White Hat, Black Hat, and Grey Hat SEO

What’s the Difference Between White Hat, Black Hat, and Gray Hat SEO?

SEO can be classified as black hat, white hat, or gray hat SEO. Search Engine Optimization is not a one time thing. It has to be done continuously to ensure that you stay on top of SERPs (Search Engines Results Page).

What’s the difference between them, and what does it mean for your SEO strategy?

Here we are looking at the top 3 SEO ranking methods and the positive and negative impact of utilizing them for your digital marketing.

Back Hat and White Hat where did it start?

In Western films dating back to the 1920s, black and white hats were worn by the actors to distinguish their role in the movie.

They made it simple for the viewers to distinguish between the hero and the evil.

A white hat was worn by the hero. A black hat was worn by the villain.

Various industries, including internet security, digital marketing and web development have adopted the terminology over time.

Malicious and ethical hackers are referred to as black hats and white hats are the generally accepted ways of achieving a goal.

In relation to Search Engine Optimization the SEO industry has adopted the same phrasing.

White Hat is SEO that is ethical.

Black Hat is SEO that isn’t ethical.

What Is SEO White Hat?

Following the “rules” is what white hat SEO entails. Simply said, you employ only ethical methods and adhere to search engine criteria.

What Is SEO Black Hat?

Using dangerous SEO methods is known as black hat SEO. 

You employ strategies that can (and, let’s face it, do) work and if noticed by Search Engines  you will be heavily punished. 

This could result in your website getting pulled out of the top SERPs immediately. 

These include everything from adopting strategies that go outside search engine standards to more harmful conduct (which can lead to manual actions).

But who says that?

This isn’t a legal concern in the traditional sense. It is not criminal to disregard Google’s recommendations.

However, if you are detected using unethical SEO strategies (such as hacking), you may face legal consequences.

There is no governing organization that decides what constitutes ethical SEO.

It’s merely a consensus among SEO experts based on the standards provided by the closest organizations we have to a regulatory body.

What Are Good and Bad SEO Practices?

The only SEO rules we have to follow are the ones provided by the search engines. The Search Engine Policy occasionally contradicts itself.

Search engines determine which conditions must be precise to rank highly in their index.

The major search engines’ algorithms have been updated to combat blatant and unhelpful manipulation of search results.

They are there to catch websites that go against the spirit of the ranking algorithms.

The search engines evaluate what is fair play and what is unlawful action.

Google Policy Guide

Google is known for having very explicit webmaster rules that SEO specialists utilize to detect what can get a website in trouble if discovered.

The “Quality Guidelines,” which Google describes as “the most typical forms of fraudulent or manipulative behaviour,” are highlighted.

Activities like “cloaking,” “doorway pages,” and “scraped material” are mentioned in these rules.

The guidelines were created in response to changes in Google’s algorithms over time.

Penguin, Panda and Payday all featured techniques to minimize the prominence of websites in the SERPs that don’t follow the criteria.

What Is Grey Hat Search Engine Optimization?

It’s a combination of white and black hat tactics more of a hybrid of both.

It’s a strategy that’s either white or black hat right now. With changes to how search engines work, it could become the polar opposite in the future.

Either a mix of the two or a transition between the two.

This is not something for which you should be penalized automatically but with Search Engine updates things can change.

It isn’t necessarily a terrible practice, but it is carried out to improve rankings.

Many digital marketing agencies in Sri Lanka employ grey hat strategies and some do utilize black hat methods to rank on top of google search.

It’s always best to be ranked organically with quality content being created regularly.

So next time you start working with an digital marketing agency in Sri Lanka, you might as well look into this aspect.

Sometimes the best digital marketing agency that fits you may not be the one with the biggest team.