Black Hat SEO vs White Hat SEO

To celebrate May the 4th, we’ve decided to look back on the long-standing battle between the dark side of SEO and the light side… Trust us we’re onto something with the Star Wars links we promise…

The Dark Side of SEO…

As the classic line goes, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… achieving those top positions within the search engine results seemed incredibly straightforward. In the early 2000’s, as Google was still in the early days of developing rules and guidelines for SEO, black hat techniques (the Dark Side of SEO) ruled the galaxy… well, the web. Sites across a range of industries and sectors achieved top search positions by using techniques such as keyword stuffing, paying for spammy inbound links and sacrificing quality for quantity in the process, and hiding content on the page by changing the font colour. At the time, these black hat techniques worked but a battle was on its way and change was on the horizon…

White Hat vs Black Hat SEO

As is the on-going theme in Star Wars, the Dark Side is often associated with cheating and engaging in harmful activity to get what you want but at the end of every story, the stronger, light side always prevails and the same can be said for SEO! Modern day SEO experts would even go as far as to simply say one thing about black hat SEO… “It’s a trap!”

Moving swiftly on… Whilst it’s true that black hat techniques worked in the early 2000’s, search engines quickly became better at discovering cheats and sites were consequently punished. In fact, 2003 saw the worlds first major algorithm update, the “Florida” update. Launched at the height of the Christmas shopping season, the update saw many sites penalised for keyword stuffing and other commonly used black hat techniques. Causing mass devastation amongst marketers and affected businesses (just like when the Rebels destroyed the Death Star) the update dramatically changed the SERP results and marked an early turning point towards search engines putting an emphasis on sites offering content which is genuinely informative and useful for users… Thus, white hat techniques emerged!

Organic SEO takes time… There’s no hyperspace short cut

The problem with black hat techniques is that rather than gaining authority and trustworthiness naturally and organically, sites attempt to gain the top positions in the search engine results without putting in any hard work and without barely any thought for the end user. As anyone who has invested in SEO before knows though, earning those top positions can take time, especially if the search term is highly competitive. Once you’ve earned those positions though, the results can be fantastic for your business, increasing traffic to your site, increasing your brand awareness and reach, and potential increasing your number of online and even offline conversions.

What does this mean for SEO today?

Whilst there are many white hat tactics out there, each of which contribute to improving rankings, they’re all essentially defined by following Google’s quality guidelines. As such, today the emphasis lies on really focusing on the overall user experience – this ranges from fine tuning your content to ensure that it reads well and truly serves a purpose, to obtaining high quality inbound links and even delivering a mobile friendly experience as today, mobile accounts for almost 60 percent of all searches made.

The key thing to note with SEO is that the industry is always changing and just like the 2003 Florida update, Google still updates it’s algorithms today to keep up with changes in user habits and technological advances – often without giving digital marketers any notice. With this in mind, to become a “Master SEO Jedi” you need to work hard and constantly follow the latest developments and trends – working proactively and re-actively. As we’ve seen with black hat techniques, what may work one year, may not always work in one years time or 10 years down the line.

Speak to our expert team today for a free SEO audit

At  Netbiz Group our team of SEO Jedi’s always follow the latest news and developments to ensure that we can make informed decisions which provide our clients with the best possible results in both the short term and the long term future. Whilst the battle between black hat SEO and white hat is now generally confined to the history books, we believe that it’s still important to understand the industry today and how we got to this point.

If you would like to find out more about the world of SEO and how it could benefit your business online, please do not hesitate to contact our team today. Using the force… and our wealth of experience and expertise, we can provide you with a bespoke search engine optimisation strategy which is tailored to your individual goals and budget. Before we even talk about cost we can even provide you with a free SEO audit to get things started.

Talk SEO with our experts today