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3 kinds of SEO tactics: black-hat, grey-hat, white-hat

I just had a conversation with a client who brought up a few suggestions to tweak his site for better search engine rankings. As a result of our talk I decided to write this quick post… There’s generally 3 kinds of SEO tactics: white-hat, grey-hat and black-hat.

Black-hat techniques will definitely get a website unlisted from major search engines as a spam content. An example of this will be page sections invisible to users but targeted at getting higher search engine recognition (i.e. invisible text on pages). Here’s a few examples:

Grey-hat techniques will likely get your site unlisted from search engine like Google as these techniques boarder with black-hat. An example of this will be stuffing image alt text with strings of keywords. There is though a certain extent to which this technique is acceptable (i.e. to write a clean and descriptive alt text for visually impaired users).

White-hat techniques are “the rules of the game”. These allow sites to play the game clean and stay listed on Google. Our main concern as SEOs should be clients’ (sites) reputation with search engines. We’ve all seen examples of sites being unlisted and it had cost a company time and money to reinstate the website with major search engines. These are a few examples of white-hat SEO techniques:

As all three types of tactics evolve over time we follow the trends and make sure we use the right tools and techniques to reach our clients’ goals. After all, there are many other things online where we can outperform the competition and even play a bit “grey”, but on-page SEO should stay clean.