What are White-Hat and Black-Hat SEO Techniques?

August 17, 2021

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a kind of internet advertising method in which websites are optimized to enhance the quality and quantity of their search engine traffic. It is beneficial due to the fact that a website will capture extra traffic from a search engine by getting ranked better at the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).

Introduction

It will ensure that search engines such as Google, Firefox optimize search results and provide the best and most helpful results to users relevant to their search query. This article will explain what SEO is, why it is useful, and discuss two types of SEO techniques, namely: White-Hat and Black-Hat.

What is SEO?

SEO is a type of internet marketing technique that involves learning how search engines operate. It is powered by computer-programmed algorithms that comprehend search engine behavior, such as what users look for, what they like, and what they want to see. These are computed, and they ensure that these results reach their intended audience.

When a user searches a query in a search engine, it presents two types of search results in the SERP:

  1. Organic results
  2. Inorganic results

SEO has an impact on organic search results. The search engine puts up those results which are truly ranked higher on the SERP. These results are not intervened by any 3rd party applications. While inorganic results are nothing more than sponsored or paid-for results. Some websites and businesses utilize advertising to modify their site ranking in order to get visitors to visit their website. These are the results that frequently appear because they are paid to be at the top of the SERP.

How does SEO help?

Having websites listed on top of the SERP is useful because it attracts more visitors. Visitors tend to click on the first two to three links displayed on the results page. These visitors can be converted from temporary visitors to permanent visitors. It indicates that if a visitor is impressed by a website or its content, regardless of where the website is listed in the SERP, the visitor will want to visit that specific website exclusively.

Take, for example, Wikipedia. We search Wikipedia articles willingly for any person’s information. So, when it comes to SEO rankings, having high-quality content on your site is a must.

Many features and aspects must be addressed in order to achieve a high SEO ranking.

They are mainly classified into two factors, namely:

  • On-Page
  • Off-Page

On-page factors are those that occur within the website, and off-page factors are those that occur outside of the webpage. On-page factors include using keywords that match the search query, relevant title tags, a suitable body structure, utilizing internal links, and so on.

Similarly, Off-page factors include using social media, marketing, branding, local SEO, backlinking, and so on. These factors may help the website to maximize its engagement rate with the targeted audience. If used properly this will help the website to achieve a higher position on the SERP, thus more likely to be clicked.

Title tags are the names of your web pages. While the domain name represents your website’s name, the title tag identifies a specific page, post, or article on the website. Hence, they are intended to be as relevant to the website’s content as possible. They shouldn’t be clickbait, which means that the title tag and the content should not be different.

Internal links are hyperlinked to different sections of the same website. They can let visitors open different parts of websites without having to search for them.

External links, on the other hand, are links to other websites. It helps in making your website more active in engaging with a larger audience.

Backlinking is when your website is linked by another website. This is helpful since it signifies that other websites consider your work to be noteworthy. The more links you have to your website, the more important it will appear in search results.

Local SEO is nothing but optimizing your website in your local geographic region. This allows you to effortlessly connect with local people. Begin by connecting with audiences in your local vicinity, and then expand your reach and engagement on a larger scale.

Social media allows you to share your work on different platforms. The website links can be shared with your friends, mutual friends, acquaintances, etc on your social media handles. This type of networking will also help in improving your local SEO.

Branding your business develops a unique identity for it. This may be used to your benefit when it comes to optimizing your internet visibility. The more unique it becomes, the more attention it will receive. Thus, marketing your business perfectly, not only improves it as a whole but also optimizes your online presence.

White-Hat and Black-Hat

White hat SEO is essentially a way of implementing optimization techniques that follow the laws and restrictions imposed by search engines. Using these techniques to enhance our website may not yield immediate benefits, but they may surface gradually. The white-hat SEO techniques may essentially include creating unique and diverse content, using high-quality keywords, including good metadata, an easily navigable website structure with superior UI/UX design, and many more.

Implementing them in your website may be considered a good practice which helps boost the SEO ranking progressively and preserve the credibility of the website. Implementing them on your website may be regarded as a beneficial practice, as it aids in the gradual increase in the SEO ranking and preserving the website’s credibility.

In the same way, black hat SEO is a way of implementing optimization techniques that do not follow the laws and restrictions imposed by search engines. Using these techniques may sometimes yield immediate benefits such as a sudden increase in SEO ranking or displaying the website on top of the SERP in the first query itself.

Inserting auto-generated pages in the website, irrelevant keywords, hidden texts (texts that search engines can read but users cannot), content cloaking (content given to the user is different from content given to search engine crawler), spamdexing (modifying search engine indexes), and many more are considered black-hat SEO techniques.

