The Differences Between White Hat, Black Hat, and Grey Hat SEO Techniques

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White Hat, Black Hat, and Grey Hat

Do you know that nowadays SEO strategies are a must? Implementing SEO strategies to your online marketing is a way to stay on top of your competitors, attract organic traffic and customers, as well as improve your revenue. In fact, SEO is the key for making money online. If you hire an SEO professional or decide to try your hand at SEO techniques yourself, there are three main SEO categories you can follow: white hat, grey hat, and black hat SEO techniques. 

In this article, we’ll help you understand all of these techniques better and decide which “hat” you should choose for your business. The three “hats” differ in one simple criterium – how much each adheres to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. So, the color of the hat, in fact, indicates the tactics that you choose to use to rank your site. 


White Hat SEO

If you choose to “wear a white SEO hat” then it means that you’ll follow Google’s rules 100%. White hat SEO techniques are a completely safe, but slow way to climb up Google’s “ladder”. White hat SEO means that you’re taking the search engine rules into consideration and adjusting your website to be acceptable for humans as well. 

This technique involves no deception or “cheating” the search engines in order to get a higher SEO ranking. With a white hat, you’ll definitely be on the safe side and your website won’t get penalized or deindexed. However, it may also mean that it’ll take a long time to see the results of your hard work and marketing strategy. Once your work gets recognized it’ll definitely last long and not be susceptible to any new algorithm updates that might tank sites that rely on black hat SEO.

Here’s what white hat SEO includes:

  • High-Quality Content

In order to provide your website visitors with a good user experience, you should focus on producing high-quality content. The content you provide your users with should be compelling and interesting, so it’ll be shared and liked. This is how you’ll obtain good SEO results. 

  • Natural Use of Keywords

If you want to run a white hat SEO website, you should avoid stuffing your text with keywords. In order to provide your users with the best possible experience, using keywords only where it feels natural is recommended. The best possible way of using keywords is to do keyword research to find out what are the trendy keywords in your niche and use them two to three times in the article, or as long as it sounds natural. Make sure not to overdo it.

  • Helping Google Understand Your Site

With white hat SEO techniques, you shouldn’t only optimize your content to provide a good user experience, but also adjust it to be readable by the search engines. So, using Google Search Console and a proper sitemap is a good start if you want Google to understand your website and its position on the Internet. Through a sitemap, search engines can crawl your website faster and recognize the certain “chunks” of content better. This also includes creating a robots.txt file to “let the search engines know” which parts of your website to crawl.


Black Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO techniques are disapproved by Google and if the search engines catch you use these techniques to boost your SEO rankings you’ll get penalized and deindexed. However, many SEO professionals choose to use black hat SEO techniques in order to trick the search engines and rank high on Google.

This is a short-term technique that will provide you results fast, but it usually doesn’t last very long – especially if Google updates their algorithm to fight a particular black hat technique better. So, here are some of the most popular black hat SEO techniques:

  • Keyword Stuffing 

Stuffing your content with keywords just for the sake of search engines is a black hat SEO technique. People use this method and stuff the anchor text, metadata and content with valuable keywords. However, this is useless for the users, so it’ll definitely drive them away from your website. 

  • Hidden Text

Hiding some text or keywords by matching the color of the text with the color of your background is a black hat SEO method. This technique makes the hidden text invisible for site visitors and visible for the search engines. Many of SEO professionals use this technique to stuff their website with keywords, without compromising user experience.

  • Cloaking

Cloaking means using different HTML visible to the users and another HTML which is visible to the search engines. This technique was mainly used on websites built by Flash, which couldn’t be read by Google properly.

  • Stealing Content

Stealing, duplicating or copying content is plagiarism. If you are stealing content from other websites, you’ll most likely get caught by the search engines. Unique content should be your only real option.

  • Buying Links

There are websites that sell links you can use to get higher rankings. However, when buying links you have to make sure that they are good quality or otherwise you may be wasting your money for nothing.


Grey Hat SEO

Grey Hat SEO is something between white hat SEO and black hat SEO. This means that you won’t get penalized for using grey hat techniques per se, however, you’re also not exactly following Google’s rules fully. A grey hat SEO technique is a great way to get a good SEO ranking without compromising your safety – if you do it right. A common grey hat technique that many successful companies use is building a Private Blog Network (PBN). 

  • Private Blog Network

A PBN is a network of multiple websites that are connected to each other through links and has the purpose of boosting the SEO rankings for your main money site. If you want your PBN to be successful and not get discovered by the search engines, make sure you read up on the latest information at Private Blog Network. There are plenty of tips and tricks that go into the safety and security of your PBN, which ensure the PBN won’t leave a pattern that Google can recognize, so if you want to reap its full benefits we definitely suggest you get professional help – especially if you’re a first-timer!


To sum up, in order to get good SEO rankings you may choose to follow white hat, black hat or grey hat SEO techniques – or a mixture of the three. The difference between them is whether they follow the rules stipulated by search engines or not. 


  • White Hat SEO follows all of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and it is a slow, but safe way to obtain SEO results.
  • Black Hat SEO breaks all of the rules by search engines and it can show instant results, but you are also likely to get penalized.
  • Grey Hat SEO is somewhere between white hat and black hat SEO. This mix of techniques is commonly used, carries a certain dose of risk, but provides quick ranking results.




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