The Differences Between Black Hat and White Hat SEO

The Differences Between Black Hat and White Hat SEO

As technology and programming become ever-the-more sensationalized in today’s media and entertainment industry, you’ve likely heard terms the “dark web” or a “black hat” hacker. Interestingly enough, the glamorized versions of what these phrases are based off do have some validity. While search engine optimization may not exactly fit into the same category of Anonymous hackers, it too has trendy terms to describe its various types. Perhaps throughout your SEO research you’ve come across the terms Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO. Understanding what they entail and the differences between them could make or break a large-scale purchasing decision for you and your company. Not only are there stark differences between the methodologies and outcomes of each, but there are also ethical concerns that could potentially cost you significant sums of money and credibility on the internet.

With this article, it is our goal to clearly outline the techniques by which developers and designers employ both Black Hat and White Hat SEO, and then to discuss the potential outcomes (both in terms of results and consequences) of each. This will help you unmask the SEO companies parading under the White Hat label, when in reality they are far from it. We would also like to make clear that not once have we at Direct Line Development - search engine development company based in Philadelphia - ever used Black Hat techniques on our own website or any of the sites we have built for clients. Our reputation is incredibly important to us, and we hold our promotion standards to the highest esteem, just as we do with all the other facets of our company.

What Differentiates the Work of Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO

Type of WorkWhite Hat SEOBlack Hat SEO
Work with contentUnique, high-quality content is created specifically for a particular site. Work is also done on photos, reviews, tables, videos, etc.Content is often simply generated and, while the amount of it can be more than usual, the quality is very low. Videos, photos, and other elements of the content schema are usually missing entirely.
Site updatingThe site is constantly and consistently updated, with something new on it appearing at least two to three times a month.If the site is ever updated at all, it will only be at the very beginning of the project.
Work with the code of the siteThe site is made in a fast, responsive manner that is consistent with all the parameters laid out for Google’s search engine algorithms. The process takes a lot of time and commitment, but the results of it will be reaped for several years.This aspect of search engine optimization receives little to no attention because the goal of Black Hatters is to spend as little time as possible on a site that can be blocked by Google at any time.
Work with UX and behavioral characteristicsTests are constantly conducted, traffic influx estimations are assessed and analyzed, conversion statistics are measured and compensated for, and the site is treated as a never-ending project within which behavioral characteristics are consistently improved and modified.

At most, the UX functionalities will be brought the bare minimum level of acceptability, and nothing beyond that.

Work with social networksPages for the site/ company are created on all social networking sites and are then updated to reflect any changes made on the website itself.Nothing is done on social networking sites.
Links to the siteLocal directories are manually selected and relevant information is subsequently uploaded.Buy as many links as the budget allows in as short amount of time possible.
ConclusionsThe site is created for visitors in order to provide useful information and to appear appealing and interesting. It will indeed be slower to rise in Google’s search results, but when it does inevitably rise, it will strongly hold that position for years.As a rule for Black Hat SEO, the work is conducted in a manner that calls for the minimum amount of effort to be exerted for the maximum amount of rewards. Most of the money is spent on purchasing links that direct to the site. If such a site does attract traffic, very few of these visitors are converted into customers. Within the first month of its launch, the site could occupy top submissions in results, but the rank is not organic and will likely be blocked entirely within half a year.

What Are The Signs That Your Site Has Been Optimized Through Black Hat SEO?

Internet marketing is a competitive game, and so it unfortunately drives many companies to Material by SEOHow Search Engine Optimization Companies Lie To UsHow Search Engine Optimization Companies Lie To UsHow To Do SEO For Your Own Website Part 1: The Semantic CoreHow To Do SEO For Your Own Website Part 1: The Semantic Core deceive their clients in order to earn their business. Plainly put: SEO companies lie. They will flatter you into a meeting, promising you the world of internet prominence through the most ethical and elite techniques, then go and do something completely different. Here are few things you should be on the lookout for:

  • As you sign on with your internet marketing company, they do not significantly change the previously existing content on your site.
  • They show results of greater traffic influx, but the sources of it come from obscure places and do not produce any customer conversions.
  • The behavioral and functional characteristics of your site seem to be deteriorating while the traffic to it is growing.
  • When viewing the graphs of your traffic flow, you notice significant spikes rather than a gradual increase. Oftentimes, that spike is followed by an equally significant drop.

If you are still unsure as to whether or not your site is being optimized through Black Hat or White Hat means, send us a link to it and we will give it a free audit. Just drop it in the comments section of this article.

Examples of Some Black Hat SEO Techniques That Are Common Nowadays

It is worth reiterating that we monitor the ongoings of the Black Hat SEO world simply because it is important to understand the developments of every facet of an industry, not because we ourselves use the techniques. Our reputation to our customers (and to Google) are more important than cutting corners to reach the best rank.