Although using them may provide immediate results in connecting with the audience, they are not recommended. If any user is not satisfied with a website appearing at the top of the SERP that is unrelated to their query, they have the option to report it. The search engine may also detect any unusual behavior, and with the added danger of several reports from various users, there might be a possibility of the website getting banned.

SEO marketing tools

There are numerous aspects to consider while optimizing your website. Some of these have already been discussed. However, managing and maintaining them at the same time appears to be a difficult task. It is not only about using them and integrating them on the website but also monitoring them and learning how they influence the audience’s engagement rate.

With that performance, the website should be able to improve and develop in areas where it is now lacking. This is when SEO tools come in handy. They are essentially third-party applications that provide reliable resources and services to manage the SEO of your website. Some of them are discussed below.

  • Ahrefs It is a widely used tool for managing SEO on websites. Some of the features, such as link building, site audits, site analysis, generating relevant keywords based on the specific content, insights on inbound and outbound links, and so on, may help in learning about the performance of the website. This data and statistics may assist in growing the website and can be used to compare how it ranks in the SERP to its rivals.

The reports on rankings of the mobile version and desktop version are also provided. Using the Site Explorer tool, you can rapidly evaluate the site’s backlinks profile as well. The content explorer tool will help in finding the most shared content on social media platforms. Overall, it aids in the management of SEO consistently to get good results. You can learn more about this tool here.

  • Semrush zThis is another popular SEO tools that many people use. Their resources vary from SEO management, marketing, advertising, campaigning, etc to providing PPC (Pay-per-click) and SMM (Social Media Marketing) services, along with keyword research, link building, website survey, and many more. Users can choose from a variety of toolkits to meet their specific requirements.

The SEO toolkit, for example, addresses site evaluation, thorough site research, On-Page, and Off-Page SEO Checker, organic results research, and more. The Advertising toolkit helps in content advertising, domain overview, services which include PLA(Product Listing Ads) and CPC (Cost-per-click), etc. Semrush may be a useful tool for website optimization and general business development as well. Learn more about it here.

  • Google Analytics Google Analytics is a web analytics tool offered by Google that provides basic data and analysis regarding website traffic. Google Analytics is used to measure website activities such as session duration, pages per session, bounce rate, etc. It also supports real-time analytics, allowing a user to gain information about visitors who are active on the site in real-time.

One of the best Google Analytics features is it can identify badly performing sites based on information such as where visitors came from, how long they remained on the website, and their geographical location. This helps the developer to improve the website qualitatively based on the report. More details about Google Analytics can be found here.

  • Google Search Console Formerly known as “Google webmaster tools”, Google search console is a free Google tool that allows you to build, maintain, and troubleshoot your website’s visibility in Google Search results. It offers information on how Google crawls, indexes, and delivers web pages. This tool assists website owners in monitoring and optimizing search performance.

By helping you check the security issues with the website, malware attacks, and site hacking can be avoided. It also allows you to specify a preferred domain name for your site, which determines how the site URL is displayed in SERP. You can also see what keyword searches on Google lead to the site being featured on the SERP.

Learn more about Google Search Console here and here is a simple tutorial on how to use the search console.

  • Yoast It is a SEO plug-in for WordPress that was previously known as WordPress SEO. This, like the other SEO tools, is focused on keyword research and is the most well-known SEO plugin. Having been downloaded millions of times and running on millions of websites Yoast SEO helps in optimizing a website’s pages and articles.

They can be ranked individually for the specific keywords by defining a “focus” keyword. It ranks posts and articles based on the number of keywords used, paragraphs used, the length of sentences, the usage of internal links, and so on. Using this information, the plug-in analyzes the posts and indicates whether additional optimization is necessary or not.

As a result, the readability of the posts improves, hence contributing to a large collection of remarkable and exclusive content. Here is a detailed explanation of what Yoast SEO does.

Conclusion

A key thing to remember about SEO is that it must be integrated into the site design process and not added in later. It is recommended to design and create a website with SEO techniques included from the beginning. SEO is something that may help a website to develop in terms of community and content. As a result, it should be done in a proper manner and on proper terms.

Therfore, white hat techniques should be utilized instead of black hat techniques since they comply with search engines’ rules and regulations. Although black hat SEO is not illegal and may even yield faster and better results, it does violate search engines’ policies. Using them, therefore, implies expecting the website to be banned or penalized. Which may have negative long-term consequences.

Happy learning!

Additional resources


Peer Review Contributions by: Collins Ayuya


About the author

Kanishkvardhan A N

Kanishkvardhan A N is a sophomore at SDM College of Engineering and Technology pursuing his B.E in Information Science and Engineering. Apart from coding, he is ardent about exploring stellar space and understanding astronomy. In his leisure, he likes to play the guitar and write short stories.

This article was contributed by a student member of Section's Engineering Education Program. Please report any errors or innaccuracies to enged@section.io.