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White Hat Vs Black Hat SEO: What’s The Difference

Black hat SEO Vs White hat SEO, one of the most debated topics in the SEO industry. On one side, there are so-called “Ethical” SEO practitioners who consider themselves to be wearing white hats.

Then on the other side, there are those who are proud to wear black hats and would do anything to game the Google algorithm in order to rank as high as possible in the SERPs.

But what’s the difference between these two? Which hat should you be wearing? Let’s find out in this article.

What Is White Hat SEO?

In simple words, white hat SEO refers to the correct and ethical ways of optimizing websites to rank in the search results.

Some of its characteristics are as follow:

1. It Follows Search Engine Guidelines

The first and most important characteristic that defines the hat you’re wearing in SEO is whether or not the optimization methods follow what is widely known as “Webmaster Guidelines”

These guidelines are the rules that search engines set up to define the proper way of site optimization. The most famous one being the Google Webmaster Guidelines by Google.

In a nutshell, these guidelines can be summarized into a simple meaning, i.e. “Don’t manipulate their algorithm”

2. It Focuses On Human

With white hat approaches, the primary objective is to put the human audience first. As far as the ethical SEO best practices are concerned, they already take user experience into consideration.

For example, providing a comprehensive piece of content with the highest quality that focuses on answering any possible questions that the users may have.

3. It Takes A Long-Term Approach

When your primary focus in on providing the best user experience possible and following webmaster guidelines, it will usually take time and effort to do the work.

This is because you’re not gaming the algorithm. So it will take time for the compound effect to ultimately yield results.

But looking at it from another perspective, white hat SEO also has a much more lasting impact. This is because you build trusted user experience for your users and don’t put yourself at risk for consequences from search engines which can happen if you break their guidelines.

What Is Black Hat SEO?

Black hat SEO is the exact opposite of white hat SEO.

Here are some of its main characteristics:

1. It Violates Search Engine Guidelines

Black hat SEO includes different kinds of strategies that aim at gaming the algorithms and thus violate search engine guidelines and rules.

 2. It Focuses On Algorithms

Just as the opposite of white hat SEO where the primary focus is on user experience and satisfying what humans are looking for, black hat approaches emphasis on manipulating search engine algorithms to win the ranking.

3. It’s All About Quick-Wins

If white hat approaches take longer time to yield results, I bet you already know that by gaming the algorithm, black hat SEO objective is to win the search engine ranking as fast as possible, without putting in a large amount of work and effort.

Difference Between Black Hat And White Hat SEO

The main differences between these two hats can be clearly seen and observed in their characteristics. However, one of the most important ones that categorize SEO tactics into two different categories is whether or not they follow search engine guidelines.

With this being said, let’s have a look at what webmaster guidelines said when it comes to what to do and not to do. 

Here, I’ve taken an example from Google’s Webmaster Guidelines:

White Hat SEO:

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