The Difference between White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO

The Difference between White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO

Implementing SEO is a very technical enterprise as it involves knowledge of search engine guidelines, website design and marketing copy. The process of creating good SEO is always constant and ongoing. The reason for both these statements is very simple, search engine companies have spent years finding ways to make their search engines an accurate and fair representation of a search on the Web.

The algorithms that are used by search engines are constantly evolving are what SEO practices are built around. To ensure that everyone follows the rules, both in spirit and in practice, while creating a website, every search engine imposes penalties on websites that cheat to gain more traffic.

Following the rules and performing business in an ethical manner is not a new concept but since search engines are services, breaking their rules is invalidating the terms of service and not an illegal act.

However, if you are looking for a shortcut to get immediate ROI, that’s when Black Hat SEO looks tempting as an option. But are you sure you know what you are getting into?

This is where we begin to see the motivation behind the two schools of SEO because this interpretation of the SEO guidelines is what differentiates White Hat SEO from Black Hat SEO.


Black Hat SEO and Bending/Breaking the Rules

The only reason Black Hat SEO exists at all is because there are digital marketers out there who believe that they can get results quickly and that this won’t be a problem later. The tactics which Black Hat SEO practitioners use range from small infringements of the guidelines to willfully misleading both the search engine algorithm and even the website visitor.

To trick the engines to rank websites higher, the beginning of a Black Hat SEO campaign is very important because this is when they can show the most results. Keyword stuffing, creating microsites, using blogs to spam information that has no value to most visitors; these are just a few things that they do to shoot up the rankings on search engine result pages.

Other nefarious practices such as hidden text that the algorithms can detect but the visitor cannot see or using links in various unscrupulous ways to drive up traffic to your website inorganically and through deception.

All these practices are prevalent and yes, they do drive traffic up quickly but at one point, all Black Hat SEO campaigns fail. This is when search engine automatically discovers the infringement or if somebody makes a complaint about unethical practices. Both scenarios end with the website receiving a penalty and these penalties take time to recover from.

Many of these penalties result in devaluing your website and thus all the “gains” you have received will quickly be removed and in fact, the website will be pushed further down rankings. This is just one of the penalties and after a reconsideration process, which requires changes to your website, the damage is only undone when the search engine team is satisfied with the changes you have made.

Knowing this, many Black Hat SEO companies willfully mislead their clients by not telling them that they are engaging in Black Hat tactics and this could do so much damage to a new website. It is important to keep these factors in mind when crediting what White Hat SEO provides.


White Hat SEO or the Appropriate Form of SEO

It is easy to attach moral judgements to Black Hat and White Hat tactics especially since these terms are from the hacking community and do not conform as well to the practice of SEO. Black Hat SEO is not necessarily done with the wrong intentions in mind because as mentioned previously.

Search engines change their rules often and it is up to good SEO practitioners to keep up with these changes and update the websites accordingly. SEO done by marketers who are not up to date with rule changes can result in some mistaken infractions, which will still lead to penalties. White Hat SEO is not just following the rules but actively keeping up to date with them.

Apart from ensuring the understanding of SEO is confirmed, White Hat SEO is all about careful planning, understanding the details of SEO, adjusting for changes and making a long-term plan that will reap benefits through the website’s lifetime.

SEO is always about organic traffic and if a website follows great SEO strategy, the results will invariably follow. There is no replacement for a well-designed and intuitive website and helpful content that consumers are looking for will always perform well. Merging the technical aspects of website building, especially UX/UI, with creating great content whether it is artwork, videos, music or copy, is what White Hat SEO is all about.

To maximize your ROI and get some results from digital marketing right away, it is a good idea to pair up your SEO campaign with a Google Ads campaign. Your SEO campaign needs the time it does to build the foundations for your success online but a Google Ads campaign is great for synergy and directly benefits your overall campaign (more info coming soon on benefits of running SEO and Ads together, stay tuned!). You need to give your SEO every opportunity it needs to succeed and that means you need to persevere with best practices.

This diligent approach and constant improvement yield great results over time. Since White Hat SEO practices are accepted SEO practices, search engines will not impose penalties and therefore, websites with the appropriate SEO won’t suffer from shocks and


Keep an Eye on Your SEO Campaign

If you are working on an SEO campaign or if you have hired another company to take care of this for you, sticking to White Hat SEO practices is very important. Knowingly or unknowingly taking part in Black Hat SEO activity will still result in penalties, which is why it is extremely critical for anyone who wants to run an SEO campaign to be mindful and check that every step follows the rules.

Understanding the difference between Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO ultimately puts the process of achieving great SEO into context, where we can appreciate the work and dedication it takes to do the work and get great results.


At Spyder, we pride ourselves in doing the best white hat SEO campaigns for lasting business growth for all our clients. If you are interested in joining our Spyder web, get in touch with us at

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