SEO Basics: What Color is Your Hat?

If you’ve done any independent SEO research you’ve probably come across references to White Hat, Black Hat, and Grey Hat SEO. Wondering what these are? If so, keep reading…
White Hat
Search engine approved practices that attempt to naturally optimize the site while maintaining its integrity. White hat strategies are intended to provide long-term benefits for the site. For examples of white hat strategies, refer to previous SEO posts I have made.
Black Hat
SEO practices that damage the integrity of the site in an attempt to artificially inflate search engine rankings. Black-hat practices may provide short-term ranking improvement however the gains frequently come at the cost of a lessened user experience. Some of the most common black-hat optimization practices include:

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Hidden text
  • Doorway Pages

Grey Hat
As you probably guessed, Grey-Hat consists of strategies that fall in the grey area between white-hat and black-hat SEO. Examples of Grey-Hat practices include:

  • Paid Links
  • Duplicate Content (Pages)

In a continual effort to provide the most relevant results, search engines are constantly updated to improve their ranking mechanisms. Many of these updates are improvements to identify sites that practice Black-Hat and Grey-Hat SEO. Once a site has been found to be employing illegitimate SEO strategies, the site is either penalized in ranking or black-listed. Similarly, a site can be reported to search engines if they see you are using unapproved methods.

Whether you are optimizing your site yourself or contracting a third party, pay attention to the optimization practices you use as well as those used by your competitors. DDT uses only White-Hat optimization strategies.

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David is an avid social entrepreneur and Boston sports fanatic. He founded Diversified Data Technologies way back in 2009 and stuck around to see it grow. His party quarks include unnecessary dancing and being an overly hospitable host. When looking, he can be found capturing the twitterverse at @DLanphear, being professional on LinkedIn, or bouncing around town with Foursquare.

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