Why Should You Leverage Both White Hat and Black Hat SEO Techniques?

Why Should You Leverage Both White Hat and Black Hat SEO Techniques?

29 Feb 2024
Why Should You Leverage Both White Hat and Black Hat SEO Techniques?

Businesses who want to rank highly on search engines and generate more traffic have probably heard of search engine optimization (SEO), a technique to gain more exposure and get found for relevant search terms in Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and other search engines.  

There are generally three types of SEO - White Hat, Black Hat and Grey Hat. White Hat uses tactics that adhere to search engine guidelines while Black Hat breaks the rules and exploits loopholes to achieve rankings faster. Most SEO companies in Columbus Ohio will stick to White Hat methods to avoid penalties but the best approach is a combination of both techniques.

Here we will outline the difference between White Hat and Black Hat SEO, how they can be used together for the best results, and why the leading Columbus SEO services provider Willan Technologies recommends leveraging both when working to improve search rankings and increase website traffic.

What is White Hat SEO? 

SEO services Columbus Ohio and other locations classify White Hat SEO as techniques that focus on the overall user experience and provide content or services that follow search engine guidelines. For example, when doing on-page optimization White Hat SEO will use relevant keywords appropriately in heading tags and ensure pages load fast, are mobile-friendly, have schema markup, structured data and more to match what search engines are looking for. White Hat will also build quality backlinks, encourage engagement, incorporate multimedia, and understand user intent to match queries and content. This type of SEO ultimately does take longer and has slower initial results but leads to long term, sustainable rankings and growth in organic traffic. 

Some examples of white hat SEO tactics include:

  • - Optimizing website pages with relevant keywords and meta descriptions
  • - Creating engaging, useful content like blog posts and videos 
  • - Getting editorial backlinks from reputable websites
  • - Improving site speed and mobile optimization
  • - Building local pages and profiles for SEO services Columbus Ohio
  • - Encouraging engagement and shares via social media
  • - Using alt text properly on images
  • - Building internal links between relevant pages

White hat SEO takes time and effort, but leads to sustainable long-term results that search engines like Google want to see. There is very little risk of penalties.

The Advantages of a White Hat Approach:

  • 1. Lasting Results - By using tactics that focus on great UX and intent-focused optimization, White Hat sites stand the test of time. Pages hold rankings much longer and organic traffic keeps climbing steadily over time.
  • 2. Fewer Risks - When all optimization focuses on creating a great experience for users as well as search engines there is very little risk of sudden losses in traffic and rankings from penalties due to sketchy tactics.

What is Black Hat SEO?

Black Hat SEO as techniques that are highly manipulative and break the guidelines of search engines. For example, submitting duplicate or thin content to overwhelm engines or keyword stuffing that provides little value to users. Many Black Hat approaches also include link schemes where networks of sites build links between each other, often with automated programs. The goal here is to see quick wins and sudden increases in rankings but not care about building anything of value long term.

Some black hat SEO tactics include:

  • - Keyword stuffing pages with excessive keywords
  • - Scraping or copying content from other websites 
  • - Creating low-quality spun or auto-generated content
  • - Using hidden or sneaky redirects
  • - Buying or building artificial backlinks from low-quality sites
  • - Cloaking or serving up different content to search engines
  • - Using link schemes and private blog networks (PBNs)
  • - Manipulating metadata like title tags and descriptions 

The main benefits of black hat SEO are fast initial results. But this comes at the expense of user experience and long term sustainability.

The Advantages of Black Hat Approaches:

  • 1. Quick Results - Because these highly manipulative tactics take advantage of loopholes, it’s often easy to see fast leaps in rankings in Google and other search engines initially.
  • 2. Minimal Initial Effort - With automated link building, instant access to link networks, scraping duplicate content, and using keyword stuffing Black Hat tactics take less upfront work to start seeing ranking improvements over time.

What are the Effects of Using Black Hat SEO?

