White Hat vs Black Hat SEO Explained

Few people know just how much black hat SEO has changed over the last ten years. Google has gone from penalizing websites with black hat SEO to downright ignoring them.

Traditional black hat SEO has disappeared because it doesn’t work anymore, but that doesn’t mean black hat SEO has gone forever. Here is a little information on white hat vs black hat SEO that includes all you need to know about modern black hat SEO.

White Hat vs Black Hat SEO

If you work towards making your website more useful and user-friendly, then you are engaged in white hat SEO. Fox News correctly named it, “Search Experience Optimization.” In addition, if you are following Google’s rules for on-page SEO, then you are also engaged in white hat SEO.

What is Black Hat SEO?

Traditional black hat SEO was the hiding of keywords in pages, hiding content with indexing code, buying backlinks from link farms, and so forth. These days, the only forms of black hat SEO that still work are backlinks from comment sections (spammed comments that are placed by spambots), and fake followers, likers, and sharers on social media.

Fake Backlinks From Comment Sections

Automated commenting is probably the most prolific type of black hat SEO available today because Google is very slow to pick up on it. Plus, some of the comments that automated bots are creating are so convincing that people are approving them manually.

A classic is, “Thanks for covering this in detail, I have had a hard time finding good information on it. Do you mind if I share links to it on my website www.XXX.com?” The unsuspecting webmaster thinks it is genuine, and will post the comment and its backlink, and will even reply.

You Should Always Test and Check Your Comments

Most comment sections allow commenters to enter their website into the comment form. So, if somebody enters a website link into the comment section (it shows as a link over their profile name), or enters a link into the comment itself, then you need to test and check the comment.

You do this by taking a part of the sentence, or a full sentence, and pasting it onto the Google search engine. Put quotes around the sentence so that Google searches for it verbatim. If it is from a spam bot, the comment will appear verbatim (or almost verbatim) on other websites.

Fake Social Followers, Likers and Sharers

Google still takes note of backlinks, even if it doesn’t regard them with the same esteem that it used to and Google still takes note of indicators from social media networks. If indicators like shared and likes are genuine, then they count as white hat SEO.

Google uses indications as a measure of how popular a certain website is. Again, Google doesn’t prioritize websites that seem popular on social media, but it does seem to cast a brighter light on them than it does with websites that have no social media indicators/signals.

Black hatters will buy social media followers, likes, or shares. They buy them from accounts that have no real owners. They are accounts that are managed by computer programs. The fact that they share, follow, and like certain posts and profiles makes said profiles look more popular than they are.

Google takes note of these if they have links to a website, and sponsors take note because they think said profiles are more popular than they actually are.

Google Cannot Rid the Internet of All black hat SEO

The white hat vs black hat SEO debate will probably rage on forever because Google cannot get rid of all forms of black hat SEO. Note that the two most common methods listed in this article are methods that take a long time to identify, so spammers try to operate with moderation.

For example, instead of posting the same comment on 2000 websites, they post the same one on 50 websites, so it takes longer for their spam to be discovered by the search engines. Seems like black hatters will always find a way to break the rules.

If you want to learn more about promoting your website, check out our SEO services.