White Hat SEO
White Hat SEO is the term used to describe all search engine optimization measures that are based on the rules of the search engines. The opposite of White Hat SEO is Black Hat SEO. In online and search engine marketing, it is important to avoid methods that violate the rules. Because a serious and fair optimization leads in the long run to good and safe positions on the Google result lists.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the basis for success on the Internet. In search engine optimization there are many tricks to manipulate Google’s search results. This is exactly what Black Hat SEO relies on. The distinction between Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO was inspired by the classic Western model: two cowboys face off in a duel. The villain wears a black hat, the hero a white hat.
White Hat SEO methods are legally unobjectionable, ethically correct (i.e. fair) and effective in the long term.
They are characterized by the following features, among others:
- Pages optimized with white hat SEO are more cost-effective in the long run. Costly measures to improve link popularity, such as removing harmful backlinks, are not necessary.
- Serious search engine optimization is based on the principles of fair competition.
- Webmasters are protected from punishment by a worse ranking or removal from the Google index.
- Rankings achieved through legal measures are stable.
Reputable search engine optimization methods emphasize natural, organic link building. They achieve this link popularity through high-quality and unique content, the careful use of keywords and the renunciation of keyword stuffing.
Methods of the unsophisticated kind: Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO relies on various technical methods that misrepresent both the content and the true popularity of websites to Google Robots. Some examples of these methods:
- Automated submission of posts for improving link popularity.
- Cross-linking through networks created specifically for such purposes
- Article spinning: foreign texts are copied and modified (often with the help of software) to create new content
- Negative SEO measures to harm the competition (for example, through backlink spamming)
- Invisible texts, which are only seen by search engines, but not by the user (cloaking).
Black Hat SEO can sometimes achieve short-term success in online marketing. In the long term, however, these methods lead to being penalized by the search engines. Overall, the damage caused by this type of search engine optimization is therefore far greater than the benefit.
Optimize link popularity seriously
The principle is simple: the more external pages link to your own page, the higher Google rates the importance of the linked page for the keyword in question. Black-hat SEO methods typically use purchased links for this purpose as part of off-page optimization. In the meantime, however, the major search engines have developed methods with which such practices can be well detected. Not only the quantity of backlinks is evaluated, but also their quality. This means that a link from a page rated as high quality counts more.
Link popularity due to natural link building also requires some patience, of course. But if a website offers high-quality, relevant content, is user-friendly and original, the backlinks will come by themselves due to the popularity of a page.
Artificial methods for link building are increasingly being replaced by marketing strategies that rely on social media. Social media marketing, in fact, supports natural link building by attracting more attention when websites are positively reviewed in forums.
Legacy removal: Removing harmful links
Often, old link building measures – for example by SEO companies – still have a damaging effect in the present. This is especially true when a domain has been taken over.
Tip: Web analysis based on Google Search Console is well suited for identifying harmful linking. With the Disavow Tool, Google enables all webmasters to get help quickly. Here, webmasters can request that certain links from pages over which they themselves have no influence not be taken into account when evaluating their own page. But Google itself also points out that it is more important to have such links removed. On the other hand, the Pagerank, which is measured on the basis of the linking, is only one of over 200 signals that Google uses for the quality assessment of a website.
The lazy compromise: Gray Hat SEO
In both search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM), many methods lie on the borderline between permissible optimization and manipulation of search results. Gray Hat SEO is such a hybrid. Basically, only ethically correct methods are used to bring the page to the top. However, in borderline areas – primarily in offpage optimization – some marketing agencies also use technical tricks to ultimately manipulate Google. In addition, Google’s guidelines are often not entirely clear. Gray hat SEO methods exploit these possibilities for interpretation. However, Google points out that practices that are not explicitly listed can also be rejected and lead to a downgrade.
The safe side of search engine optimization
In the guidelines for webmasters, Google actually enumerates everything needed for white hat SEO and which methods are harmful:
- Websites are created for users, not for search engines. Good positions on Google are an effect of popularity of websites among users.
- Users must not be deceived about the content and purpose of web pages.
- Tricks that are used only for search engine optimization should be avoided.
- Successful search engine optimization starts with the content: Internet offers that stand out from the competition in their field through quality and originality are permanently successful.
Natural link building is important in this context. Google evaluates it positively if the number of backlinks grows gradually. However, dubious SEO agencies can usually be recognized by the fact that they promise great success within a very short time. Patience is therefore important in search engine optimization. And the biggest part of a well-positioned page is the onpage optimization – the work on the page itself.
Black Hat SEO is rightly called the dark side of search engine optimization. White Hat SEO, on the other hand, is the art of following the rules in search engine optimization and thus achieving success. It’s like in classic Western movies: in the end, the cowboy in the white hat always triumphs. Therefore, White Hat SEO is a matter of course for effective search engine optimization.
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