Black Hat SEO vs White Hat SEO: What’s the Difference?

Last Updated on 6th January 2023 by Ajmer Singh

Wondering what is the difference between Black hat SEO and white hat SEO? This article should help you.

Black hat SEO and white hat SEO are both SEO practices bloggers adopt to attract backlinks to their sites.

To understand vividly the difference between the two, let’s deal with them individually.

Black hat SEO

Black hat SEO refers to a series of practices site owners use to increase a site’s domain or page authority on search engines.

This set of practices goes against or violates search engine guidelines.

It is the use of strategies to increase search engine rankings that break search engine guidelines and rules.

This type of optimization can be against a search engine’s terms of the agreement, though it might not always be.

A person practising black hat SEO has no regard for what is known as “white hat” or ethical SEO practices,

and instead works with spammy techniques that do not benefit the search engine users.

This can include tactics such as keyword stuffing, cloaking or sneaky redirects, hidden text and doorway pages.

Not all of these techniques are necessarily bad, but some definitely are.

Cloaking is an example of a tactic that may be considered black hat SEO.

Cloaking is when a web page delivers one type of content to the search engine crawlers while serving completely different content to the actual human users.

Doorway pages are another example of these tactics.

These are landing pages created with the intent to rank highly on search engines, but have no real purpose other than this.

The use of hidden text and links is another tactic that can be considered spammy and against the search engine guidelines and rules.

Google is an example of a search engine that prohibits all of these types of methods in their webmaster guidelines.

Google also works to eliminate any websites that it finds using black hat SEO tactics from its index,

which makes the site and the owner of that site less visible to people using Google.

Black hat SEO is a method of manipulating the rankings of websites, often with tactics that are against search engine rules and regulations.

They are also referred to as spamdexing because black hat techniques include spamming, or tricking web crawlers (spiders) into indexing your site for their own personal benefit.

black hat seo vs white hat seo

Advantage:

Can get your webpage on top rank quickly. It may take time but it can be done in 3-6 months if you have enough money to invest in the campaign.

Disadvantage:

Google keeps changing its algorithm. If you do not keep up with the changes, your ranking will be down.

Not only you have to keep up with Google updates, but other search engines as well.

You can eventually get banned if you are caught spamming.

This will lead to your site being banned from every search engine in the world.

Worst case scenario, all of your hard work can go down the drain!

Basic Black hat SEO techniques 

The techniques involve;

1. Keyword stuffing

This involves the excessive use of a targeted keyword on content.

This keyword appears unnatural in the content.

Google frowns at keyword stuffing and will prefer that keywords appear naturally on a page.

2. Content automation/duplicate content

Google considers quality content a priority, in fact, it is a part of their top 3 ranking factors.

Content automation is a black SEO technique that involves a copy and paste method of content creation.

The idea is to copy and paste content from different sources.

Google frowns at such techniques as Google is Keen on offering searchers unique content.

black hat seo vs white hat seo

Another type of content automation is article spinning.

It is a process that involves copying an article from a website and spinning it over software such that the whole article is rephrased, appears new and unique.

3. Cloaking

This is a black hat SEO practice that involves serving users with different content or URL on search engines.

This method is termed deceptive because the idea is to rank for a keyword, whereas clicking on the URL of that keyword leads users to irrelevant posts.

This goes against Google’s guidelines.

4. Link schemes

Link scheme is the most common amongst the black hat SEO practices.

It is the process of boosting rankings on search engines artificially.

This method, however, involves buying links, link exchange, forum links, guest posting and a lot more.

Links are supposed to be earned naturally.

But because black hat SEO practitioners are interested in quick wins, they prefer to boycott the entire process of natural link building.

Once Google detects this on your site. Your site will be flagged down.

5. Spammy comment

This is when site owners drop comments that are not relevant to a site.

The reason for settling for this approach is to get links for free.

However, this kind of link turns out to be a no-follow link that has little to no impact on ranking.

black hat seo vs white hat seo

The best approach to this is to stop dropping links on high DA sites with the thought of earning backlinks from them.

In addition to this, you can also check out your links to see anyone that is spammy so as to disavow them.

You can disavow by removing links from the site you dropped them or you can use the Google disavow tool.

6. Hidden text

This technique aids the hiding of text and links.

While this might not be harmful due to users with sights defects, it can be harmful if the idea is to rank for keywords in the hidden text or links.

The hidden text or link is wrapped up in small font size and a colour that matches the background of the site making it almost unnoticeable.

7. Doorway pages

The idea of a doorway page is such that when visitors visit your site, they are directed to other pages on the site.

Often, these pages have little to no value because they contain the same content.

The disadvantage of black hat SEO

The only advantage that comes with Black hat SEO is that it speeds up rankings but this is short-lived.

Because as soon as Google tracks your site, you earn a penalty.

The disadvantage of using the black hat SEO technique includes:

1. Black hat SEO does not stick with the guidelines regarding ranking on SERPS and it earns you a penalty of either a drop in rankings or a ban from search engine results.

2. It focuses more on quick wins more than value.

The reason why people adopt the black hat SEO technique is so that they can have an increase in ranking.

And this equates to an increase in traffic, which automatically equates to an increase in sales.

black hat seo vs white hat seo

The truth is that while this might come in handy, it doesn’t last.

Google is focused most importantly on sites that offer a great user experience to searchers.

So basically, sites without great user experience don’t rank.

It then means that black hat SEO practitioners are at risk of losing their rankings anytime Google drops a new algorithm update.

Why not subscribe to what will stand the test of time.

Having said all that, let’s take a look at what white hat SEO is,

White hat SEO

They are a set of practices site owners use to boost the domain/page authority of a site on search engines.

