Online Marketing

The white, grey and black hats of SEO


The ultimate goal of many businesses with websites is to attract as many people to those web pages as possible. Most people do this through the use of SEO content, but did you know that there’s a right and wrong way to use SEO?

While it’s easy to assume any way you achieve traffic to your website is a good way, there are some methods Google does not approve of.

The worst thing you can do as a business owner is get in the bad books of the search engine giant. Below we outline the three sections your SEO content can fall into.

White hat
White hat SEO content is what all business owners should aspire to have.

After all, if you end up with black hat SEO content, your search engine rankings will be short lived and this can have a detrimental effect on your business. White hat SEO content is considered white hat if it doesn’t aim to deceive anyone. There are no ‘hard and fast’ rules but this is the gist of what is expected. The content that ranks on Google is the content your potential customers are seeing.

White hat SEO content is for your visitors to read and appreciate, with the end goal being a sale made from that visit to your website.

Ultimately, you can use content which is easy for the search engine to access in order to improve traffic, but you can’t trick that search engine.

Black hat
Black hat SEO content is generally not used by reputable businesses. This is because the consequences of being caught can far outweigh the benefits of using trickery to get a better rating on Google.

Black hat SEO content is where content is added to your website, but it’s hidden.

This means when people search particular keywords, your business can appear but it will not show that content on your website. This is deceiving people into thinking your website features exactly what they’re after. The truth is, this could more than likely be the case, but using hidden text is not the right way to go about it. The text is often made the same colour as the background, is hidden off to the side, or is published in an invisible div by a web developer. Some people even use ‘cloaking’, which is providing one web page for a human, and a completely different one for a search engine.

If you are caught using black hat SEO methods, Google can reduce your Google ranking or remove you from their listings and databases. It’s certainly not worth the risk. In fact, BMW and Ricoh – both in Germany – were caught using deceptive black hat SEO practices and were made to rectify the problem.

Grey hat
Grey hat SEO content is not as bad as black hat, but it’s still frowned upon. This is the process of using SEO content on your website which is visible, but doesn’t act in the best interests of your customers. The content is more targeted towards using good keywords rather than information for your potential customers. It can often be jumbled, doesn’t make a lot of sense and heavily uses words that appear to be beneficial for search engines.