Someone in the not too distant past decided to put “hats” on internet contributors. They colored the hats white and black to differentiate those who comply with Google SEO webmaster guidelines and those who don’t.
Kristine Schachinger, a contributor to SEJ (Search Engine Journal), writes,
White hats do everything Google tells them to and play within Google’s rules (the Webmaster Guidelines). They are simple unimaginative people who can never rank as well as a Black Hat’ — or at least that is what a black hatter might tell you.
As she says, things are not always black and white.
3 main differences:
You must remember that Google and the other major browsers are in the advertising business. They have set up guidelines to discourage websites from taking advantage of their power without paying for advertising. To keep you in line, they seek to police your presence with controls on Search Engine Optimization:
Browser-useful content: People are looking for useful content. Google is looking for the content that brings browsers back. Repeated visits increase your ranking. One whitehat way to increase your value is to write for other sites. When you act as a guest blogger, you can build your credibility and authority. This tactic also has room for you to include links back to your website.
Blackhat blogs offer spam comments at the top, bottom, or side of pages. The comments have little connection with the content and exploit the position to sell products and services.
Keyword optimization: Keywords and phrases are vital to SEO. They are important enough that Google sells them. The keywords should fit naturally into the content copy, but they should also appear on the “contact” page, “about us” page, and wherever they don’t see forced.
Blackhat sites feature keyword stuffing, the habit of loading content copy with repetitive use and placement of keywords. Such sites mistake quantity for quality and produce content reading like it is has been created by a robot.
Mastering marketing: It’s a question of business ethics. Whitehat marketing strategies create inbound marketing channels with lead nurturing and demand generation services.
Blackhat approaches, however, will indulge in scraping, the use of content plagiarized from other sites presented as if it were their original work. Blackhat tactics rely on cookie stuffing to secure referrals. And, they enable social media hijacking with unintended links.
Which approach is “right”?
Perhaps the better question is “which approach is right for you?” Blackhat methods can demand attention. They will draw attention directly and indirectly, surreptitiously and “illegally.” There’s no denying that can ensure some immediate if short-term success.
Whitehat strategies and tactics are convenient and comfortable for those business owners wanting “to do the right thing.” They are the high-road option to build and strengthen your brand, making it the competitive option of choice among customers who will build your business.
If you want a high browser ranking that lasts, if you want customer relationships that make a difference, whitehat thinking seems to be “the gold standard.”