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The Three Different Hats of SEO


Anyone who has ever worked on a website probably has an idea what search engine optimization (SEO) is all about. SEO are the methods used by websites in order to increase performance. It improves website visibility, promotes traffic, creates a better environment for the users, and so much more.

Most website aficionados can come to the agreement that SEO marketing strategies are the best means by which a website can put itself out there and draw the crowd that it needs. Websites often resort to SEO tactics in order to get the critical mass necessary to get their website to run.

There are plenty of different SEO techniques to choose from. Knowing which SEO techniques to employ is important because some of them tend to draw the wrong kind of attention. SEO techniques can be categorized into three different groups, white hat, black hat, and gray hat SEO techniques. Below is a brief overview of the three different hats for the not so technologically inclined.

White hat SEO techniques

These SEO techniques are legitimate methods websites can employ to improve performance. White hat SEO techniques refers to all SEO techniques that search engines, such as Google or Bing, consider as acceptable practices for enhancing a website.

Websites favor white hat SEO techniques for the simple reason that it builds the website a good and strong reputation. It gives the website a strong image to both the search engines and the users.

A strong reputation with the search engines means getting a high spot on their search engine results page (SERP). The SERP is the page that internet users get when they use a search engine. Only the best websites can get on top of that list. It is the very reason why the first few links on the SERP get the most amount of traffic.

White hat SEO techniques also establish credibility with the website’s target audience. White hat SEO techniques designs websites for the explicit purpose of augmenting user experience.

Black hat SEO techniques

These are the techniques that websites ought to avoid. Few, if any, SEO companies employ this kind of SEO technique as it tends to be more trouble than it is worth.

Black hat SEO is a category of SEO techniques that are considered disgraceful by the internet community and search engines. Black hat SEO techniques make a website appear highly relevant. It subverts the very methods or standards that search engines use to determine a website’s relevance. In general, black hat SEO techniques are misleading. This deception reduces the overall reliability of search engines, hence the reason why the people of the World Wide Web hate it so much.

The general idea of black hat SEO techniques is that it creates content for search engines. In other words, when websites use black hat SEO techniques their content has search engines as their audience. This is why some people often get directed to websites that often have gibberish or incoherent content.

Gray hat SEO techniques

As the name itself implies, this is the area of the SEO technique spectrum that is a bit more ambiguous than the black or white hat variants. Some SEO techniques are not outright banned or disallowed. These techniques however, expose the website to a certain degree of risk. The risk of getting punished by search engines is higher than that of white hat SEO techniques, but lower than black hat SEO practices, hence the name gray hat.

Despite its ambiguity, websites are still recommended to stay clear of these techniques as they can still render a false positive, or negative depending on how a person looks at it, and may just end up getting a website punished. Some internet marketing experts believe that the grey hat SEO techniques of today might just become the black hat techniques of tomorrow. It would be wise for websites to look towards the future and avoid using gray hat techniques altogether.

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