SEO Best Practices
SEO Best Practices
The Difference Between Whitehat SEO, Grayhat SEO and Blackhat SEO
If you own a website, you probably know you need some kind of search engine optimization (SEO) for your site. SEO is the driving force between your site and search engines. For a search engine to understand your site and rank it accordingly, you need clean code and optimized pages. Three schools of thought encompass SEO, and you should know the difference before you employ someone to work on your site.
Whitehat is considered the “honest” form of SEO, but be careful what type of whitehat SEO you hire. Some SEOs claim to be whitehat when in fact their methods can send negative signals to search engines. Most companies ask for whitehat backlinks, but building backlinks incorrectly can lead to manual penalties from Google. Always ask an SEO how he intends to build backlinks.
Whitehat SEOs do not involve any hacking, spam links or hidden content on your pages. All content is written naturally, and all code added to pages is written for bots and users. Whitehat SEO is what you want for long-term success with your website. If you plan to keep a site for a long time, stick with whitehat SEO.
Grayhat SEO is the “middle-of-the-road” way of performing SEO. Most SEOs are either whitehat or grayhat. Grayhat SEO involves most of the same types of services as whitehat SEO, but grayhat might do some techniques that toe the line into guideline violations.
For instance, a grayhat SEO might sell you whitehat links, but some of these links are forum, blog comments or directory links. Grayhat SEOs sometimes incorporate code that is seen by search engine bots but not users. This type of coding is called “cloaking,” and it can send low quality signals to search engine bots if the bots catch on to the coding.
Grayhat SEO can be successful, but you should perform grayhat SEO with caution. Google has been cracking down on backlink spam, and grayhat SEO usually involves some kind of backlink procedures that go against Google’s guidelines. Google’s latest Penguin algorithm change lowers rank for website owners who incorporate low-quality link campaigns.
Blackhat SEO is hacking, cloaking, spamming, and any other procedure that gets a website to the top of search engines quickly, but can render the site de-indexed when search engines catch up to what has been done. Blackhat SEO is popular in the pharmaceutical industry where blackhats hack websites and place hidden links in unsuspecting site owners’ pages. Blackhats also hack sites and redirect them based on user agent, so bots are transferred to another website while the site owner sees his site in the browser. This type of website hijack is devastating to a site’s rank, and it can go on for months before a site owner is aware of the problem.
Blackhat SEOs also spam thousands of links on forums and blogs in an effort to quickly rank a site regardless of backlink quality. Because of the automated spam, blackhat SEO sites typically get IP banned or listed in filters to stop the spam.
Blackhat SEO is only useful if you plan to make money quickly and abandon a website in a few months. Blackhat SEO is not typically what site owners want for long-term success, and any of these tactics can trigger low quality signals. In extreme cases, your site is reviewed by a web spam professional and manually removed from a search engine’s index.
Before you employ any SEO for your site, understand these differences and ask for a detailed report of what the SEO plans to do to your on-page content and code and how he plans to acquire links. Always get a detailed report and monitor any changes in Bing and Google Webmaster Tools.