SEO 101 – White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO

White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO
Two terms you will hear being thrown around in the SEO world is “white hat SEO” and “black hat SEO”.

White hat SEO refers to implementing SEO techniques on your site that don’t violate any of the search engines terms of service. In other words you are doing SEO like I described it above and not trying anything to “trick” the search engines.

Here is a link to read Google’s rules for website owners:

Black Hat SEO is the opposite of White Hat. This is the practice of doing anything you can to trick the search engines into ranking well. If you are showing your visitors one thing and the search engines another, you are using black hat techniques. In the olden days it included adding hidden text on your site that was filled with keywords so that search engines could see them but visitors to your site couldn’t.

There are many ways people have come up with to try and trick the search engines into giving them higher rankings. This is a short sighted practice and eventually it will catch up to you. Google will penalize your site for using black hat techniques. This could mean that your site loses rankings and you end up on page 7 of the search results. The worse case scenario is that your site gets banned from Google and you can no longer be found anywhere for any search terms.

We preach doing SEO for long term results since you are building a long term business online. If you ever have any question about an SEO practice whether it is OK or not just don’t do it. I have given everything you need to be successful above.

Adam White is a 20+ year entrepreneur having built and sold 18 internet businesses. He currently runs JustReachOut and SquidVision, a new type of landing page optimization software for SaaS companies, and does SaaS and SEO consulting at He lives in Tennessee with his wife and kids and in between SaaS businesses he writes and directs feature films.

1 comments On SEO 101 – White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO

  • Myths and rumors abound on the being banned for cloaking issue, and five experts will probably give you six different answers … Well, here is mine: ……don’t be fooled by the hype!

    Can your core web site get banned by the search engines for cloaking? If that was true, then your competitor could build some cloaked domains and point them to your primary web site so that it would be banned! Think of the damage that would be done if that was at all true. Not a very likely scenario, is it?

    So can you really have your “cloaked” domains banned for cloaking? The answer is yes – if, for example, the search engines’ staff have manually checked and compared your spider content with what you are actually serving your human visitors. In a worst case scenario a human editor may come along to check the matter out.

    On the other hand, it is highly unlikely that you will get penalized or banned unless some silly campaign build mistake has taken place. If a cloaking campaign is implemented professionally and with sound marketing techniques, your chances of being banned are minimal.

    Note that I do NOT condone cloaking for misleading purposes: it is counter productive and will only serve to make life more difficult for all parties concerned.

    So can cloaking be abused? Sure it can! But so are kitchen knives and painkillers. I for my part have never advocated misleading search engine optimization, if only because it’s dumb marketing. There’s no excuse in the world for misleading visitors like that and it certainly doesn’t seem to pay off either, which is why the SERPs is actually seeing less and less of such practises these days.

    But let’s face realities here: while the search engines may take a strong-arm stance against cloaking in public, they don’t really seem to worry too much about it in everyday life, even if they state otherwise.

    One of the reasons being that there’s so much legitimate cloaking about, it would simply be impossible to weed it all out. Else, you might well expect the world’s top 1000 web properties to disappear from the SERPs.

    It’s quite important to realize this fact before fretting about the possible penalization of cloaking, as so many clueless SEOs are preaching, without a single tangible proof of what they’re claiming to know absolutely everything about.

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