelevant links, cramming keywords into content without any regard for readability or value, writing meta tags stuffed with keywords, using white on white text to stuff pages with keywords, and using cloaking to redirect visitors to a different page than the one their keyword search should have taken them to. None of these frequently abused techniques will get you anywhere in the long run. Even if they do, they part of what is called black hat search engine optimization and you’ll get caught sooner or later and kicked off of search engine indexes.
Many search engine optimizers battle over what defines black and white hat search engine optimization. Some think any link building that is not purely organic is black hat, while others have no problem with buying links where they can get them or experimenting with dodgy, untruthful link bait tactics. When it comes down to it, what one search engine optimizer considers white hat, may be black hat to another.
Keyword research services can put you on the right track to optimization by helping you find a niche to be competitive in without having to resort to shady tactics to get indexed and ranked well. Instead of trying to cheat the competition, use solid white hat SEO to work your way up the ladder correctly, then when they fall to the reapers blade of Google’s vengeful team for using black hat SEO tactics, you will rise and stay at a higher ranked position.
The main SEO authorities in the field (including Matt Cutts of Google) claim that anything that is beyond the realm of reasonable should be termed as black hat. If you are attracting web traffic by false links, back-doors, and keyword stuffing or spammy links, then you are using black hat search engine optimization. Keyword optimization is the finest line to walk right now, because no-one knows what percentage of keywords is considered stuffing.
Stick to the basics, and let your conscience be your guide, if you feel you are being sneaky or underhanded, you probably are. Don’t be evil – be smart, and avoid black hate SEO tactics while using white hat SEO techniques to make your mark on the internet world.
PS – if you use an SEO firm, make sure they promise only to use white hat SEO to avoid being booted off search engine results!