The Difference Between White Hat and Black Hat SEO- Guest blog by Rand Marketing

The Difference Between White Hat and Black Hat SEO- Guest blog by Rand Marketing

Monday, November 20, 2017Lauren Macdonald

Back in the day--before the advancements of color TV--one of the best ways to determine the ‘bad guys’ from the ‘good guys’ at the start of a show would be to look at the hat they were wearing. If the hat was black, you could assume that they would be the ‘bad guy’ of the show, and if the hat was white, they were most likely the heroic, good character. This was especially true in the case of cartoons and old Western films. However, once color TV took over the film industry, this tactic was used less frequently. Nonetheless, the representation of light and dark still remains quite a popular theme in many Hollywood films. Believe it or not, just like the old, classic movies, there’s a ‘good guy’ and a ‘bad guy’ within the realm of SEO; we label them as White Hat and Black Hat SEO.

The Good Guys


The hero of SEO tactics, White Hat SEO, is the genre of SEO that you always want to practice when trying to generate traffic through relevant keyword rankings. White Hat SEO is a strategized, organic process that SEO specialists use to help a company’s website rank well in search engine result pages (SERPs). In general, White Hat SEO strategies tend to take longer but as a whole, it’s the most ethical approach. Additionally, in order to achieve high rankings and generate more traffic, a company’s website needs to be well-designed, responsive, and easy to navigate with user functionality in mind. Without those qualities, your site will not fare well in search results. Although there are many different approaches to White Hat SEO that specialists may take, here are some of the most popular:

  • Researching, analyzing, and implementing keywords: Adding proper keywords and keyword phrases within your website and your created content is a common tactic that SEO specialists use to target and drive in more traffic to one’s site. However, before they make a selection of a handful of keywords, they will run an analysis of the keywords that are ranking high in a certain area and those that competitors are using. From there, they will determine a set of words and phrases that people are searching but have not yet achieved too high of a search volume; words that fall right in the middle.

  • Creating high-quality content: Creating great content to place on your site is another strategy that falls under White Hat SEO. Specialists will recommend that clients update the content on their site that is more concise, well-written, and implements a few keywords. Once the website is updated content-wise, specialists will advise clients to create articles and blog posts on a regular basis--with keywords--to be posted on their own site or on the site of other high-traffic blog sites. This will help to spread brand awareness and build site traffic.

  • Quality backlinking: SEO gurus, through the means of White Hat SEO, will implement quality backlinking on relevant sites. In this situation, quality links are much more important than quantity.

The Bad Guys

Every good guy needs a villain, and in the world of SEO, the foe of White Hat SEO is Black Hat SEO. Unlike the organic and ethical properties of White Hat SEO, Black Hat SEO uses strategies that are considered to be dishonest and shady. With Black Hat SEO, it’s almost as if you are cheating the system in order to get a higher ranking. Mainly, this type of search engine optimization employs tactics that are specifically focused on the search engines rather than the audience of consumers they should be reaching to. Unfortunately, Black Hat SEO does have the ability to increase one’s page rankings, that is, until they get caught. The terms of service for search engines entirely prohibit the use of this type of devious SEO strategy and if caught, extreme measures will be taken. Many companies who have a ‘quick-return’ business plan will fall into the clutches of Black Hat SEO since that want a fast turnaround of ranking results. However, most SEO practices take time and effort in order to provide high-ranking, organic, and honest results. To avoid the repercussions of illegal search engine optimization, here are some--of the many--Black Hat SEO tricks to keep an eye out for (and avoid at all costs):

  • Keyword stuffing

  • Hidden text and links

  • Gateway (doorway) pages

  • Sly redirects

  • Automation (building low-quality backlinks in a short period of time)

  • Link farming


Never fall into the nefarious ways of Black Hat SEO because if you do, you will be risking the chance of your site getting expelled from all search engines; severely damaging not only your search rankings but your reputation as well.    


If you are in the market for SEO work, be sure to execute proper research in order to find the right company who uses the proper tools to get your website where it needs to be. Never entrust your website to an agency that you believe may use Black Hat SEO tactics; keep it clean, organic, and honest with White Hat SEO. In the long run, the payoff will far exceed your expectations.

- Guest blog by Devon Gluck of Rand Marketing.


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