SEO is the abbreviation for search engine optimization and currently, is one of the most popular jargons across the society. It is well-defined and rigorous process by which a website achieves greater prominence. In fact, increasing prominence for a website is synonymous to thickening its online traffic stream. Mostly because of the effort to streamline online searches that search engine giant Google has undertaken in the recent times, the aspect of SEO campaigns has turned viral.

In fact, SEO campaigning is one of the most sought-after strategies of electronic marketing. Search engines like Google and Bing, etc. determine SERP ranking for a website based on well-defined algorithms that are never made public. Interestingly, the principles or concepts on which the algorithms are based are widely popular. SEO service providers work on these principles to improve SERP ranking for their clients’ websites.

SEO campaigns – based on strategies that are being applied – can be broadly classified into two divisions, namely

  • White hat and
  • Black hat SEO

White hat SEO

White hat SEO is, in most simple terms, referred to ethical SEO campaigning. The strategies involved with white hat SEO are widely accepted and approved by the search engines. White hat SEO strategies whenever implemented never run the risk of penalizing a website by a search engine. In fact, these strategies prove helpful both for the online visitors and the search engines.

As such, results of white hat SEO takes time to come; however, it does not get washed away that easily. In other words, positive results derived from implementing white hat SEO strategies are durable.

Examples of white hat SEO

On aspect of content

  • Thorough researching on relevant keywords, both short tailed and long tailed
  • Updating fresh content regularly
  • Including keywords naturally in headings, page titles, other page content and alt tags, etc.
  • Studying analytics reports and fine-tuning the content to further optimize it for targeted keywords

On aspect of coding

  • Using correct HTML markup (for example, heading tags) so that search engines can differentiate headings and other types of content easily
  • Making sure that all the codes are valid and will not cease movement of the search engine bots
  • Creating site maps to ensure every page is linked and bots can crawl every page
  • Using CSS to separate content from markup and thus, increase keyword density

On aspect of linking

  • Submitting quality content that readers will eventually link to
  • Facilitating directories and other relevant web portals to link to the site
  • Optimizing pages for Social Media platforms

Black hat SEO

Black hat is referred to the SEO techniques that are considered unethical by search engines. Websites that follow black hat tactics, run the risk of being severely penalized by search engines. These sites usually prove to be futile for online visitors.

Now, the question may arise how this unethical practice has existed? Well, this practice exists because of two reasons.

  • Black hat strategies work till the time search engine do not come to know about their existence
  • People in general are unaware about the fact that black hat SEO strategies can get websites severely penalized by search engines

Examples of black hat SEO

On aspect of content

Keyword stuffing

  • Excessive using of keywords in Meta tags, Alt tags and comment tags, etc.
  • Unnecessarily placing keywords on a page by making their font colour same as that of the page background, in other words – by intentionally hiding the keywords from visitors
  • Excessive using of keywords in the body of visible text

As such, there are more ways to place misleading content on a website and thus, harassing both search engines and the community of online visitors.

Cloaking is a well-known strategy for deception that black hat SEO professionals perform. In this method, different contents are displayed to search engines and the online visitors, respectively, routed through different IP.

On aspect of content

  • A common black hat SEO strategy is to generate poor quality links, to a website, which are totally unrelated to the purpose, by seeking help from link farms.
  • In fact, Google has been emphasizing on the fact that quality and relevance are more effective in successful SEO campaigns, rather than quantity of links, which mostly happen to be irrelevant.
  • Spamming the forums like various Social Media platforms and blog sites is another widely practised strategy, which actually does not facilitate penalization from search engines. However, the issue is considered unethical and as such, SEO experts who solely depend on white hat strategies, refrain from committing such unscrupulous job.

White hat strategies, eventually, provide more benefits in contributing to prominence and popularity of a website. However, results in white hat SEO strategies often take time to provide benefits. Thus, a campaign may continue over months at a stretch before showing any positive result. Clients, at times, seem to be in a hurry to get results from SEO campaigns. Thus, unethical SEO professionals can easily coax these people into investing into unscrupulous practices. Eventually, it is the clients and their websites that are ultimately penalised as a result.