White Hat SEO vs. Black Hat SEO: What's the difference?

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Difference between White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO

If you have been involved with the business of search engine optimization for a while now, you may have run into the terms "White Hat SEO" and "Black Hat SEO" before. While the two terms are obviously quite similar, they are as different as two techniques could ever be, with the only thing they have in common being the goal of helping a particular website achieve a higher ranking on the results pages of the major search engines. Let's see how else they differ.

White Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO

Purpose And Intent

White Hat SEO is the term generally used to refer to a set of techniques that aim to make a site appeal mainly to users as opposed to search engines spiders. Such techniques aim to get a particular site high rankings by making the content more accessible to these spiders, instead of by duping the search engine algorithms. In fact, it may be said that White Hat SEO functions in a similar manner to web development methods that aim to enhance accessibility.

Black Hat SEO for its part aims to improve a particular site’s rankings as well, although it uses methods that do not meet with the approval of the major search engines and that typically involve some form of deception.

Primary Methods Used

One of the most common techniques used in Black Hat SEO is the practice of stuffing the Meta Tags with what are supposedly "effective" keywords. This doesn't actually help much, since such techniques are often seen by the major search engines for exactly what they are.

White Hat SEO on the other hand generally utilizes proven techniques such as proper selection and use of effective keywords and keyword phrases. This results in a page that has a good chance of getting a suitably high page ranking while still remaining within the bounds set by the major search engines.

Content Concerns

White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO also differ in the way they handle content, with the former being more concerned with providing quality content that readers will find useful and relevant and will possibly cause the reader to want to come back to the site again and again.

As for Black Hat SEO, it is no less devious in the way it handles content, which in most cases it attempts to hide or disguise in some way. Comment tags are also often used in order to hide illegitimate keyword usage.


White Hat SEO

  • Aims to produce long lasting results
  • Is focused on creating content for users instead of for search engines
  • Aims to make content easily accessible to search engine spiders
  • Similar to web development techniques that improve accessibility
  • Relies on proper and effective use of keywords

Black Hat SEO

  • Is intended as a temporary measure, with most practitioners cognizant of the possibility that they will eventually be banned by the search engines once their techniques are detected
  • Aims to improve a site’s rankings by way of deceptive and/or illegal techniques
  • Often strives to conceal content

Which one is most popular?
  • White Hat SEO
  • Black Hat SEO

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