What is White Hat, Black Hat & Grey Hat?

The angels of Black Hat and White Hat SEO

All of our managed SEO services are white hat, though many agencies employ black hat and grey hat techniques. The three main methods that SEO experts will employ on your website fall into three main categories, white hat, black hat & grey hat. White hat is regarded as the most professional approach, it means following the search engines’ guidelines to the letter and not attempting anything untoward to manage your campaign. White Hat SEO is the approach we here at SEO Article Heroes¬†employ. It may appear more long-winded and the more difficult way to approach to SEO but it is by far the most honest and safest way to approach SEO. Agencies that employ Grey Hat or Black Hat SEO are less likely to admit that this is the type of SEO in which they use as they are seen as more derogatory terms rather than forthright methods. ¬†Black Hat SEO is the type of SEO that must be avoided at all possible costs, they usually perform methods that outright violate the search engines guidelines. Sometimes the methods they will employ will have short-term results before facing penalties from search engines such as google where you could your website will fall in the SERPs and in some cases could be deindexed altogether. Grey Hat SEO methods can have positive results and are essentially workarounds for search engines guidelines. These methods can go undetected for a considerable amount of time, sometimes they are not found until search engines upgrade their search algorithms at which point grey hat SEO managed sites will see their rankings plummet. If your thinking of taking on an SEO Agency but have limited knowledge on SEO it’s best to dig into the exact type of work the agency is planning to do and check if it meets the requirements for White Hat SEO.

The Three Hats of SEO

White Hat – Most professional agencies employ whit hat SEO, it is charachterised by extensive on-site SEO, developing high-quality linkable content and promoting the content in order to gain high authority backlinks. This method may take longer and can be more expensive than the other methods but its essentially approaching SEO in the way that the search engines want you to. Anything that appears to be spammy, look unprofessional or in violation of any search engine guidelines a White Hat SEO expert would completely avoid it. White Hat SEO will maintain the reputation of your company, it will produce the best long-term results and will prevent you from being negatively effected by search engine algorithm updates.

Grey Hat – As the name may give away it is always a bit of a grey area what constitutes grey hat SEO. In this method SEO experts will look for loopholes and ways that may benefit SERPs in the short term. Some agencies may flirt with this method whilst also employing white hat methods. Certain grey hat methods are using public blog networks (PBN’s), where the SEO company will own several blogs which it regularly uses to link to its clients websites. More greyer still is paying for an external blog to write a content piece about your article with a backlink to your website, technically you are paying for the blog to promote your website not to purchase a backlink however search engines could still view this as a violation their guidelines.

Black Hat – Most agencies do not employ this method, some freelancers on platforms such as fiverr or companies that are based in foreign countries will employ this method as they are less likely to worry about reputation & legal jurisdictions. A few years ago a large proportion of SEO agencies used Black Hat SEO mainly because the algorithms of the search engines would not prevent this method from working. Most black hat SEO methods no longer work even in the short term so it’ll be fairly easy to spot if your agency is employing any of these methods. There are several tactics to watch our for with black hat SEO such as; keywords stuffing (where keywords you want to are thrown into content without context), link purchasing from low authority websites such as link farms, hiding text and hiding links (such as putting keywords in white at the bottom of a page, copying content from other websites, posting links on comment sections of blogs and using software to create content with text featuring your keywords.

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