Before you go bonkers, do give it some thought; the white and black hats that we are talking about here are not the literal fashion accessories in two different colors that can keep our heads warm and also attract traffic to your website or blog that you might expect (although that would be pretty cool). So, what are we talking about then? Well, to be precise, these are SEO techniques that can come in handy when you are trying to improve the rankings of your page in search engines, whether it’s a webpage that promotes your products and services, or a blog post that you may have come up with and want to share with the world.
The Point of Distinction
White hat, for that matter, goes down well with the search engines, but why? Apparently, the industry dwellers believe that those embracing this technique do not engage in any type of unethical activities, and let their work do the talking. Black hat, on the other hand, has always been considered the “black sheep” of the family; the family of SEO techniques.
Unfortunately, this poor fellow often draws flak for not adhering to the guidelines laid down by popular search engines including the likes of Google. However, if that’s the case, why do marketers, or rather online marketers continue to use it? That’s because hats of both colors (pun totally intended) have their own pros and cons.
White Hat aka ‘Ethical’ Marketing
First things first; if you are not one of those who intend to attract traffic by hook or crook, then this is the right option for you, or so it seems. However, one thing is for sure; when you do anything that is not “Right” in the eyes of the search engines, you can save your website from getting banned. It’s undeniable that your website or blog for that matter may not always face a permanent ban, but then it’s for you to decide if you are willing to take a chance or not. So, what exactly does this hat require you to do?
Don’t even think about it. And yes, if you think that by using some spinning software, you are going to churn out different copies of the same content, just forget it! Search engines are way too smart, in fact they are smarter than you expect them to be.
No Tricky Business
So, you thought you’ll just put together a team of content writers, which can come up with content that’s meant for attracting traffic or increasing your rank, and the search engines won’t take a note of it? Well, you are highly mistaken; unless your content has been specifically created for users, the search engines are going to penalize you in some way or the other, if not now, then later.
No Fooling Around
Ever heard of ‘what you see is what you get’? Simply replace both the “YOUs” with search engines and users respectively, and you’ll get what you must stick to. If the content on your website discriminates between the two, you are on your way to becoming a thing of the past; there should be ABSOLUTELY no difference in what the former index and the latter get to see.
It’s Raining Profits, Isn’t It?
Those from the industry believe that if you bail on the black counterpart and rather keep focusing on the white one, you will continue to grow and eventually gain the trust of the users; here’s how:
It is often said that if you can’t tame the demon, at least respect its wishes; well, search engines may not be exactly ‘demon-like’, but they do have their wishes aka guidelines. You have to ensure that you devise your methodologies in accordance with these guidelines; see, it’s a give and take relationship; you give respect (read: follow the guidelines) and you get to improve your rankings, and of course, do not get banned.
No stopping you
While the guidelines laid down by search engines might irk you, the good news is there is no ‘bible’ to follow; you won’t find any hard and fast rules anywhere, framed and hung on some wall. If you just mind your own business, be loyal to your users, you will eventually succeed in reaping profits through the means of your website, at least this is what you should believe for you, till you get to know more about the black one.
It’s not exactly foolproof
You got to admit that the competition is tough; millions (at least, a couple of hundred if you are targeting a niche audience) are trying to walk in your shoes. And, you may not always have something unique to brag about; okay, you don’t want to do something that is in complete violation of the so-called guidelines, but then how do you get an edge over the others? Here’s how White Hat may pull you back:
No instant results
Of course, your activities will eventually lead to results that will last for a long time, but, and there’s a huge BUT here, you’d have to wait. It will take time before your rankings begun to show an upward trend and you reap the benefits.
No clear headway
If there is no rulebook in the picture, what exactly do you need to follow? Moreover, how can you be so sure that whatever you are doing is in tandem with the guidelines and your website will not eventually face the music? You wish that there was something more concrete that you could hold on to, but then it’s not there, or is it?
Black Hat And It’s Side of the Story
If by any chance, you know what “hidden content” is all about, then you really aren’t unfamiliar with Black Hat and its implementation. Interestingly, this SEO technique is not for the weak-hearted or those who are not ready to accept that their website(s) can be penalized anytime. Nevertheless, there’s much more to this technique than merely putting up a brave front against the guidelines set by the search engines; typically, this is what in involves:
No playing fair
It’s more than obvious that you are going to use some HTML tags; now, it’s up to you, how you want to use these tags. Well, if you want, you can always treat them as repositories and hide keywords. As a matter of fact, you can even make use of cascading style sheets, commonly known as CSS; the bottom line is that whatever you, your so-called attempt to play smart may not be always visible to the naked eye (read: user). You won’t be playing fair, at least not if your users trust you!
No matter what you have believed all this while, but Black Hat is serious business; you got to do a lot of work, and may even have to stuff meta tags with keywords. As per the guidelines, the less, the better; however, what you need to follow – the more the better!
It’s Not That Bad, Is It?
You don’t have many other options to attract traffic, do you? It’s obviously bad to do something that can make your users distrust you, but then if life’s not a bed of roses, this battlefield is most certainly no exception.
It’s Time To Choose
I Found The Classic Ending of Half Life Very Fitting Here. It’s Time To Choose…
There’s an old saying that goes something like this – “Discretion is the better part of valor”. In plain and simple words, you might be one of those who are not afraid of anything, the brave ones who can even challenge the guidelines set by search engines, but at the same time, you have to be watchful as you won’t even get to know when the repercussions of Black Hat begin to take a toll on your rankings.
You own the website; so, the decision is yours, but do remember, if the search engines catch you red-handed, there’s no going back; you’ll either have reduced rankings, or even worse, you’ll be taken by the horns; complete elimination!