White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO

February 23, 2012 - by Andy · Filed Under SEO Leave a Comment 
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    Understanding the Differences Between White Hat and Black Hat SEO

    By now you all know that I am the ultimate pragmatist. I look for what works and I do that. I don’t buy in to any of the white hat vs black hat SEO stuff. All I see are methods of getting links / ranking websites and the risks of such methods.

    My philosophy is to do what works unless the risks are too high.

    Black Hat and Grey Hat SEO

    I can tell you now for a fact that the most competitive industries in the world are dominated by people who use very aggressive link building tactics. In fact, in industries like Gambling, Casino, Online Pharmacy etc, there are very few natural white hat ways to get links. These industries are dominated by people who:

    • Use automated software to do article distribution.
    • Use automated software to create forum profiles, create blog comments, do social media posting.
    • Create layers of backlinks, pyramids and link wheels.
    • Purchase paid links and blog posts.
    • Use blog networks or article distribution networks to send out spun content to thousands of sites.
    • Purchase expired domains in order to make a private blog network.
    • Use parasite hosts.
    • Do bogus press release distribution.
    • Sponsoring WordPress themes to get footer links.
    • And much more

    I for one have used all of these methods at some time or another and they all work with varying degrees of effectiveness. However, if you use these methods in combination with “white hat” link building methods you will become virtually unstoppable.

    I am not going to advise you on whether you should use these “grey hat” methods or not. Many of the most well known SEO’s in the world actively preach against these types of methods. However, I study the search results on a daily basis in the most competitive industries. I know what is working now and what is not working now.  A combination of grey hat tactics and white hat tactics together seems to be working the best for now.

    The way I see it is that people who employ purely black hat techniques are leaving tons of valuable link building opportunities on the table. Whereas people who are employing purely white hat techniques are doing the same. There is a sweet middle spot that minimizes risk and maximises possible reward.

    White Hat SEO

    Some of the popular “white hat” strategies I use are as follows:

    • Creating pillar content that is remarkable, thus generating links and shares.
    • Guest posting – Most people say this is grey hat if it is posting for the sole purpose of gaining a backlink.
    • Widget bait / infographics.
    • Link directory submission + Niche directory submission.
    • Outreach to non profit websites asking for links.
    • Manually commenting on high authority blogs / Dofollow blogs.
    • Taking part in real discussion on relevant forums.
    • Social media marketing. Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Stumbleupon etc.
    • High quality article distribution to Web 2.0s and article directories. Example: Ezinearticles.com and Hubpages.com
    • Creating user profiles on high authority domains. Example: Youtube, Slideshare.

    For the most part links obtained via white hat methods tend to be of a higher quality. Links from grey hat methods tend to be of a lower quality (Unless purchased links from high authority pages) but this is made up for by generating links in huge volume.

    With all of that being said, I recommend people start out using white hat tactics only. This is for two reasons.

    1)    It is more risky throwing tons of low quality links at a new page. This can lead to inexperienced link builders getting their site sandboxed for several months.

    2)    You may be able to get enough links through less risky methods.

    Once you have exhausted white hat methods you should then evaluate the risks of grey hat link building and proceed if you think the rewards justify the risks.

    Follow Me on Twitter @AffiliateFYI for Even More Affiliate, Business and SEO Updates!

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