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Differences Between Black Hat, Gray Hat & White Hat SEO

Sep 25, 2020

Differences Between Black Hat, Gray Hat & White Hat SEO

If you are an SEO marketer, you know about the white, black & grey hat SEO techniques. But, if you are new to SEO & do not know what these hats need to do with search engine optimization, then here is what you have to know:

White Hat SEO

White Hat SEO generally refers to any kind of practice that improves the search performance on the search engine page while adhering to the search engine’s policies. For Google, the White Hat SEO techniques follow the self-published guidelines. There are a few examples of the White Hat SEO tactics that include using keywords, link building, back-linking, as well as writing content, which focuses on relevancy, audience engagement, and organic ranking.

Black Hat SEO

The Black Hat SEO methods are the disapproved practices, which increase the page rankings in SERP just by going against the search engine’s service terms. The Black Hat SEO techniques generally range from keyword stuffing, by using unrelated keywords in the page content, or invisible text for doorway pages, content automation, and page swapping redirect.

So, White Hat SEO is highly preferable to Black Hat SEO in the said practices are sustainable and ethical. The Black Hat methods are highly effective but can be risky and cause your website to get reported.

Grey Hat SEO

The Grey Hat SEO methods are the SEO practice that stays “ill-defined” and “ill-advised” by the search engine guidelines & can be disagreeable. Essentially, it is Black masquerading as White. For instance, clickbait. Clickbait generally refers to the practice where somebody posts something like an eye-catching link or piece of content, which encourages the reader to click & read more.   For instance the common White & Black Hat strategy, you can check out white hat & black hat SEO techniques.

The White Hat tacticians maintain the code of ethics, which strictly adheres to guidelines that are set by leading authorities, normally Google.  Their websites are well organized and relevant and quite appealing to the users whereas performing very well for the search engines. The website with the good use of the White Hat SEO techniques is written for the end-users however is simple for the spiders to crawl. The content of the websites is useful and, thus, they may have a good rate of inbound links that are built organically.


The White Hat SEO methods hit the target for the end-users as well as search engines each time.

Black Hat SEO Methods

Culprits of this SEO world, the strategists who use Black Hat SEO are optimizing the content of the websites to try & fool the search engines into boosting the rankings. There’re many methods used in the Black Hat, all are against guidelines that are laid out by some major search engines however are still used by some:

  • Keyword overload –Overuse of the keywords in the text aimed at capturing a lot of traffic if possible while rendering content nonsensical for human visitors.
  • Doorway pages –The false gateways are smoke & mirror ways of capturing the traffic looking for the specific keyword, which has got nothing to do with the actual focus of this site. The pages offer no value to the end users.
  • Cloaking – Making pages that will return information for the search engines, which differs from the content seen by the users.
  • Interlinking – setting up multiple sites to create false backlinks.
  • Hidden Content – Same as cloaking but the use of invisible text, using images with the same color as the text or links.
  • Automated spambots – Making use of software to make comments over blogs & forums to produce the links.
  • Plagiarism – using the content in copyright & publishing it.

Gray-Hat Tactics

Like with several things, there’s a gray area in the SEO. The gray hat SEO is the newer concept where over-optimization and accidental duplication will occur. The gray hat SEO is not essentially frowned on but is not praised. You can think of the Gray Hat as a neutral area where you may gain the presence fairly fast with the potential risk to be penalized.

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