These rules follow the guidelines of search engines.

It is basically sticking to the rules put in place by search engines concerning SEO.

White hat SEO means that the techniques used to promote a website adhere to search engine guidelines.

It refers to a specific group of strategies and techniques as opposed to a black hat, which has a negative connotation.

Examples of common white hat practices include,

-building quality backlinks from reputable websites,

-writing rich snippets enhanced articles with targeted keywords for maximum exposure in google’s organic results,

-and editing content so that its purpose aligns with user intent, resulting in high clickthrough rates.

White hat SEO stands out from other types because it focuses on creating content that is highly relevant and valuable to the target audience.

This makes white hat much more effective for long term growth than spamming or manipulation tactics.

black hat seo vs white hat seo

It is widely considered the best way to build long term rankings that will last.

Google has published guidelines for search engine optimization (SEO) and linkspam.

While Google’s webmaster guidelines are not forced upon anyone (and rightly so!),

I recommend following them since well-intended “white hat” SEOs who follow the rules tend to outperform those who try black hat tricks.

Some of the most common white hat SEO techniques include:

Writing articles with rich snippets, building high-quality inbound links, and using on-page SEO factors to increase classification relevancy.

Writing articles with rich snippets use keywords for your search engine results page (SERP).

Google is able to use rich snippets to quickly understand what your website is about and why it belongs in the search results.

In doing so, Google increases the chances that a visitor will click on your link instead of another.

High-quality links are very important for search engine optimization. A high-quality link comes from a reliable website that has a good page rank.

This means that it is hosted on a server that isn’t overloaded. It also doesn’t have pop-ups and other annoying advertisements.

On-page factors include keywords, page titles, description tags, headings, etc.

All of these things should be well thought out to maximize their effect on each individual website.

The ultimate goal is to make sure that search engines know exactly what each page is about, and therefore who should see it.

These are just a few examples of the many white hat SEO techniques.

There are also some general guidelines for these techniques to follow:

make high-quality websites, don’t use blackhat SEO (like buying links), and avoid using automated software to perform any kind of search engine optimization.

White hat SEO techniques are used by website designers and marketers to achieve top rankings.

That helps drive more traffic to their websites without breaking rules or laws set forth by Google or any other major search engines.

These are also known as legitimate SEO services which follow certain guidelines so that they don’t get flagged for sites.

black hat seo vs white hat seo

Advantage:

This is the safe way to go. White Hat SEO can be handled by anyone who has enough knowledge of how search engines work.

Google and other major search engines always favour legitimate users instead of spammers like Black hat SEO users.

With this method, your website will last for a long time compared to spamdexing websites which get banned after 6 months or so.

Disadvantage:

It takes more time to achieve good rankings with this method (a year or two) than spamdexing (3-6 months).

You will also need professional help since not everyone knows everything about white hat SEO.

Both Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO have their pros and cons but if you are looking for a long-term goal, White Hat SEO is your best bet.

Basic White hat SEO techniques

The technique includes;

1. Writing quality content

This involves creating quality, highly engaging content that draws the searcher’s attention.

Additionally, it involves the use of keywords in meta descriptions and titles.

It also includes applying keywords naturally on your blog post as well as doing searcher’s intent and internal linking of related posts on your blog.

In the long run, what you should be after is value and quality.

2. Fast site load speed

Site speed is an integral part of SEO, it’s a part of the metrics Google puts into consideration whilst ranking a site.

black hat seo vs white hat seo

Often most internet users leave a site because of its slow page load speed.

This, in turn, leads to a high bounce rate and a reduction in traffic and leads.

Optimizing your site loads time is a white hat SEO technique that Google has put in place to aid ranking on SERPs.

You can increase your site’s loading by changing small things, like

  • changing your host from shared hosting to cloud hosting (Cloudways).
  • choosing an SEO-optimized, well-coded and speedy theme (Themify Ultra).
  • connecting with Cloudflare CDN.
  • optimizing your HTML, CSS and java codes.
  • optimizing your database.

3. Your site should be easy to navigate

When designing your site, make sure you do it with all simplicity, such that it will be easy for users to navigate your site.

This allows for a great user experience.

Create necessary pages and categorize posts.

Themify Ultra is the best theme for such a good user experience.

4. On-page SEO

This is an integral part of white hat SEO, it involves optimizing content for SERPs.

For more details about on-page SEO, read our article on the difference between on-page and off-page SEO.

Difference between black hat SEO and white hat SEO?

black hat seo vs white hat seo

Having explained both terms vividly, let’s check out their differences

1. Black hat SEO violates Google’s guidelines with little to no consideration about user experience,

while white hat SEO Follows Google’s guidelines as well as improves user experience.

2. Black hat SEO is short-lived while white hat SEO is a long term strategy.

3. Black hat SEO attracts a penalty, while white hat SEO attracts a reward.

Finally, in this guide, there is another term known as the Gray hat SEO.

Gray hat SEO

People have defined it as a practice that falls in between the white hat and black hat SEO practices.

But in simple terms, it can be defined as a set of practices that you don’t know if it’s safe to implement or not.

Gray hat SEO techniques are ones that are somewhere in between whitehat and blackhat and may not strictly follow search engines’ guidelines, but are not intended to deceive or manipulate search engines.

Gray hat SEO techniques may carry some risk of being discovered and penalized by search engines, but they are not as risky as blackhat techniques.

Conclusion

Conclusively, you do not want to be involved in tactics that will get you flagged by Google.

Gray hat SEO and black hat SEO are practices you should ignore so as to avoid being flagged by Google.

I hope you learned the difference between black hat SEO and white hat SEO in this guide.

Thanks for reading, and do not forget to share.