White-Hat vs Black-Hat Links: What’s The Difference?
Links are typically categorized as either white-hat or black-hat, depending on their context and manner in which they are used. The term “white-hat” refers to links that abide by the search engine’s quality standards, whereas “black-hat” links are links that violate one or more of these standards.
So, what are some examples of black-hat links? Google has list published on its Quality Guidelines page, which include doorway pages, sneaky redirects, cloaking (e.g., showing visitors one page and search engines another), paid links, excessive link exchanges, large-scale guest posting with anchor text, and low-quality directory and social bookmarking sites. Of course, these are just a few of the many different types of black-hat links.
If you currently utilize any of the aforementioned strategies as part of your SEO plan, you may want to take a step back to reevaluate your SEO efforts. Even if your site is currently ranking well in the search engines, it may receive a manual penalty. There’s nothing more disheartening than spending countless hours building links, only to have your site knocked out of the SERPS with a penalty. Following Google’s guidelines by focusing on white-hat links and SEO strategies will reduce the risk of this happening.
On the other side of the fence are white-hat links. Unlike their black-hat counterpart, these links are created in full compliance with Google’s Quality Guidelines. Generally speaking, white-hat links consist of any non-paid link that was created by a third-party. This may include social posts on Facebook, tweets, brand name mentions, and article links.
Don’t fall for companies that offer to sell you X amount of high-PR backlinks. Remember, Google explicitly prohibits the buying and selling of backlinks. If either the selling site or buying site are caught, they could face a manual penalty. Assuming you run a legit online business, you have to ask yourself is a handful of backlinks really worth it?
In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for webmasters to use manipulative backlink building strategies to achieve a desirable rank. These same practices now, though, will likely have the opposite effect by lowering a site’s ranking. This is why it’s a important to focus on white-hat SEO.
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