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White Hat, Black Hat or Grey Hat? The Difference Between Them


This topic often makes me laugh.


white hat seo
Are you like Gandolf when doing the good White Hat SEO work?

Are you part of the “White Wizards” of SEO? Or are you secretly falling to the dark side with so-called “Black Hat” techniques.


This can be exemplified very easy with our favorite novel. Let’s take a look at how someone can become black as the night.


Black Hat Wizard Saruman
The Dark Black Hat Art of Wizard Saruman. Just trying to get the job done?


Not because I don’t take the methodologies seriously, but because the terms in general make people in this business sound like some type of Lord of The Rings minion and you either working for Gandolf the Great White Wizard, or your on the side of the Dark Wizard Saruman.


The reason I picture this is because at one time Saruman was considered good.


Just like many Search Marketers, they are just trying to provide you results in an expedient fashion and make their customers happy. But the problem is that SEO is an extremely ever-changing beast. There is no business harder than the Search Marketing Business, because literally every day there is some type of small catalyst that can ride your rankings right off the rails. This is nothing guaranteed in the world of SEO.




Because the bottom line, is that it can’t be done. It’s like a handicapper horse racing aficionado picking every single race. I mean he can pick winners from his experience, statistics, and intuition but really there are so many horse brains (yes I said horse brains) on that track in different moods that anything is possible.


The same stands for Google and any other search engine. Because these algorithms are developed by a ton of great minds, and unless you know what everyone is thinking all the time you can’t expect to be in front of the pitch every-time. There are literally 50+ small changes monthly that take place regarding Google & Search Updates.


Though there is one thing you can do!


Provide diversified unique quality in terms of everything you do. Though, it’s hard, time consuming and sometimes just plain expensive but like anything at this point in the digital age, is that you get what you pay for.


black or white SEO
Black Hat SEO was once White Hat methods.


Literally I remember when there was no such thing as White Hat or Black Hat. When it was just, “oh I need some links on other sites to get traffic to mine”. I remember when Webrings and distant sites in other galaxies were considered great tools for those starting out just to get “some visitors on their site”. And really many of these old techniques eventually became “Black Hat Techniques”, as they were nothing more than solutions that worked in general to get traffic to your website.


But why the shift? And what is the real difference between white hat SEO and black hat SEO?


Well, as things become more competitive just like anything else, you need to evolve ahead of your rivals. With this in mind, requires “creative marketing strategies” and Google rewards those for it. I mean it’s very relative to all types of business in life.


There are those that will do things the “old school quick way” or those that find new solutions to old problems. Because in all honesty, anything that Search Marketers do now that is “considered White Hat SEO” can easily be turned over to the dark side of Google’s rules and regulations regarding good webmaster behavior. It’s just that simple.


grey hat search
Are you running on the line of Grey Hat SEO nowadays?


One day you are White, the next you may be Grey, but then you are Sauron and are considered the master of Darkness.


Black Hat Dark SEO
Are you leaning to the Dark Arts of SEO?


So my question is, is there anything you are doing that may be considered grey or black, despite your white efforts?

Which SEO Hat are you Really Wearing?



David has been business building both online and off since the age of 18. He currently finds himself consulting about online marketing and branding for businesses of all sizes. A fan of everything nerd, he’s an advocate for healthy eating and living and enjoys mentoring people looking to grow their business as well as themselves.

David Scarpitta is a Los Angeles based online marketing guru and business developer for both online businesses and offline brick and mortar, B2B and B2C products and services.

A founding member of Get Found Marketing, you can contact him directly at any time for whatever is on your mind.

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