News & Insights


Black Hat vs White Hat SEO: What You Need to Know

pwd staff OLIVER WOOD
Oliver Wood

|24th April 2019


Have you ever watched a movie and noticed how the villain always wore black and the hero wore white? The villain would be seen taking sneakier measures to cross the finishing line faster but the results would always favour the hero who persevered, right? Well, SEO follows a familiar theme.

In SEO there are 2 schools of thought: black hat and white hat SEO. Black hat SEO, the villain, might offer faster results but in the long run, the after-effects are dire. White hat, on the other hand, takes a little bit more elbow grease and perseverance. However, it’s the results that really count!

So, what makes these 2 strategies so different? Let’s get into it!


What is Black Hat SEO?

Black hat SEO refers to SEO strategies that increase the SERP ranking and the content’s exposure by violating the search engine’s terms of service. Essentially, they are practices that are largely disapproved of and are known as the “bad guy” techniques.

Instead of creating content that adds value to your audience, black hat SEO focuses on search bots. The goal of these strategies is to find shortcuts and hacks that break the search bot algorithms. These are considered to be aggressive tactics that often lead to the banning of content.

Black Hat Techniques

So, how do you know if you’re following black hat SEO tactics? If the following techniques look familiar, it may be time to readdress your SEO strategy.

Keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing takes place when you fill your content with unrelated keywords. By doing so, you’re adding multiple variations of your keyword that influences your page ranking. As a result, your content becomes full of irrelevant content leaving users’ search queries unanswered.m Here’s what keyword stuffing might look like:


Content automation or spam

This technique’s goal is to help increase the number of backlinks for your website or increase the amount of traffic to your website. Black hat SEO practitioners will include the link to their website on blog comments that aren’t engaging or enriching how the users interact with the primary content.

Hidden text and links

In an effort to boost their content’s ranking, black hat practitioners will hide content by making the text the same colour as the website’s background. Other practices include making the font size to 0 and burying links into small characters like a hyphen.

Doorway pages

Otherwise known as fake pages, doorway pages are pages that are overloaded with keywords to help search engines register the website. When a user clicks onto these pages, they are automatically redirected to a separate page that is meaningless to their original search query.


Do you remember Harry Potter’s Cloak of Invisibility? This strategy is like that as it presents visitors a completely different webpage than what it presents to search engines.

Search engines will be presented with content that they wouldn’t usually display. The content will be ranked for a variety of terms that is essentially relevant to what the content hold. You may have noticed a few spam websites deploying this method.

Poor quality content

Search engines’ ultimate goal is to present users with the best value content for their query, right? Poor quality content or duplicate content offers no value to the user but black hat SEO-ers love it for the increased keywords.

The Disadvantages of Black Hat SEO

Black hat SEO has pretty clear disadvantages. In a nutshell, using these tactics may ultimately lead to the banishment of your content. Those increase site visits you were once seeing will dramatically start to decrease once Google flags your content.

Just like in the movies, the bad guy never wins!

What is White Hat SEO?

White hat SEO, the “good guy”, consists of Google approved techniques to help get your content ranked on SERP. It’s all about playing by Google’s rules and regulations to help bring users only the best content for their queries. The focus is on the user, not the results.

Any good SEO practitioner or successful online brand will tell you that this SEO strategy works. It helps you develop your long-term investments with constant results and increases your website’s organic traffic rates.

White Hat Techniques

White hat techniques are transparent tactics that focus on improving the user’s experience as opposed to generating a higher ranking.

Quality content

Instead of creating content that bombards users with unnatural keywords or unrelated information, white hat focuses on quality content. This is content that will enrich and engage users based on their searches.

Optimized website content

Using the right keywords, the right heading structure and the right user-friendly optimisations make a huge impact on your SERP ranking. Google takes into consideration how optimised your website is to create the best user experience.

Guest blogging

A great way to generate backlinks and get your content out there is through guest blogging. This technique will help legitimise your website and business in the eyes of the user as well as search engines.

Internal linking

Search engines use crawlers to help navigate your website. Using internal links will help crawlers know where to go as well as redirect users to other useful content on your website.


Why White Hat SEO Works

White hat techniques have a greater impact on your website. It helps you build a trustworthy website with valuable content that leaves your audience wanting more.

This preferred SEO technique offers long-term and long-lasting results as opposed to quick results that ultimately will have your content banned. Following the right SEO strategy can lead to an increase in reach, click-throughs and all of the wonderful things that come with a higher SERP ranking.


In conclusion, both strategies have distinct advantages and disadvantages. However, we are constantly seeing the benefits that go into putting the hard work for a greater return.

Trust us, it’s worth putting in the work with white hat SEO than suffering from the penalties that come with black hat SEO.