White Hat vs Grey Hat SEO
by Amy Bolton for BrightRED
At BrightRED Digital we often receive enquiries from businesses who ask for search engine optimisation (SEO).
To reach their goals some businesses often want to rank for the majority of their keywords, some businesses will outreach to marketing . Using low standard SEO techniques makes white hat SEO seem less fruitful.
So we are going to go through both White Hat and Grey Hat SEO.
What is White Hat SEO?
White Hat SEO is the best practice used to help you improve search performance that is complying with the rules of the main search engine. Using White Hat techniques is the complete opposite of operating using Black Hat techniques. When using White Hat you will be maintaining the respect and integrity of the website while operating within the search engine's rules.
Google defines their terms of service as:
- Offering quality content and services
- Using descriptive, keyword rich meta data
- Making your website easy to navigate
If you choose not to engage with White Hat SEO you can be penalised by Google or worse have your website banned from Google and other search engines.
Every day Google has millions of visitors using keywords to search and each of those searches represents a potential visitor who could be discovering your website or even a potential customer for your business. If you are ever considering using Black Hat SEO techniques, you should first consider how long it has taken you to get your website where it currently is online. How difficult it would be to start that all again if your website was to be banned from search engines, where the probability of an individual finding your website would be zero?
You will be able to see a full description of Google Approved SEO techniques at Webmaster Guidelines.
Should You Be Using White Hat SEO?
Of course you should. There is no doubt that using these techniques will only help Google favour your website more.
So How Do You Start Implementing White Hat SEO?
Start writing content. Google wants to see visitors going to your website and being engaged with quality content they are able to gain something from.
It is important to remember that you are writing content for your customers and not for Google, so remember to add a minimum word count, not a maximum. Add helpful internal and external links and you will be laughing all the way to the keyword bank. White Hat SEO is hard work, but it is worth working hard for, as your creation will be much more satisfying, knowing you are honestly trying your best.
Grey Hat SEO
Grey Hat SEO is difficult to define, I suppose it is like a legal high, it isn’t illegal yet but there is a possibility it could be. It isn’t necessarily in the middle of White and Black Hat tactics but it’s more of an ill defined term where the techniques are often disagreeable.
Although Grey Hat tactics are on the risky side, they can sometimes be beneficial to increasing your rankings. However, this may damage the integrity of your website. What you may gain from Grey Hat tactics might be beneficial but you exchange your reward at a risk.
One example of Grey Hat SEO is link buying, here are some scenarios where we outline this:
Scenario 1 - Site A has done some online PR, they sent out an article about their new product, so Site B decide we really like this PR and add it to their website, they then link back to the Site A. - Google Approved
Scenario 2 - Site A will purchase a link from Site B by asking them to link to their website for a small fee. - Google Disapproved
A correct and thorough understanding of Grey Hat SEO is important, as it could improve your rankings when done correctly and within the rules, or it could cost you website traffic. However Grey Hat SEO is always changing. While there are aspects that are approved, currently there is a fine line to Google who will keep an eye on the techniques which are disapproved.
Should You Be Using Grey Hat SEO?
While you are probably thinking, well Grey Hat sounds like the SEO for me and my business, you need to take all aspects into consideration. If you want to stay competitive in search marketing without increasing costs and time commitment, White Hat automation is the number one option.
This may take longer and you will have to work harder, but if you are willing to let your marketing get creative and are willing to keep thinking of those brilliant content ideas and ways to improve your website and social marketing, then we know you can power through.