TechniqueWhat it is done forPossible consequences
The site has pages for each city and their corresponding zip codes, resulting in several dozen duplicate pages.Google ranks local companies better with this method, so you can show that your company is in every city from Denver to Philadelphia.Banned from Google for a few years.
Dozens of sites are created with randomly generated content that all link back to your site.This raises the Domain Name Authority in Google’s eyes.Banned from Google for a few years.
Buying lots of links from garbage sites that refer back to your site.This raises the Domain Name Authority in Google’s eyes.High-rank placement in Google’s search results for a decent amount of time.
Bots created to simulate the behavior of real users by going to the site from the search menu and staying active on the site for a long period of time.Scrolling behavioral characteristics show Google that visitors like the site.Banned from Google for a few years.
Using an excessive number of keywords that you wish to promote for specific pages and the site as a whole.Shows Google that you are an expert on those given words.High-rank placement in Google’s search results for a decent amount of time.
Writing invisibly texts that, for example, blend in with the background of the site.You are able to show Google that your site is the dominant force for a particular keyword without having to spam visitors.High-rank placement in Google’s search results for a decent amount of time.
Creating duplicate versions of your site only for Google’s search robots.This is done only to deceive Google, because with these sites you do not need to worry about the content of the site.Banned from Google for a few years.

What Google Does to Prevent Black Hat SEO

Google’s goal, like any other search engine, is to provide users with the highest quality and most relevant information that they seek. As such, it does everything in its power to prevent illegitimate sites from rising to the top. Every few years, they will launch and incorporate a new search algorithm that further complicates the work of Black Hat optimizers. You can read about some of this information here at Google Penguin, Google Panda or Google Hummingbird, but we also understand that Google has defense mechanisms in place that it does not publicly disclose. And this discretion isn’t a bad thing either. We at Direct Line LOATH Black Hat SEO. It seeks to corrupt the validity of search engines as well as the internet as a whole.

It is a lot easier to deceive a robot than it is a human. This is why we are thankful that Google also works with a team of Quality Raters - real people who visit sites and expose them for what they really are based on an assessment of a variety of categories (many of which we have discussed in the search engine optimization section of this blog). Even if you don’t get caught right away, eventually you will get what you deserve.

What is Grey SEO?

Not uncommon is to have developers who generally optimize using White Hat techniques occasionally employ a few Black Hat tricks. Usually this means using just a few of the minor ones while steering clear of things like creating an army of bots to visit your site. Although it is indeed like walking on the edge of the cliff where, if you aren’t careful, it could lead to consequences, there are substantial payouts if you pull it off. Alas, it becomes a matter of self-control. Getting quick results from Black SEO leads to using more of the techniques and, soon enough, that Grey quickly turns Black and you are banned from Google entirely.

The Main Risks of Black Hat SEO

Plain and simple: you will be banned. It is not a matter of “if,” it is a matter of how long you will last before you are caught. But in the end, you will be banned, and it will permanently be branded to your site and company. Once the ban is lifted, Google will remember that you were one of the people who broke the rules. However, getting a ban lifted is incredibly difficult and you are usually better off creating an entirely new website, investing all the time and money all over again.

Website SEO analytics during Google Panda updatingWebsite SEO analytics during Google Penguin updatingWebsite SEO analytics during Google Hummingbird updating

The Takeaways

Black Hat SEO is a path of no return. Yes you will achieve quick results and in the short term you might even find yourself making a few quick bucks. In the long run, however, you necessarily lose.

As a business owner, it is important to be aware of these risks and to ensure that you are not accidentally taking them because of the techniques your search engine optimization company utilizes. If you see a trend in such a company that you believe leans towards a Black Hat strategy, you should break the contract immediately if you are serious about your company’s online future and the finances it invests.

If, however, you are interested in exploring the opportunities and rewards afforded by White Hat SEO, we will gladly discuss the project with you at length. And, as always, if you have any questions, be sure to leave them in the comments section below. We will most certainly get back to you in a timely manner.

Alex Kudimov
Alex Kudimov


In this Fast Paced Society where everybody wants quick results, some companies are willing to take unnecessary risks to get ahead.
Black SEO is completely wrong and it's only a matter of time until Google catches you. My father used to say: ..."Rome was not build in one day"... SEO is Organic and that means getting higher in the rankings will take some time.
In our world, we see it all the time, other Marketing firms promise the world to their clients and clients expect results right away...
The truth is that Long term results come to those who are willing to wait and do it the right way!!!
At Direct Line Development we only employ methods that Google wants to see and we are proud of our transparency.

SEOs need to do a constant adjusting of the strategy for long term results. If you are looking to consistently move up, or stay up top of the rankings, it is about doing it the right way. There are no shortcuts for success. Take time to research, structure properly, and develop content to organically increase your positioning.

I talk with people all the time that are unsure why the company they are paying to do their SEO started them off with solid results, and have only gone downhill. This article is a harrowing story of why that is and, frankly, why a few companies give the rest of web marketers a bad name. I mean would I do something that would get me kicked out of someone's office? Of course not, so why take any chances with Google?

SEO is a sensitive subject because a lot of regular people have no idea what it is and how it works, so it's really easy for SEO companies to push and sell Black Hat SEO and just get paid for not doing a good job. SEO is becoming more and more popular, so it is very important to have articles such as this one which educates people and helps them to choose a right company for their business needs and not just waste their money.

Great clarity on SEO strategy. There are many back-link seo strategies that will hurt you in the long run.

We live in a very corrupt world, everyone always tries to get ahead easy and with no effort. Only hardworking companies can achieve great SEO results by doing strategic and ethically moral decisions. Great read and thank you for the heads up, I'll be looking out for shady SEO tactics.

Great SEO is all about doing things the right way and playing the long game over getting short term results that won't last. Solid article.

liam jason

Great clarity on SEO strategy on which kind of SEO tactics are there and how you can get involved by using them to rank your website. great Blog

Call us now

Stephen Greenspan
Stephen Greenspan
(215) 901-2356