Black Hat vs White Hat SEO
In general Black Hat SEO is the process whereby an SEO professional focuses on search engines in order to rank websites in Google, rather than focusing on the potential visitors to the site.
Thus Black Hat SEO identifies and uses strategies to get a website to rank by studying what are effective SEO techniques to do this. It is effectively a form of ‘cheating’ by trying to get a website to rank faster than it probably would do if White Hat SEO was done for the website.
Dangers of Black Hat SEO
If you engage an SEO business when then adopts Black Hat SEO when optimising your website you are likely going to be in great trouble. Your website might be ranked high on the Google search results in a fairly short space of time. However it will not stay there. Once Google has determined that Black Hat techniques have been employed it will penalise your website. This may mean that your website rankings drop significantly for many of your major keywords. It could also mean that your website effectively disappears.
Now you will be in the situation that…
- You have paid for SEO but your site no longer ranks;
- You will need to pay for SEO again to a reputable SEO company employing White Hat SEO; and
- Your new White Hat SEO company will be charging you more as not only do they need to optimise your website but they also need to repair all the damage done to your site through Black Hat SEO techniques.
Sometimes it is just simply cheaper and quicker to start with a whole new domain name – that is start from scratch once again.
Examples of Black Hat SEO
There are many different forms of Black Hat SEO and I have listed just a few below. When you engage an SEO business I recommend you query what techniques they will be using and if they mention any of the ones listed below, I suggest you keep searching for the right SEO company for you.
This is the practice of over and over and over again using specific keywords within a webpage. The purpose of this is to ‘trick’ the search engine into placing greater value (and therefore higher rank) on your website as it appears that your business is very active/providing a lot of information about the specific keywords. However Google recognises keyword stuffing for what it is and strongly penalises sites that employ this tactic.
Buying Back Links
In the past the more back links you had to your website the greater your chances for your website to move faster through the search engine ranks. However that is no longer the case. The quality of your back links is now far more important than the number of links that you have. If you or your SEO company purchase bulk back links your website is likely to be penalised. Google penalises sites that have numerous poor quality back links from sites that are not relevant to the website business or that are geographically not relevant.
This is another method of keyword stuffing. This Black Hat Technique involves writing text in white on the webpage so that the information is only visible to the search engines not the user of the website. This overcomes the problem that keyword stuffing has in making the content on the page read properly, while still stuffing the webpage with the keywords.
I never employ Black Hat Techniques when working on clients websites. The repercussions are far too sever for the short-term benefit. I strongly urge you to check with any SEO business that you are considering engaging to find out whether or not they employ Black Hat SEO.
If you are concerned that Black Hat SEO has been done on your website, give me, Karen a call and I will see what I can do for you.
For Your Interest – This is a quick summery of the difference between White Hat and Black Hat SEO provided by Wikipedia.