Different Categories Of SEO Practices Based On Guideline Adherence

By | October 30, 2019

Over the years, many search engine optimization (SEO) techniques have been developed to bring websites to the top of the search engine result pages (SERPs). These developments are a result of search engines, particularly Google and Bing, developing algorithms to ensure that domain owners adhere to their guidelines and provide users with a better experience. Some techniques adhere to these guidelines and formulas while others try to bypass them. Depending on how much the techniques applied by the SEO company in Jersey City adhere to the guidelines of these search bars, SEO practices can be categorized as white hat, gray hat, black hat and negative. All of these practices encompass all aspects of SEO whether it’s on-page, off-page or technical.

White Hat

White hat refers to SEO techniques that adhere to the guidelines given by the search engines, more specifically the Google Webmaster Guidelines. These techniques are centered around ethical digital marketing and providing a good user experience (UX) on the site while making its link easier to find. These practices take a long time to show results but when they do, they show tremendous growth in the site’s SERP rankings. Moreover, the chances of getting penalized by the search bar formulas are close to nil because these practices are not breaking any guidelines the algorithms were built to protect. They build good authority in their niche as they are considered trustworthy by the browsers. Due to the time and effort they take, it is slightly costlier than other techniques but investing in a white hat SEO company in Jersey City is worth it.

Black Hat

As the name suggests, these techniques are the complete opposite of white hat techniques. These SEO practices do not adhere to the guidelines set by the search engines and try to bypass their algorithms to optimize the websites. Some of these practices are listed as malpractices by the Google Webmaster Guidelines. They are very cheap and give instant results in the short run. But the risk factors are incredibly high. If they fail to bypass the algorithms this will result in the domain getting penalized heavily, even getting blacklisted from SERPs. Google and Bing constantly update their formula which could result in a site that was ranked high to suddenly drop off the results forcing companies to create new SEO strategies.

Gray Hat

It is exactly what the name suggests. These SEO techniques fall into the gray zone. They are not listed by search engine guidelines as malpractices and don’t fall directly into the black hat category. But they are not white hat either as they do not completely adhere to the guidelines set by the search bars. These techniques are a result of firms pressuring SEO agencies pressuring them to deliver results quickly at a lower budget. They deliver quick results and are not as risky as black hats but are still quite risky. Google and Bing update themselves very often throughout the year which can result in a link losing its rank overnight forcing agencies to renew their strategies.

Negative SEO

Negative SEO practices are the most malicious type of SEO practices. They are essentially SEO techniques that focus on dropping the ranking of a competitor rather than increasing that of the owner’s site using techniques like hacking, copying content, link farms, etc. This trend is very recent and impossible for algorithms to detect as they are aligned to detect misuse by webmasters rather than SEO attacks by other groups trying to malign the webmaster. While cyberattacks are clearly illegal and can result in criminal prosecution, other negative techniques are harder to define by law. The  Lanham Act which defines unfair competition might be useful but prosecuting a foreign-based company would be harder. On a technical level, it is possible to prevent and rectify the effects of negative SEO attacks with early detection and tools like Google Disavow.

In conclusion, investing in white hat techniques is the best bet as they aren’t as risky as a black and gray hat, and is rewarding in the long run. A case could be made about negative SEO but while prosecution is currently difficult it is not impossible and new algorithms and laws could be developed to deal with it.