In movies set in the wild west, the good guys always wore white and the bad guys donned black. The same is true in the world of search engine optimization (SEO).
“Black hat SEO” is a term referring to unethical techniques employed to “trick” the search engines to rank a web page in a top spot of its organic search, despite its true relevance – or lack thereof. Examples of black hat techniques include:
- doorway pages — website entry pages filled with keywords that are crawled by the search engine bots, but visitors are immediately redirected to the “real” entry page.
- keyword stuffing — placing a lot of keywords on a web page rather than quality content.
- invisible text — placing keywords on a page in the same color as the background so that the human visitor doesn’t see them, but the search engine bots do.
Although black hat SEO techniques may deliver top rankings in the short run, sites employing these run the risk of being penalized — or even banned — from the search engines.
“White hat SEO” refers to techniques used to aid search engines in understanding and ranking content based on adhering to SEO best practices. There are numerous things a website owner may do to improve a site’s SEO, but it all amounts to one thing: build a site that is very rich with quality content and people and the search engines will find the site. Google provides a lot of information about SEO best practices. Give it a read for an even better understanding of white hat SEO and you’ll be sure to have happy trails.