Black Hat, White Hat

If you spend any time at all learning about SEO practices, you’ll encounter the terms “black hat” and “white hat.” These are the names for two distinct schools of thought in regards to website design.

White hat practices are those that conform to Google’s recommendations and best practices. Essentially, white hat SEO follows the rules and uses technology as it was designed. These methods are legitimate and respectable, but they can take a lot of time and effort.

Black hat SEO, meanwhile, is based upon shortcuts and tricks. It could be considered a form of cheating. Black hat SEO exploits Google algorithms, using them in ways that were not intended. This can create immediate and dramatic short-term results.

The problem with black hat practices is that while they may be good for the site developer, they are bad for consumers. Black hat tactics are the primary reason why Google has cracked down on website quality and backlinking strategies. It’s not unreasonable to assume that Google and other search engines will continue to identify and penalize black hat strategies in the future.

For this reason, we recommend avoiding black hat tactics altogether. White hat SEO is mostly timeless: If you are acting in good faith to provide the highest quality product that you can, you will be rewarded. Sites that practice white hat tactics have traditionally suffered less from Google algorithm changes, and this trend will probably continue to be true for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, all of the tactics discussed from here on are in keeping with Google’s best practices.

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