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Which Hat Do You Wear?

I spoke with a Cal Coast Web Design client recently who brought up the subject of Black Hat Vs. White Hat SEO. I’ve found that many people especially those not involved directly with search engine optimization don’t know what these terms mean or refer to.

I started by explaining to this client that Cal Coast is a White Hat SEO company simply meaning we do not attempt to circumvent the search engines by spamming and we do not look for loopholes in the systems they have set up in order to your you a higher page rank and/or position in any particular search result. So in general when you’re dealing with SEO and you hear the term White Hat used some is referring to a person or company that practices legitimate optimization and not one that tries to dance around the rules.

I next gave an example of what a Black Hat person or company might do to get them better placement in search results. Essentially someone who’s gone Black Hat will use tactics like “spamdexing”. When someone spamdexes they might do things like manipulate your website through it’s keywords, functionless blogging, and repeated submissions to the same directories. A Black Hatter might also place invisible text on your website by making the text the same color as your page’s background, in an attempt to fool search engines. Yet another tactic someone engaging in Black Hat activities might be Google Bombing which involves the manipulation of hyperlinks to some degree. There are countless other tactics that those wearing a Black Hat will use to try and cheat your websites way to the top of the search engines. Be on the look out for those who do the following!

Keyword stuffing
Meta tag stuffing
“Gateway” Pages
Scraper sites
Link farms
Hidden links
Sybil attack
Wiki spam
Spam in blogs
Page hijacking
Referer log spamming
Buying expired domains
Mirror websites
URL redirection

By practicing or allowing someone to practice Black Hat tactics on your website you run the risk of being banned from the search engines. Getting un-banned from any one of the search engines is not impossible but is nearly that difficult and the time it takes will cost you, your business and your website a lot of time and money. There are of course those who don a Gray Hat but you want to stay away from anything that might be potentially damaging to you your site and your online reputation so it’s best not to step into that gray area. Do it right from the start! If you have questions about this please feel free to contact us! This can be a complicated subject!