30th September 2019

White, Grey, and Black Hat SEO tactics

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Google search

This article was contributed to our blog by an external author

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) refers to making your website or content more visible online. Using an effective SEO tactic, you can put a website on top of search engines like Google or Bing. You can choose the right keywords for your content and use them adequately. It’s even possible to optimise images. However, Google has been working hard to curb “unfair” SEO practices in the last few years.

These practices would put a website on the top of the search without the website having merits for it. Although there’s nothing illegal about such techniques, Google can rank your site lower in the searches because of it. Depending on the situation, your website can be banned. So, before elaborating your strategy, it’s important to get straight what all those hats are about.

The importance of the right SEO tactic

With so many businesses going online, there’s always the risk of becoming white noise in the crowd. Even for those websites on the top, life is tough. Most users won’t spend more than 15 seconds on a page if they can’t find something to grab their attention. The casino industry is one of the players on the market for whom Google ranking might play a crucial role in establishing a success.

Every business is willing to improve its search engine results and invest time and resources in getting an efficient SEO. While companies are offering this kind of service, there are also free platforms. Check options like Übersuggest, Google Keyword Planner, and others. These are extremely handy tools if you’re building your website on your own and want to make the best of free tools before producing the wallet.

How does it work?

It turns out one doesn’t need to pay to appear high on searches. The tricky part is that improving your ranking without paying the search engine involves many factors. Google has 1.88 billion websites online today. Finding anything there requires some serious algorithms; otherwise, the search would last forever.

Yet, Google is incredibly effective in doing so and scoops every website in its library. The platform checks which websites will return your request more easily in this process. So, better-built websites will rank higher on the search. Keywords and quality backlinks also go miles in improving a website’s authority and visibility. If you’re trying to improve your website’s SEO on your own, here are a few things to consider.

  • Website structure
  • Use keywords cleverly (never overuse keywords)
  • Get reviews

The good, the bad and the sneaky

Google started its crusade against black hat SEO tactics about eight years ago. In 2014, Google struck several websites infringing on their new policies. Many websites reported decreases of about 98% invisibility. The move made clear what the tech giant considered inappropriate techniques.

Black Hat SEO

Black hat tactics are those already considered in violation of search engines’ policies. Websites caught red-handed are placed way down on the list, defeating the purpose of such practices. Here are a few examples of black hat SEO.

  • Invisible text
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Automated content
  • Private Blog Networks (PBNs)

Invisible texts are hidden keywords that users can’t see but can be found by the search engine. This tactic allows the website to stuff content with unrelated keywords to attract more clicks. As the name suggests, keyword stuffing overuses certain keywords that are ranking high at the moment.

Search engines know better now and rule these websites out quite quickly. Automatically generated content also falls into the category of black hat practice. PBNs consist of a network of blogs owned by the same person or company, making constant self-references. Posting links on comment sections of other websites also falls into the same category.

White Hat SEO

White-hat SEO techniques do everything by the book. They follow the guidelines to the letter and make ethical use of keywords and backlinks. In short, white hat SEO is by no means manipulative or deceptive, and it’s 100% above the board. Check some white-hat ways of improving online visibility.

  • Easy-to-navigate website
  • Mobile optimisation and scalability
  • Quality content and backlinks
  • Correct use of meta tags and keywords

Going white hat means focusing on user experience and building up authority in the long term. Websites optimised for mobile devices, and scalable to different screen sizes also score extra points. High-quality content includes hot keywords naturally, placing them along with meta tags, and creating valuable, highly ranked content.

Backlinks are references made to your website from another website. When these links come from high-authority websites, they improve your position in the race. Basically, Google and Bing are now rewarding better built and more relevant websites that invest in UX and quality content.

Grey Hat SEO

Grey is a very suggestive colour for those trying to find a way between saints and sinners. The definition of grey hat SEO is unclear because, well, it’s in a grey area. Although it follows some white hat tactics, this kind of tactic is always trying to find loopholes or tactics that aren’t yet forbidden. Websites using this kind of tactic live on the knife’s edge and could be thrown to the bottom of the results in future policy changes.

  • Building blogs and micro-sites
  • Duplicate content
  • Expired domains
  • Doorway pages

Blogs and micro-sites can be extremely useful for building SEO authority. Unlike Private Blog Networks (a black hat practice), this is still a safe practice. It involves posting on high-authority content curation platforms, like Weebly, Medium, or Tumblr. Duplicate content, in this context, means copying chunks of content and pasting it all over the website or even in other domains.

Buying expired domains isn’t prohibited by any guidelines. It can be useful if the expired domain has quality backlinks referring to them. Doorway pages are filled with keywords but with very little content. They used to trick search engines into believing it was a high-quality page. Main takeaways from the casino industry.

Leave your hat on

Every year, Google processes about 2 trillion searches, often business-related ones. Making your brand visible is essential for growing your business, and SEO tactics are instrumental for that. Again, black hat tactics aren’t illegal, but they can backfire miserably and rule you out of future searches.

Grey hat tactics can be tricky, but eventually, they’re worth the risk. Because they aren’t tacitly prohibited, it’s still possible to benefit from them and boost your results for a while. However, things can change in the next policy update, so it’s important to use this tactic with care.

Although it might not be the fastest, investing in white hat practices is still the best way to go. Building links and authority takes time, dedication, and professional support. Website optimisation might also be challenging for those with little experience in the subject.

Luckily, there are plenty of high-quality resources to guide you. Better still, you can find loads of tutorials on making the best of free SEO optimisation tools before tossing a dime. Learn how to use Übersuggest, Google Keyword Planner, and other tools offered by website editors.

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