You may have heard about White Hat and Black Hat techniques in terms of SEO Services in South Africa, and the rest of the world for that matter, for getting a web site to rank higher in search engines. In this article I will shed some light on the differences between the two and highlight the dangers of employing Black Hat techniques. Again this article has been written in layman’s terms so that the average person can understand it and grasp the concept.
Purely White Hat techniques would be to create a web site, activate all the social sharing buttons and upload some quality content and then sit back and wait for people to find it, like it, share it, tweet it and link to it. By doing so search engines will place a higher value on it and rank it higher in the search engines. Easy hey??? Well good luck, because people are by nature complacent and how many times have you visited a site that you thought was awesome and found huge value in it but were either in a hurry or were feeling very complacent and didn’t hit the like button or place a link on your site to that awesome content? So there is no guarantee that people will hit the like button if they actually do like your site.
Black Hat techniques on the other hand are techniques that are used to falsely boost ones web site with manufactured likes, tweets and backlinks in an effort to manipulate the search engines to rank your site higher. Black Hat techniques also include activities such as cloaking and other very devious methods of manipulating search engine results. So for instance one might include a lot of text on the page that is keyword rich but has no real meaning to humans, sometimes referred to as keyword stuffing. In order to make it more readable to humans, the webmaster will make the font the same colour as the background. This way humans won’t see it but search engines will and will find it more important than the other site that isn’t as keyword rich. Be careful of such activities because search engines nowadays have a way of detecting this and will penalise you and possibly de-index your site so that it does not appear in the search engine result pages at all.
As mentioned above it is near impossible to get the quantity and quality of likes and backlinks required to rank highly in search engines completely naturally because you are competing with people who are employing techniques that are not 100% white hat. They may be using automated software to submit articles to thousands of article submission sites, thereby creating a backlink. This as opposed to submitting them manually to each site which is possible but would consume ALL of your time. Search engines don’t like anything that is automated as they view it as manipulating the SERPS.
And this is where Grey Hat techniques come into play. Grey Hat techniques are those techniques which are not 100% White Hat but do not cross over the very dark Black Hat line of keyword stuffing and cloaking. Most web masters will employ some sort of Grey Hat techniques, unless of course you are Wikipedia where you will naturally gain backlinks and social media buzz. The act of simply liking your own article could be considered Grey Hat because of course you will like it, you wrote it. But Google doesn’t want to know that the author likes it, he wants to know that someone else likes it. By getting your friends and family to like it also does not reflect a true like because they may think it is terrible but out of their love for you and their wish for you to succeed they will like it. That Grey Hat That.
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