If you are unfamiliar with the SEO industry, you will not know what I am talking about; hence, I will be a white hat SEO practitioner (wink, wink) if I explain to you the meaning of different hat colors that we wear.
We literally don’t wear hats when we work. It is just a term used by SEO practitioners to explain our tactics to those who are outside the industry. The two most familiars “hats” that you might have heard once in a while are “white hat” and “black hat” SEO. Even just from the suggestion of the colors, you will be able to tell the difference between the two, right? The color is determined by how pure your strategies are or how closely you stick to SEO’s Big Daddy’s guidelines–its Google by the way.
White Hat SEO
When an SEO practitioner uses white hat tactics, it simply means that they are staying with the terms and conditions set by Google. You are being pure and untainted in your approach. You are going by the rules of your police officer. And when an algorithm update happens, your site’s ranking will not be affected. Why? Simply because you are not breaking the rules.
Gray Hat SEO
This is the hat that an SEO practitioner wears if his tactics are mixture of pure white (does only what Google tells him what to do) and a sprinkle of black hat strategy (bending the rule a little bit). A very good example would be writing loads of content that is not necessarily relevant or useful, but making sure that it still has substance, but would never spin an article. This tactic is used commonly to boost results and still minimizing the risks of penalties.
Black Hat SEO
There are two forms of black hat SEO but it does not have a real demarcation line—it just depends on which space you work in. For example, if you chose to rank for Google, link buying is considered a black hat practice whereas if you chose Bing, buying Facebook “Likes” is considered “illegal”. Black hat SEO is not evil SEO—it is the tactics that you employ that are specifically forbidden by search engines.
The Penguin update was Google’s open war against black hat SEO and if your SEO firm practiced it (which, often times they will not tell you), this might be the reason why your site flunked to the depths of search engine nowhere-land. Black hat SEO is difficult because it is done underground—you cannot be discovered and not get your client fire bombed.
Now that you know the many hats that SEO wears, and if in the future, you might be interested in hiring a SEO Company, I hope that this guideline will prove to be most useful for you.
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