White Hat vs Black Hat SEO

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There is a lot of debate to which technique to use when looking at optimising a website for SEO. These different techniques come under two different areas (well three as there is a “Grey Hat”!).

Black hat SEO uses the darker (hence the name) techniques mainly aimed at deceiving the search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing whereas white hat SEO of course uses the opposite. White hat SEO uses methods that are recommended by the search engines.

Is Black Hat For Everyone?

So why doesn’t everyone just adopt white hat methods? Well some believe that using these techniques alone won’t fully get the most out of optimising a website so they turn to black hat tricks to try and accelerate results in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

There are many different black hat techniques optimisers are using but in my own experience using white hat techniques are the safest option. Black hat techniques tend to give quicker results than their white hat alternatives but run the big risk of getting blacklisted by the search engines which could be fatal for many websites.

I certainly adopt white hat techniques (maybe some grey hat!) purely that over time I get the desired results in the search engine rankings and eliminate the risk of being removed from the SERPs.

About James

Hello there, I'm James. I studied Multimedia Design at university. I'm a designer at heart, though I love developing innovative and exciting solutions to web based products.I now specialise in front end web design and bespoke Wordpress powered websites.

14 Responses to White Hat vs Black Hat SEO

  1. spain seo says:

    09:19 12/04/2010


    Another point worth mentioning, is that you need to be careful when you link to other websites.

    The reason being, even if you only use white hat or grey hat techniques for yuour site optimization beware. If one of those sites you are linked to is using blackhat techniques and gets banned by Google, you could get penalised as well.

    Many good sites get problems because of this and wonder what they have done. It’s an easy trap to fall into, so be careful who you link to!


  2. James says:

    15:35 12/04/2010

    @Mike. A very good point. This does surprise me that Google would penalise a website for that. I assume that this could also affect pagerank?!

  3. spain seo says:

    14:22 14/04/2010

    Absolutely and that is why some sites suffer a drop in PR and usually don´t know why! Definitely worth monitoring who you link to.

  4. spain seo says:

    14:40 14/04/2010


    Just wanted to clarify this a bit more after thinking about your comment.

    By “linking to”, in this case I mean, if you were doing a link exchange with another website.

    Otherwise, as you are probably thinking, if it was a straight link situation, your competitors could use this technique to get you banned or penalised , just by linking to you from one of their bad sites.

  5. James says:

    16:29 14/04/2010

    That makes a little more sense, I can’t see Google reducing pagerank on a website that is soley linking to another with no back link.

    One black hat technique linked with this that i have been reading however (Negative SEO) looks at taking your competitions link and placing it on “spammy” websites to try and get them banned, a pretty sly way of working to be honest. But it does happen unfortunatly.

    If your interested a very useful link for you to Matt Cutts of Google talking about a range of different topics: http://www.youtube.com/user/GoogleWebmasterHelp

  6. spain seo says:

    22:46 14/04/2010

    Interesting stuff.

    Thanks for the link.

    Have bookmarked this page.

  7. Nick says:

    08:52 20/04/2010

    Good point SpainSEO,
    Before contemplating linking with another site I always perform a Google Search on a line of text from the site to ensure it is returned in Google SERPS – if it doesn’t show stay well clear.

  8. Derby Web Design says:

    17:36 17/09/2010

    For more SEO information check out a podcast called SEO Rockstars, they have a lot of information about white hat and black hat seo techniques =)

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    07:06 25/10/2010

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  10. ash joe says:

    05:39 02/11/2010

    this is nice post.please give tips for white hat Seo

  11. Maria says:

    20:00 23/03/2011

    @Spain SEO Google don’t penalise a website if a website has inbound links from a banned or penalised website. There is a myth all around the web that if some bad website is linked to your website this can hurt your website.

    This can’t be true because one can’t control who is linking to you. One can only control what is going on in his/her website.

    I would like to hear your views on this.


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    09:09 10/05/2011

    Luckily, your piece goes to the essence of the issue.

  13. canvas prints says:

    08:30 25/05/2011

    Obviously you want to be going for white hat I guess, but blackmore I think has taken more people under it’s wing in recent times.

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    11:16 01/06/2011

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