Black Hat Tactics and White Hat Alternatives

Written by Nick Stamoulis

No Black HatThere are many tactics that can be used in a search engine optimization campaign to attract the attention of search engine spiders and get a website ranked prominently for specific keywords. Some of these tactics are considered to be white hat, which means that they are tactics that “play by the rules” of the search engines, and others are black hat, which means that they are spammy and can result in search engine penalties.

So, why would anyone want to be “black hat” you may ask? Well, it’s because black hat tactics can still work. They might eventually lead to a search engine penalty, but the search engines won’t notice your indiscretions immediately, meaning that it could provide a boost in ranking in the interim. In other words, black hat tactics only work temporarily.

However, the repercussions of using black-hat tactics are vast. The search engines will notice eventually and will penalize you for it. Don’t risk it. Instead of implementing these black hat tactics, spend some extra time implementing a white hat alternative.

As a white hat, full service SEO firm, we know how important it is to use white hat tactics. Not only do they keep you in good standing with the search engines, but they’re also the only tactics that work consistently well over time. Don’t let the black hat tactics hold you back! Use the white hat options instead:

Black Hat Tactic: Buying Links and Link Exchanges
White Hat Alternative: White Hat Link Building Strategy

The search engines want to provide users with the best possible results. One ranking factor is the number of inbound links that a website has pointing to it. To the search engines, this is an indicator of trust. A black hat tactic is to pay other web properties to link to them, or to participate in a link exchange- “I’ll link to you if you link to me.” These are spammy tactics because the links aren’t earned and in some cases the two websites might not even be related. Links pass on trust through relevance. Instead, build a link campaign that is based on creating good, quality content that will be linked to naturally because it provides value and can be used as a reference.

Black Hat Tactic: Keyword Stuffing
White Hat Alternative: Naturally Implement Keywords

The Benefits of Nofollow LinksTargeting the right keywords is everything for SEO. It’s important to spend time researching which keywords are best and then incorporate these keywords throughout website content and any other content that is distributed on the web. The key is that it needs to be natural. Remember, you are writing for your visitors and target audience, not just for the search engines. It’s obvious when you throw too many keywords in there and it results in a bad user experience. Don’t force it. If the keyword doesn’t fit or doesn’t look right in a certain sentence, just don’t include it.

Black Hat Tactic: Launching Lots of Social Profiles
White Hat Alternative: One Profile per Social Network

Social media is becoming a huge part of SEO. Social media brand pages rank in the search engines and social signals are becoming a ranking factor for web pages. A spammy tactic is to launch different social profiles that target different keywords in order to get them indexed and ranked for tchecklisthat keyword. The problem with this is that you can never really build up a true following. Use social media for what it was intended to be used for, social interaction. Build one page per social network. Optimize it as best that you can, and use it to share content and engage with fans and followers.

Black hat tactics aren’t worth the risk. Besides, as the search engines get more sophisticated, the chances of them even working in the short term are very slim. In some cases, black hat tactics have been shut down in less than twenty four hours, which makes them not worth the risk. Instead of chasing the quick solution, it’s best to work your consistent, white hat SEO program. This is the best way to experience consistent growth that lasts for the long term. As a white hat SEO firm, we use this is the approach for all of our clients!

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