Difference between black hat SEO and white hat SEO

Last Updated on 1st April 2021 by Ajmer Singh

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

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

While the former lands you a penalty, the latter, however, is more transparent and accepted by Google.

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.

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 on the content.

Google frowns at keywords 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

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 engine.

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 post.

This goes against Google’s guideline

4. Link schemes

Link scheme is the most common amongst the black hat SEO practices.
It is the process of boosting rankings on search engine 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 on a site.

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

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

The best approach to this is to stop dropping links on high DA site 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 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 a 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 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 result.
  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.

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

Google is focused most importantly on sites that offer 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 engine concerning SEO.

Basic White hat SEO techniques

Its technique includes;

1. Writing quality content

This involves creating quality, highly engaging content that draws searchers 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 searchers intent, internal linking of related post 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.

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 techniques Google has put in place to aid ranking on SERPs.

for more details on how to optimize your site speed, please read our article on how to improve your site’s speed and best speed optimization plugins

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.

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

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

  1. Black hat SEO violates Google’s guideline with little to no consideration about user experience while white hat SEO Follows Google’s guideline as well as improving 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 practice that you don’t know if it’s safe to implement or not.


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, do not forget to share.

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