They say that in the world of SEO there is also a philosophical duality that separates good from evil. A reality that divides into two realities the work methodology to follow along the way until achieving a natural web positioning .
On the one hand there would be “the Google Doctrine”, in which the principles contained in their ” guidelines ” (the so-called quality guidelines ), which are known as White Hat Techniques , are followed in their tracks.
While on the other side would be the Black Hat method, which uses some “shortcuts” to accelerate the process to achieve visibility in search engines. We can even put a third level in this reality, an intermediate point that is neither black nor white (like everything in life). The so-called Gray Hat .
Let’s see what each one consists of …
What is SEO Black Hat?
The term Black Hat , has its origin in the mythical films of the West, where the villains wore black hats , while the heroes wore white hats. In SEO, these “villains” would be those that cheat the search engines in some way , to get the best positions in the rankings ( Pagerank” in record time. using some tricks that i will tell you this article.>
It is about reducing the costly work to the maximum and the time it usually takes to obtain a great popularity in search engines. More than thinking about the user, it is about persuading search engines to place your website above that of your competition.
Of course, with the risk that at the most unexpected moment (and by Murphy’s law, in the most inopportune) you can be penalized by Google . Penalties throughout Google’s history, there have been and will always be. Especially in the last decade, as Internet competition increased and these practices became widespread. Sometimes it is a sudden drop in positioning, where the algorithms themselves detect the “trick” and stop showing your page in the results. Other times they are manual penalties, and you find a surprise in your Google Search Console account , where they notify you of this fact.
SEO Black Hat Techniques
These are some of the typical Black Hat SEO strategies , which are used or historically used to manipulate the rankings .
This technique consisted in the excessive use of the keyword (keyword) to position. It is about repeating unnecessarily a certain keyword in the texts of your website, to position it. It does not matter that when the user reads the content, it seems to be reading something written by a robot. The idea is to increase the prominence of the main term so that your result is offered as the most relevant.
Oddly enough, the hidden text technique was very successful at the beginning of this century (when few people had heard of Google). It consists of hiding the user text or links within the source code of your website , giving it for example the same color as the background of your web page. With this technique, you could repeat the keywords to be positioned artificially, without the user perceiving it.
Advice! What you do not want for your target user, do not make it to Google. It will punish you.
It consists in directing the search engines to a different page from the one we show to the users . This practice was also widespread years ago, when other techniques such as keyword stuffing still worked and it did not make much sense to show users the same thing that they wanted the search engines to track (a page only meant for SEO). I leave a video of Matt Cutts where you can see better what it is .
I do not know if you’ve ever put this technique into practice, but I bet you’ve seen it several times on a blog. It is about placing right and left links to the page you want to position and using (whenever possible) the keyword to position in the link text. Surely you have found among the comments of a blog or the thread of a forum, the typical comment where they manage to include a link with a text and “web design in Asturias”, without coming to mind.
This technique made many sites fall with the update of Google Penguin 2.0 , in May 2013. Not because of the comment itself, but because of the anchor text (and the abuse of it on different websites) of the link, designed to achieve relevance for that term and manipulate the rankings. The best thing of all, is that they tend to be very curated comments, like the classic “Great contribution” or the mythical “Congratulations for your post” 😀
The purchase of inbound links from sites that already have a certain authority that can transfer to your domain, is the “black hat” technique most widespread today. It is the simplest way (within reach of anyone) to take a shortcut to avoid the laborious task of doing link building . Not everyone is willing to stick to the currada to analyze the backlinks of the competition and perform a constant work of creating them.
A lot of eye with everything that has to do with links . Google is always behind all the techniques that serve to manipulate the ranking and especially the artificial link schemes and can send you a kick out of the Top 100. It tells you one that has encountered very complex cases of manual penalties from Google . Moving from appearing in first position for the main product of the brand, to not appear even in the top 100 results. It is not a dish for anyone.
These days I’ve been on Twitter with an interesting debate about buying links in digital newspapers. These portals, have a great domain authority acquired over the years and can derive a lot of traffic and relevance in search engines . But as soon as Google detects an artificial link pattern , it penalizes you and you get a good scare.
Whenever there is automation, you run the risk of following an unnatural pattern and being caught. Great care.
What is White Hat SEO
Now that you know the dark side of SEO, you will imagine that White Hat SEO is one in which the techniques used meet the quality guidelines of the major search engines. For me this strategy is the most optimal, because in the end it is based on getting authority working quality . That has to do with something that is often forgotten in SEO: The ultimate goal is to sell .
If your product is bullshit no one will want, for very good position that you achieve in Google (also every day is more difficult to deceive search engines that analyze the user experience ). On the other hand, if your product is good, do not be afraid to make it known and make the effort that is necessary. Because in the long run it will be easier to keep you. I always say that the Law of Gravity acts on Google: “What goes up quickly can go down even faster.” The White Hat allows you to live with the peace of mind that you will not fall with the entire team from one day to the next. You do not fear a possible penalty.
