Search Engine Optimization is the use of keywords and other techniques designed to help shoot a website to the top of a search. There are many SEO strategists and firms out there that claim that they can help bring your site up into Google’s top 10 search results. Many self-proclaimed experts not only charge an expensive hourly but may even pressure you to sign a contract that keeps them on retainer for months while expenses accumulate. The worst part is many firms use shady practices that may not produce traffic, deliver the wrong traffic or could even get you on Google’s banned list. This information is not meant to be discouraging but alert you that it can be very difficult to find a good firm that uses ethical practices. Thus it is essential as a business to become educated on the basics of SEO and know the difference between White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO practices.
White hat SEO is good, it’s ethical SEO. These techniques are accepted by search engines. White Hat SEO strategies are inherently beneficial for site visitors as well as search engines. The goal of white hat SEO is to improve SEO ranking positions through methods that won’t cause search engines to penalize your site. It is important to note that successful white hat SEO takes time, and is slower to show results than black hat strategies which only produce short term success if any at all.
Black hat SEO is the use of techniques that are not acceptable to search engines as an ethical way to boost a page’s position in the search results. Black Hat SEO strategies are intended to trick search engines into giving pages higher positions in search results, and contain no benefits to site visitors. The goal is to improve search engine result positions artificially even if it will hurt the website’s ranking later down the line. The reason black hat strategies have been used is because they often work until the search engines find out about them. When these black hat strategies are found on a website, their site will become penalized or banned from search engines. Furthermore even if search engines can’t detect the black hat SEO strategies, competitors of sites that employ black hat strategies can spot them and often report them to search engines.
Finally there are gray hat SEO techniques that involve taking more risk than white hat SEO techniques but aren’t likely to get your site banned from search engines, although a penalty is still fair game. They’re questionable techniques but are not as offensive as black hat SEO strategies. One reason to be weary of gray hat SEO techniques is that what may be considered a gray tactic today, may turn into a black hat tactic next year.
Check out this article to view examples of white hat, black hat and gray hat SEO strategies.
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