While black hat SEO may help a website cheat its way to gain higher search engine rankings faster initially, there are some dangerous effects sites should be aware of, according to Willan Technologies, an SEO company Columbus Ohio trusts:

  • Potential Penalties - Whether manual actions, algorithmic downgrades or even full site removals, the risk of penalties looms large. Recovery can be very difficult. 
  • Tarnished Reputation - Tricking search engines ultimately means tricking users as well with poor content quality, site speed, and more. This leads to mistrust and hurts brand reputation online.
  • Competitors Benefit - As soon as black hat sites get caught and traffic plunges due to penalties, competitors gain an opportunity to grab that newly freed traffic.
  • Wasted Resources - Money, time and effort invested into building manipulative backlinks or content is wasted when wholesale penalties wipe those assets out overnight. 

What is Grey Hat SEO?

Grey hat SEO occupies something of a middle ground between white and black techniques. The tactics fall into a grey area where they bend or loosely interpret search engine guidelines to try to achieve faster results, but do not outright break core rules. This can carry some level of risk depending on how aggressive the approaches are.

Some examples of grey hat SEO include:

  • - Over-optimizing pages with keywords while still adding some unique value
  • - Having an affiliated marketing network driving manipulative traffic or links
  • - Scraping some public data like business info to build local listings and profiles faster
  • - Building private blog networks more carefully to try hide footprint 

Why You Should Use Both White Hat and Black Hat Together

So White Hat has longevity and safety while Black Hat provides faster initial results. This is why savvy brands like Willan Technologies often recommend a balanced strategy that leverages white hat for core optimization and more aggressive black hat tactics to help give things an added boost, especially for competitive keywords. 

However, it can be tricky to get the balance right. Going too manipulative could mean massive losses in traffic if caught. But being too safe means potentially slower growth and missing key opportunities to get ahead of the competition in emerging spaces. This is where the knowledge and nuance provided by an experienced Digital marketing agency Columbus Ohio like Willan Technologies comes into play.

With over years of experience we know just how far we can leverage faster Black Hat approaches before getting into dangerous territory and risking losses. Things like some automated linking, strategically scraped content, and outsourced link networks can provide the burst needed to forge ahead without being overly risky. Combining this burst with the strong foundation of White Hat optimization focused on stunning design, engaging content, relevance matching, top-notch UX and more.

What Are The Risks Of Black Hat Or Grey Hat SEO Tactics? 

It can be tempting to take shortcuts with sneaky SEO tactics when wanting fast rankings. But Willan Technologies advises understanding the very real risks:

  • Site Removal - Tricking search engines can make them lose trust to the point of totally removing sites from their indexes, destroying all rankings instantly.
  • SERP Bans - Explicit advertiser bans from showing up in search results pages have increased. This essentially makes sites invisible.
  • Reversals & Unpredictability - Illicit ranking gains can disappear overnight via algorithm updates. Expect rankings to be very volatile if using grey/black hat approaches. 
  • Manual Actions - Google’s reviewers are getting more advanced at identifying and applying manual spam penalties to sites using grey and black hat approaches
  • Brand Damage - As covered above, misleading users or search engines erodes brand trust and credibility. This has lasting effects well beyond rankings.

In Summary: Balanced SEO From Leading Columbus SEO Services

So when vetting your own site or enterprise project, ask about both White Hat and Black Hat approaches. SEO Knowledgeable teams will be transparent about going slightly more aggressive in some areas and disclose any outsourcing or link building tactics used.

Top agencies know both methodologies well but focus on optimizing for the end-user first. By leading with engaging on-page content, site speed, stunning design, and relevance they build a powerful foundation. Then a boost of automated links, outsourced content creation, and personalized outreach elevate growth and profits to the next level. So leverage both sides of SEO wisely and sustainably with guidance from a trusted, balanced, and proven Columbus SEO Services expert like Willan Technologies.

Contact us at +1 (614) 468-1238 or sales@willantech.com to schedule a free website audit and exploration of our Strategic Search programs today!