The Blog: WhiteHat SEO vs BlackHat SEO

Gunfight on The O.K Google 

The golden era of westerns from the 1940s-60s has left an indelible mark on our culture. The image of Clint Eastwood, or John Wayne, heroically running the bad guys out of town is instantly recognisable. As is the sound of the opening bars to Ennio Morricone's theme for   'The Good, The Bad And The Ugly '. 

Incredibly, 70 years on, spaghetti westerns shape the way we talk about Digital Marketing:  

Those infamous blackhat wearing villains and white hatted heroes are the inspiration for the terms BlackHat SEO & WhiteHat SEO.

As you may know, WhiteHat tactics are SEO strategies that are permitted by search engines; whereas BlackHat SEO describes the shady methods that are against the rules.  

In this new 'wild west' of Digital Marketing you really shouldn't fall in with the black hat wearing bad guys. These days, there are a fair few sheriffs in town; Google is certainly one that you don't want to get on the wrong side of. This is our guide to WhiteHat SEO vs BlackHat SEO:  the good and bad ways to optimize your website. 

Avoid The Bandit Scrapers!

A rule from the real world, which is equally true for SEO, do not steal, in this case, content from websites that is then posted word for word on another site. People who do this are called scrapers by the industry. Search engines do not like them: 

Google sees these activities as adding no value to the user and and most likely committing copyright infringement. 

Search Engines can detect this duplicate content and will not attribute it with the same value as original content.   Scrapers either receive no benefit or possibly punishment. So stay away from those bandit scrapers! 

Beware The Keyword Stuffers & Smugglers 

Keywords are still a very important factor in SEO. WhiteHat content in this area uses keyword content sparingly to create meaningful keyword rich content. The focus should always be on making written content enjoyable for the user to read.  Keywords should make up no more than 5% of the total word count. 

Making keywords part of your H1s H2s and URLs is another good way to boost your keywords. On the wrong side of the tracks, we have the BlackHat keyword stuffers and smugglers. 

From the stuffers we have terrible tactics like 10 thousand word articles about Kanye West's love of 'low cost viagra' 'and 'next day delivery',   by this I mean content with so many keywords stuffed into it that it becomes hard to read or completely nonsensical. 

Then we have the smugglers whose ingenuity is sometimes almost impressive... 

They try to hide keyword spam in place where it cannot be seen by the user,  hoping that the high keyword volume will improve their SE ranking. For example they hide it behind images, in white text on a white background, positioned off-screen with CSS, written in font 0. 

All of these tactics have been used at some point   Google know about all of them  and punishes websites for stuffing and smuggling.  They have also become increasingly ineffective as Google updates have made site ranking much more  nuanced in the last ten years. 

So what have we learned from the smugglers and stuffers? If your keywords are not written for someone to read and understand in an enjoyable way, they probably shouldn't be there.

WhiteHat SEO Doesn't Wear A Cloak 

Since the early days of search engines, Google has been punishing rule breakers no matter how big or small.  We discussed   BMW's tough experience with Google in a recent article for this blog .

It was BMW'S BlackHat use of  keyword stuffing in combination with doorway pages that got them in hot water with Google. Doorway pages are a form of Cloaking. This practice refers to when web designers offer a keyword stuffed pages, to bump themselves up the search rankings which they then switch out for another completely different page when the user clicks on it. 

BMW received a zero PageRank as punishment for using this tactic.   This is because Cloaking is against   Google Quality Guidelines , which are the Google equivalent of the ten commandments. 

In the words of Google Pagemaster Matt Cutts   "We say that all types of Cloaking are against our quality guidelines so there's no such thing as WhiteHat Cloaking"  You might wonder why Google is so strict on this;  It all comes down to the danger created by the ability to switch out one kind of content for another.

Imagine a child searches for their favourite cartoon character online, clicks on a link and is redirected to an adult website; SEs are doing everything in their powers to prevent this from happening. Hence the severity of their stance, You have been warned. 

There's WhiteHat SEO in Them There Hills!

Today we have seen some pretty dastardly deeds, so how do you stop yourself from falling in with the wrong crowd and getting ridden out of town by the search engine sheriffs? Stick with rankingCoach and we'll show you how. As a Premium Google Partner we get the rules straight from the horse's mouth. 

Looking for some more WhiteHat SEO tactics to improve your ranking? You may also want to check out these articles


Need  some help with your WhiteHat SEO?rankingCoach helps the user to implement an effective WhiteHat SEO strategy, as part of its all-in-one Digital Marketing solution.  Start your free trial now. 

 


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