If you’re looking for an search engine optimization firm to spruce up your website, it’s important that you know the difference between “black-hat” and “white-hat” SEO. You may have heard these terms thrown around on internet forums or message boards, often in reference to the world wide web.
“White-hat” and “black-hat” are unofficial terms used to describe types of search engine optimization techniques. Both types can be effective in terms of getting results, but only white-hat SEO can offer you legitimate sustainability over the long term. In researching search engine marketing, you’ve probably learned a bit about search engine algorithms. These algorithms are complex formulae that Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and other services use to rank and classify websites. They are closely-guarded trade secrets, and SEO firms can only make educated guesses at the exact way a particular algorithm works.
Black-Hat vs. White-Hat Techniques
All search engine optimization campaigns strive to build sites which cater to these computer algorithms; the difference lies in the way they go about doing so. “Black-hat” SEO firms tend to use “shadier” tactics, such as covering a page with invisible keywords (white text on a white background) or creating networks of links from questionable sources. These strategies tend to pander only to search engine spiders while misleading or ignoring the human user.
“White-hat” SEO strategies, on the other hand, attempt to satisfy both search engine algorithms and search engine users at the same time. These strategies include creating links from other valuable websites, designing user-friendly websites, and expanding sites by adding relevant information. The downside is that “white-hat” SEO techniques take lots of time and effort, unlike “black-hat” techniques, which can be mass-produced nearly overnight.
However, it is very important to remember one thing – search engines do not like “black-hat” techniques. Although “black-hat” SEO is by no means illegal, it is generally frowned upon by major search engines, since such techniques artificially inflate website placement without giving the user any additional value. If a search engine discovers a “black-hat” optimized website, it may very likely remove that site from its searchable index, effectively dropping the site into obscurity. In other words, if you want your site to actually have value, and if you want your site to be valued by search engines over the long term, then white-hat SEO is the way to go.
Want to learn more about optimizing your site using purely white-hat techniques, contact search engine optimization firm The Search Engine Guys at (512) 806-7955.