As you look for an internet marketing agency for your business, you may have noticed different companies distinguishing themselves as providing white hat services. Or maybe you’re blacklisted on Google because of your previous marketing agency’s tactics and need someone to help you fix it. Whatever the case, it’s important to understand the difference between white hat and black hat SEO services and what they mean for your business.
The terms white hat and black hat actually come from old western movies, which used hat color to distinguish different characters in the movie. In these westerns, the hero wore a white hat while the villain wore a black hat. This is a great way to remember the difference between white hat and black hat SEO. White hat SEO follows the rules while black hat SEO breaks them. Let’s talk about some of the differences and why you should always work with a white hat internet marketing agency.
What is White Hat SEO? Why Work with a White Hat Internet Marketing Agency?
White hat SEO is a method of improving your search results on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. This style of SEO follows the rules and guidelines set in place by search engines.
To understand what makes this different from black hat SEO, you need to know the most basic goal of every search engine: to provide quality information for each search. So, for any given search, Google and other search engines work to provide results that are most relevant with the best quality information. For example, if you were to search for “blue pen,” you don’t want to see results for a black lamp, right? Search engines work to ensure you only see results for blue pens with pages that provide the information they think you might be looking for.
That’s why search engines have rules in place to help ensure searchers see quality, relevant websites to their search. For instance, they recommend writing content that will be valuable for a searcher, rather than writing content specifically for internet bots. White hat SEO follows these rules and recommendations from search engines. This can help a site achieve long-term goals through good rankings for relevant keywords.
While the results tend to be longer-term, they are much more valuable and long-lasting. Also, there are basically no risks associated with white hat tactics. Therefore, it’s important to choose a Houston digital marketing agency that employs white hat strategies to amplify your brand online.
What is Black Hat SEO?
In contrast, black hat SEO is a method that breaks search engine rules. Now, let’s be clear: black hat tactics can certainly be successful in that they can get you higher rankings in the short-term. However, these methods can come back to bite you. Getting caught using black hat SEO strategies for your website is practically inevitable. Google and other search engines are constantly updating their algorithms and methods to automatically filter out manipulative search results. Also, search engines also use real-life humans to monitor quality of search results. When they see black hat tactics, they penalize those websites. So, using black hat SEO creates many risks for your site.
Risks of Choosing a Black Hat Internet Marketing Agency
Manipulating search results with rule breaking tactics can have many negative consequences for your business’ website. Not knowing that your internet marketing agency is engaging in these practices is no excuse and won’t hold search engines back from penalizing you.
There are a few ways black hat SEO can actually hurt your site’s results. First, usually search engine algorithms and bots are good at identifying when you’re breaking webmaster rules. So, there’s a good chance that your website will be automatically filtered and pushed down to lower rankings.
However, even if you get an initial pay off in great results or higher traffic, there are still risks of future filtering from algorithm updates and through manual actions. Manual actions are where human Google employees see signs of black hat SEO techniques and penalize your site. These penalties lower your ranking, visibility, and traffic.
In some cases, you may even be completely deindexed, which means the search engine will not show your company’s website at all in any search engine results pages. This is effectively blocking your site from the platform. Imagine being erased from Google search and what that might mean for your business. That’s why you shouldn’t choose an internet marketing agency that uses black hat techniques.
Gray Hat SEO
We’re primarily talking about white hat versus black hat SEO, but it’s also important to mention gray hat SEO in these discussions. As you may have guessed just from the name, gray hat is neither white or black hat, but something in between. Generally, these SEO tactics blur the line between white and black hat SEO. Gray hat SEO is using methods that, while not strictly against search engine rules, aren’t in the spirit of the rules. Gray hat SEO might involve doing things like buying an expired domain with a lot of authority and that has been around for a while. This doesn’t add any value for the searcher. They don’t know how old the domain is or how authoritative Google sees it. Yet, it might help boost your rankings with search engines. This isn’t currently against webmaster rules, but it could be in future.
White Hat Houston SEO Tactics
So, what does white hat Houston SEO look like? That’s a great question. When you work with a white hat internet marketing agency, your team focuses on optimizing your website for users to create long-term results. Some examples of white hat SEO include:
- Creating quality website content that is useful for searchers
- Making your website mobile-friendly
- Using keywords that are relevant to your website
- Blogging through your business’ website on topics that interest your audience
- Making your website easy to navigate and read
Black Hat Tactics
Black hat marketing methods are more manipulative. They focus on gaming search engines above providing good quality websites for potential users. Some common black hat tactics include:
- Plagiarizing content (also known as content scraping or duplicate content)
- Article spinning
- Keyword stuffing (using irrelevant or too many keywords to game the search engine)
- Cloaking (showing humans and search engines different content)
Remember, any of these black hat techniques can result in a penalty from the search engine.
What if Your Previous Internet Marketing Agency Used Black Hat Methods?
As a top internet marketing agency, we see a lot of different marketing situations. We’ve run into several companies whose previous marketing companies used black hat tactics that resulted in penalties. The road to recovery after a manual action is often long and difficult. However, the good news is there often is a way to recover.
Recovering from a search engine penalty can take weeks, months, or even years. It starts with removing the manipulations and following white hat SEO methods. Often, you can reach out to Google (or the search engine with the penalty) and explain what happened and your plans to rectify it. This is called a reconsideration request for Google. It is essentially where you ask Google to review your website again after you have fixed the problems that caused the manual action.
Quality SEO & Digital Marketing from Bizopia – Internet Marketing Agency for 20 Years
When you need quality internet marketing solutions, choose our experts at Bizopia. We are a top digital marketing agency in Houston offering total solutions for your online marketing needs, from website design and SEO services to PPC optimization and social media marketing. Our team offers years of experience to help your business increase visibility online. Reach out today for a free website and marketing analysis from our professionals and to learn how we can help your business.