White hat SEO is employing methods that search engines recommend to increase your ranking, while black hat SEO refers to using techniques that try to get around the rules and rank higher by utilizing spammy tactics. Just like in the old westerns, the good guys wear the white hats and the bad guys wear the black hats.
With white hat SEO, keywords appear naturally within your site’s content and the Meta description shown in the SERPs. Black hatters cram in as many keywords as possible, creating text that only a search engine bot finds easy to read. While keyword stuffing may move a site up in the SERPs, it is futile to write content for search engines since they do not buy products or generate income for you by clicking on ads. Being near the top of the SERPs is pointless if you do not reap any financial benefit.
If you’ve ever come across generic blog comments, such as “great content” or “useful information” with a link to an unrelated website, you have witnessed a common black hat SEO tactic. SEO companies use automated programs search for blogs that accept comments and then they post the same comment with a link to their client’s site on hundreds of blogs. Unearned backlinks are worthless, however, the client sees the number of backlinks that they paid for.
White hat SEO. is time consuming; only consistently posted, engaging content earns backlinks from authority sites and gains Google’s attention. Title tags, Meta descriptions and ALT tags need optimization as well, in accordance with the latest best practices that search engines recommend. When an SEO agency’s prices are far lower than their competition’s rates, they are probably just throwing keywords on your website randomly, without doing any research. In addition, black hatters spin existing content from other websites that rank well. The problem is that spun content is practically unreadable and it reflects poorly on your business. Even worse, content is lifted, word for word, from popular websites and then reposted on other websites.
Google wants to present users with relevant results that provide useful information; the search engine continually refines its algorithms to weed out spammy websites. Automatic and manual penalties either lower a website’s standing in the SERPs or eliminate the site from the search results. Using an SEO firm that engages in keyword stuffing, using duplicate content rather than writing original articles or buying links might bump your website up in the search results temporarily, however, the damaging effects of a penalty will negate any short term gains.
“Small business owners are not the only people affected penalties. Major corporations, such as JC Penney and BMW, received penalties for shady, black hat SEO techniques used by their SEO firm or originating from their own, in-house marketing departments. If you hire an SEO firm, or have your employees perform the work themselves, insist on knowing the SEO tactics being used.”