In the Wild West (or at least how it's portrayed in the movies) the "good guys" wore white cowboy hats and the "bad guys" wore black cowboys hats.
But "white hats" and "black hats" aren't just for the Wild West anymore, now they show up in the technology sphere. Recently, the term "black hat" has been used to describe computer hackers, virus creators, and others who perform unethical actions with computers. Some of these unethical actions can include aggressive SEO tactics, like:
- Including paid links in website content
- Posting self-promoting spam comments
- Duplicating content across different domain names
- Keyword "stuffing", or using a keyword many, many times on a page
Tactics like these are only meant to improve search engine rankings and not helping out Internet users.
So, if the tactics above fall into the realm of "black hat", what is considered "white hat"?
What is white hat SEO?
White hat SEO (or ethical SEO) refers to the usage of optimization tactics that focus on helping human Internet users as opposed to search engines. Some common white hat SEO techniques include:
- Creating quality content that users will find valuable
- Using long-tail keywords and phrases
- Using keyword-rich meta details
- Building inbound links (others who link back to your content)
- Linking out to credible sources
If you were reading through those tactics I listed and thinking, "Hmmm, those things sounds a lot like tactics used in Inbound Marketing!" Well, you would be right, because...
White Hat SEO & Inbound Marketing Go Hand-in-Hand
Both of these methods are focused on providing users with quality content that utilizes keywords and phrases that they are ACTUALLY searching for; building relationships with those users. Since building relationships and perfecting these methods can take a bit of time, white hat SEO and Inbound Marketing tend to be used by those who intend to make a long-term investment in their website.
Don't be an SEO "black hat"!
If you are interested in making that investment in your website and learning how to effectively use SEO for your organization, check out our Create & Execute Program!