Yep, it’s time once again to talk about black hat vs. white hat SEO practices! There’s also a troubling thing we have to worry about: grey hat SEO practices, something we haven’t actually talked about on our blog before.

If you want to get the gist of why we cater towards white hat SEO, feel free to simply check out our past blog posts here, here, and here. If you’re looking for more of an unfiltered, full list of practices to be aware of, you’ve come to right post. Let’s go!

Black Hat SEO Practices

  • Keyword stuffing– just for example, “Come see our veterinary clinic near me, your number one veterinary clinic in Nowheresville.” Obvious keyword stuffing and poor usage in content is obvious.
  • No content or poor writing– one of many, many reasons we insist on creating high quality content, as well as having a blog on your website.
  • Content below the fold– making content above the “Read More” option more important than the content you scroll down for.
  • Article spinning– reworking articles written by other people and claiming it as your own content.
  • Variable meta data– title and meta description tags that change with each visit, but the content stays the same.
  • Doorway pages– standalone web pages that act as a doorway to your website but have no links to it, made in order to gather more search engine traffic.
  • Splash pages– similar pages to doorway ones, with no links to your site.
  • Hidden or semi-hidden text– text on a website you can’t see but search engines can.
  • Rich snippets– structured data that can be added to existing HTML code to help search engines understand what the page is about.
  • Spamming comment sections– these typically include the same comment unrelated to the content in question, using poor spelling, poor grammar, and links, all of which makes you untrustworthy.
  • Unnatural links– links created to increase your ‘backlinks’, i.e. artificial links intended to increase your site’s ranking on Google.
  • Paying for back links– many of these back links are spammy and irrelevant to what your business represents.

Grey Hat SEO Practices

Grey hat SEO tactics are defined as “ill-advised” strategies that actually don’t get you penalized from Google. However, the reason they are defined as such is because from a human’s perspective, they are appearing all too frequently and they feel intrusive while browsing online. Examples of grey hat SEO include:

  • Clickbait– content created with the intent to convince visitors to visit the link they’re clicking on. Normally these articles include headlines such as “You Won’t Believe What This Woman Did to Lose Weight in 5 Days”.
  • Cloaking– the content presented to the site visitor is different from search engine crawlers, typically delivered via IP addresses.
  • Paying for old domains– we know it’s good to recycle, but this is just ridiculous!
  • Duplicate content– a lazy, fallback action if you have thousands of products to offer and don’t have a good writer on board. Some duplicate content can help, for example if you have a similar call to action on your web page, but overall the content on every single page should be as unique and helpful to visitors as possible.
  • Social media automation– by this we mean you’re not creating unique posts that cater to your desired audience, but rather are churning out the content willy-nilly without double-checking the quality.
  • Buying social media followers– just as bad, if not worse, than paying for back links, because it makes you look desperate and phony.
  • Thin content– i.e. content below 500 words or even 300. Bonus points in terribleness if this thin content leads to yet another link to click on.

White Hat SEO Practices

The stuff our company is made of! You will only receive this sort of strategy whenever you decide to sign up for one of our plans for building or rejuvenating your website. Here are the tactics we use regularly:

  • Unique written content(usually over 500 words long) – any less and it’s considered thin content according to Google. The best kind of content focuses less on catering to search engines and more on helping out humans.
  • Fast website loading times– it should take less than 2-3 seconds to access a website you want to visit.
  • Mobile site friendliness– because mobile is increasingly important to a business website’s success (for more reasons, check out our past blog post).
  • Descriptive, keyword-rich meta tags– for an idea of how long a description tag should be, check out our post on the newest rule Google rolled out.
  • Easy site navigation– it shouldn’t take visitors more than a few clicks to find what they’re looking for.
  • Well-labeled images– great for SEO!
  • Relevant links and references– basically, what we’ve been doing in our blog posts, i.e. providing you with links to relevant content we’ve written about in the past. This also applies to any other content such as sources where certain new information is coming from.

If you’ve been nodding (unfortunately) too hard at the list of black or grey hat SEO practices, it’s time to give that hat a thorough washing! Start by giving us a call at V3 Media. Like we said, we only use white hat SEO practices for our clients, so you know you’re going to get the help you need. If you’re still not sure, we’re always available for one-on-one consultation. Seriously, if your hat is any shade darker than white, get the help you need and fast