December 6


Black Hat, White Hat, or Grey Hat SEO? 3 Things To Consider

By Brian Petersen

December 6, 2020

Black Hat, Grey Hat, SEO, White Hat

person holding black hat
Is Black Hat SEO the right approach for you?

SEO is fascinating and highly addictive – nothing is better than when you see that your strategy works, and your website start to climb in the Search Engines.

Once you start to rank traffic, leads and sales would follow – What’s not to like? 

But what about the long haul? What is it you want to achieve with your SEO strategy?

Black Hat SEO – The Quick And Dirty Approach

Black Hat SEO is a game where you are trying to manipulate the organic results in Google.

It is against Google’s terms of service, and the worst case is that you risk a penalty. The worst case is that Google removes your website from the index.

Google has made an SEO started guide to keep you on the right side of the line.

The strategies often used would be reused (spun) content, manipulated links (often build by automation tools).

The reason why some webmasters to stick to pure blackhat is that it can be fast – and if you can make a quick profit as an affiliate.

The calculator is quite simple: if you can drive enough traffic and make money before your domain faces a Google penalty, it is worth it. 

Especially if you have a system where you can switch domain and “rinse and repeat.” That is the “Quick and dirty SEO approach.”

White Hat SEO – The Authority Long Haul Approach

A White hat SEO strategy means that you play by the book. Your goal is to stay in the game and build authority around your domain and your brand.

You know that it is about creating quality content for your users and optimized for Google. 

Naturally, you need links, but the focus is to get the right kind of links relevant to your niche.

An outreach strategy can be where you contact webmasters that have established authority sites relevant to your niche.

You can optimize this time-consuming process by using a tool. Please read my Link Assistant review here. 

Whitehat is not entirely about quality content and external links. You also need to build trust around your website to please Google´s E.A.T. algorithm.

If you work with niches like personal finance or healthcare, you must have some credibility. 

If people are looking for answers related to health or finances, Google certainly doesn’t want to present irrelevant or wrong content.

A robust approach is to make it crystal clear who you or your business are. That requires clear contact information, privacy policy, and other legal stuff.

Ensure that you interlink your different social profiles, so it is straightforward for both the users and Google who you are.

Reviews or articles published on authority sites can also work as an advocate for your credibility.

Web spammers usually don’t walk that extra mile, trying to build profiles around a website. It takes too long to establish a social presence for a site that might vanish within a few months.

It takes a long time to establish an authority website – but once you have reached that goal, you would see that it is easier to rank for even more competitive keywords.

Users recognize well-researched content users. It is not unusual to obtain backlinks for quality content without even asking.

Greyhat SEO – The mix between Black Hat and White Hat

Greyhat SEO is a mix of Blackhat and Whitehat SEO. The approach is that you aim to build an authority website with high-quality content.

Sadly SEO is not a “Built It And They Would Come” scenario. Often you would realize that it requires a bit more than that.

The most common scenario is that you craft some fantastic content, but you cannot even make it to Google’s first page.

In those cases, it is often because your competitors have a higher domain authority and a stronger link profile than yours.

If you want a chance, you need to improve the amount (and the quality) of the external links pointing to your article.

It is not unusual that some website owners try to speed up the process by buying links from other authority websites.

It is worth to mention that buying links is considered a violation of Google terms. Brands like BMW and Interflora, among others, have already tried that and felt the “Love of Google” using Black Hat methods. 

Paid links are just like speeding: – your car can drive faster than the speed limit, and you might get away with it until the police pull you over.

Conclusion and final thoughts

close-up photo of Thought Catalog book
White hat, black hat, or grey hat SEO?

The Black Hat strategy is usually not the best approach for most site owners. It requires that you have a lot of knowledge and can change your process fast.

Fighting webspam has been a high priority for Google for several years, and it is the mouse playing with the cat game.

If you are running a business or has a brand, this kind of strategy is an absolute “No go .” Imagine that you would have to start all over with a completely new business or brand name online.

If you work with a business or a brand, my recommendation would be to stick with the White Hat strategy.

If you decide to use a little Grey Hat, make sure you know what you are doing. Avoid the obvious mistake of buying link packages on a forum and stuff like that.

It is better “To play it safe” and proceed with an outreach strategy and do guest blogging on authority sites. 

It is tempting to chase rankings in Google but think about SEO as working with a kitchen garden. 

Your vegetables need some sun, water, and TLC to grow – so does your website! 😉 

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