It is not all black and white
There is a significant divide in the SEO industry over the color of a SEOs Hat. The debate about the ethical or unethical nature of SEO can continue till world’s end. But, there are certain SEO techniques labeled under Black Hat SEO which raise the ire of search engines. And certain White Hat SEO techniques may also cause some trouble.
content and context – Now you see it, now you don’t
In Black Hat SEO the content, links etc are not visible to human visitors, they are all aimed at search engines alone. If human visitors do chance upon a Black Hat SEO page their user experience is ruined as usually the content on such web pages consists of machine generated, keyword stuffed nonsense.
White Hat SEOs generally, optimize for their users keeping search engine rankings in mind. Though some SEOs make the mistake of creating ugly, unreadable pages which negate the motive of creating a web page as they do not convert well.
Attitude towards search engines – War and peace
Black Hat SEOs are at constant war with search engines. They are always looking to one up them, by cheating on guidelines and twisting or manipulating algorithms. Though not following search engine guidelines is no crime per say, but completely bypassing them or manipulating them for results can harm your experience with the target audience.
White Hat SEOs are at peace with search engines, neither are they looking to follow every single guideline nor are the looking to manipulate them in any way. White Hat SEOs either completely ignore search engines or treat them with respect. White Hat SEOs usually incorporate techniques in their webpages which are aimed at their human visitors.
Relevancy – Making sense
Relevance is a subjective issue. A site relevant to a particular individual for a keyword may not be so for another individual or a whole group of individuals. But search engines work to cater to a group. Search engines decide the relevance of a page on the basis of their algorithm
White Hat SEOs work to improve relevance by changing the site and content structure and links. These are visible to people and the links can be followed by human visitors.
Black Hat SEOs instead, create site structure and content which is not for human visitors to see. They seek to improve relevance and ranking by spamming, cloaking and other back door techniques.
Permanent ban from search engine indices – Fall into line
The risk of being dropped from search engine indices is present whether the site had been optimized or not. Certain White Hat SEO techniques may increase these risks, but some others can drastically reduce the risk of being removed from search engine indices. Black Hat SEO techniques are definitely associated with high risk of being kicked off a search engine’s index. Also, most black Hat techniques if detected result in the site being permanently banned from search engine indices, but this is not the case with White Hat SEO.
Peer review and accreditation
As the website and SEO industry grows and progresses, the work done by SEOs on web pages are reviewed not only by clients and visitors but by peers and industry experts as well. White Hat SEOs optimize their pages keeping their target visitors in focus and SEOs in mind. So their work towards the purpose of ranking well on search engine indices is there for all to see. Hence, clients, visitors, experts and peers can review and comment on the quality of their work.
Black Hat SEOs aim at search engines alone and hence, the quality of their work cannot be judged by clients or visitors or peers. This can be detriment to the industry as it progresses.
Both black Hat and White Hat SEO provide both short term and long term results. White Hat SEO techniques might take longer to implement and produce results. But their effects are generally longer lasting than Black Hat SEO as they are associated with lesser risk. Both black Hat techniques and white Hat techniques can generate both short term and long term results for clients, whether results are measured in terms of rankings, traffic, conversion or profit.