The results of White Hat SEO are usually obtained in the long term . It is based on the quality of the product, service or content offered and the natural mentions obtained from other web pages. Which is a process that always requires time and effort.
Two basic tips:
- Content is the key to SEO
- The user must be your main concern
White Hat SEO techniques
To put it into practice, you have to optimize each of the pages that make up your website . What does this mean? That all your pages must offer a unique content, that provides added value for a concrete concept about the rest, that is perfectly understandable by the tracking robots and offers a good experience for the user. The typical problems to solve are:
- Broken links
- Slow charge speed
- Traceability or coverage of the index
- Duplicate content
- SEO cannibalization
- Omission or duplication in the metatags of pages (those that appear in the results of Google describing the content)
- Absence of main heading or duplicity of this
It is essential that you first identify the key words that interest you and use them with common sense in the pages you want to offer for each of them.
Generation of quality content
This should be the pillar of your SEO White Hat SEO strategy, as well as of your digital marketing strategy. Periodically publish quality content and attractive for users. Through them, you can get good natural links (instead of buying them) to your website to improve your positioning.
As I said, you have to be patient. The fruits take time to arrive and the content needs time to gain presence in the search engines. The quality of your content will not only improve the positioning, but will increase the value of your brand, bringing you closer to your target audience.
As I say, it is essential that you connect quality links to your website . These links allow users to reach your page from other websites and help search engines to track the pages. The “link building” is one of the daily workhorses in the world of SEO, and the concept of “inbound links” changes the paradigm of building links (making them yourself) by attracting them (getting others to link you through the quality of your content). So this point and the previous one are intimately related.
Optimization of the user experience
If the user experience that comes to your website is good, it will stay browsing your site and will click on your result the next time you see it. In this way send positive signals to search engines, that your content is more relevant than the competition.
Little by little (you know, patience) you will gain more and more authority, positioning more and more contents until you reach the visibility that you are. Remember the user is the key.
That is why it is important that you take care of the design of your site. Sometimes, they are small touches : colors, organization of the menus, typographies, sizes, texts … etc. The most important thing is that your website transmits what fits best with your target audience.
What is Gray Hat SEO
Halfway between the two previous strategies is Gray Hat SEO . We could say that they are methods that do not technically break Google’s guidelines, but neither follow them 100%. We would say that it moves in “legal vacuums”. It is difficult for Google to penalize you using these techniques because, unlike Black Hat SEO, processes are not automated. In this way, Google has very difficult to identify SEO manipulation patterns.
Keep in mind that on the internet there are many websites wanting to appear for the same searches as you. So sometimes it will not be enough for you to be exemplary and you will have to value skipping the rules, to adopt a little less ethical values.
SEO Gray Hat Techniques
These are some of the techniques that move between good and evil to shorten the path, and that I believe can work better.
Purchase links with natural patterns
As I was saying, unlike Black Hat SEO these purchased links will be generated manually (instead of automated) to change the artificial patterns for a more natural dynamic. Links where the anchor text is natural (instead of using the exact keyword you use a variation of this) and the destination page is a powerful content of your website; links that come from different domains and IPs (Google penalizes for years the sale of links very extended between the networks of blogs that were staying in the same IP) and that are created progressively in the time as new contents are published on the web to position, they follow a natural scheme for the search engines.
The “spineo” content is basically give a vueltilla to content already used to make them look original 😀. The idea is to change parts of the text, phrases or words to say the same but without literally being a copied content . Although there are programs that carry out this type of work in an automated way, what works well is the “refrito”, that is, to use contents from various well-positioned sources and adapt them with your own words to publish on your website.
Rewriting those contents will be unique to Google. What they also call “content cure” in a semi-automated mode, counting on a manual work phase to a greater or lesser extent. If you take good reference content and improve it using tools like SEOlyze , you will be able to easily climb positions.
Since you know the different types of positioning techniques that you can follow with your website . Now you are the one who decides if you prefer to be among the “villains”, “between heroes” or wearing a gray hat: D.
What I do recommend is that you never try to avoid work, but that you experiment, that you use different techniques and that you base everything on continuous improvement. If you have something interesting to offer (product, service, content …) and use as many promotion channels as possible (social networks, email marketing and advertising … etc.) you will be able to grow your brand.
Do not you think?
This content has been updated to July 20, 2018 to include some corrections and the interesting debate about the purchase of links in newspapers. Although surely missing many techniques Black, White, Gray or even Pink Hat that I do not know. So if you know any more, I encourage you to comment on this article and contribute things to other readers. I promise to publish the link if it is not very “spammer”: P, and / or get a new update of the article.