the black hat vs white hat debate

According to MOZ, search engine optimisation (SEO) is a marketing tool which focuses on growing brand visibility through organic search engine results. 

(image by Oberlo)

It is a highly targeted technique to drive traffic to a company’s website that has the potential to be both dynamic and low cost. 

However, it also has a lack of predictability and may not reap benefits straight away. 

To get around these disadvantages, many organisations engage in unethical practices known as black hat techniques which attempt to trick the algorithms. 

According to Black Hat SEO Forum, it includes meta keyword stuffing, which involves repeated use of the same terms, hidden content such as white text on white background, cloaking and link farming. 

Google algorithms are trained to detect these black hat techniques which can result in the demotion of a page’s rank instead of successful SEO. 

Link Assistant published big name examples of companies who have been penalised for using black hat techniques, including BMW – check out the list here!

Or watch Neil Patel describe some blacklisted tactics in the video below!

To prevent being penalised by the algorithm, companies should stick to white hat SEO. These SEO techniques are the ethical approach to growing visibility online. 

Implementation involves quality content, appropriate use of titles, meta data and keywords in addition to quality internal and external links. These techniques build a website’s credibility instead of trying to fool the algorithm. 

If you want to take the ethical approach to SEO and prevent being penalised, be sure to steer clear of link spamming, content spinning, back links and press release spam.

Instead, focus on genuine content marketing, social media presence, mobile interface, back link quality and value creation for customers as advised by online advertising giant Word Stream!

With the increasing ability of Google’s algorithm to detect black hat SEO techniques, do you think there is still a market for people selling these unethical marketing services?

6 thoughts on “the black hat vs white hat debate

    1. That’s true Emma! Since most businesses hire other companies to do their SEO, it seems like they would have to research quite extensively if they wanted to avoid any unethical black hat techniques being used without their knowledge!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Interesting article about black versus white hat SEO techniques Alex. I wonder if there are many companies and businesses out there that use black hat SEO techniques? Or if this has decreased over time?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe there would be a lot of companies engaging in black hat SEO that are completely unaware of it! In my experience at work, we get a lot of dodgy emails offering cheap SEO that ‘guarantee’ your page will be the top selection on Google that must be using black hat techniques. It’s difficult to track the trends of black vs white hat SEO over time, but I would imagine that both have increased due to the increasing number of websites!


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