White Hat vs Black Hat SEO

Thank you for taking the time to read my article!

In Hong Kong, I’m an SEO Specialist who blogs about Growth Hacking and SEO Services.

I’m a search (SEO) specialist here in Hong Kong.

I’ve been involved in Internet Marketing since 2001 – yep, that long!

Currently, I’m offering SEO Services in Hong Kong and, like as in any city, there are challenges when it comes to starting a business.

We take all the breaks we can when it comes to starting a business and SEO can absolutely help, and to that effect, we do two things here at Growth Hackers Hong Kong:

Mega Simple Summary Of “Pro’s And Con’s” Of White Hat vs Black Hat

Type Of MarketingBenefit & Risk
White Hat Squeaky Clean SEOCan be VERY slow, Google is Clever; but if you win then you can win big (for a while)
Black Hat Trickery SEO Can be INSTANT but very dangerous and should never be done on your money site

In order to understand the difference between those two aspects of SEO, I think we first need to understand a bit more about where Google, and indeed all the other search engines, are coming from.

Google (as well as Bing and Yahoo etc) are all primarily search engines, and they deliver search results to their end-users.

Let’s focus on Google. Google’s relevancy of the search results (SERPs) is what has made them the dominant player of the search engines. In order to protect their hegemony relevancy is vital, and ultimately their profits as well of course! Therefore, they’ve created a set of guidelines, and these guidelines are freely available for anyone to explore and adhere to.

The(ir) Do’s And The(ir) Dont’s

Google basically just lists a bunch of “do’s” and “don’ts” about what you can do or shouldn’t be doing on your websites.

Now, remember, these rules are just rules.

Can you look at me with a straight face and tell me that as a kid you never broke a rule here or there?

Correct. You can’t.

Let’s remember also that these rules are Google’s rules, i.e. they are NOT laws.

There’s no prison sentence associated with breaking one of Google’s rules. But, for business, there are quite severe penalties, which can be devastating to an online business, especially one that is just starting out or that is beginning to pique the interest of VC’s.

It’s in this set of “rules” that arises the difference between white and black hat SEO.

White hat SEO, simply put, follows Google’s strict guidelines to the letter of the law, i.e. they don’t break or bend the rules.

Whereas, black hat SEO techniques and processes will break the rules or bend the rules. And as such, the fundamental differences between the two become more apparent and obvious.

White hat SEO is associated with little to zero risk at all.

If you follow the guidelines correctly that Google instructed then, you’re not going to get any sort of penalty or encounter any issue from Google or the other search engines.

If however, you deploy black hat techniques, you will run the risk of being penalized – and you will get caught if you don’t know what you are doing.

Penalization can take the form of being removed from Google’s entire index, gulp, yes, and this simply means that you no longer be able to be found within their search.

Such an outcome would be devastating for a company so it’s particularly important therefore to choose a reputable SEO Agency. In addition, the reputational damage to the digital marketing agency would be huge.

How Clever Is Google With Detecting Black Hat Techniques?

The simple answer is, it depends.

With regards to black hat marketers, there are techniques that you can implement that might result in a website not being caught by Google for a long time, but the issue is that you might get caught out at a later date.

Remember that the Google Algorithm is constantly evolving and being able to detect patterns that could have been executed in the past. My point here is that the Statute Of Limitations does not apply to GoogleLand, and the engine will kick you out at any time if it so wants.

If you have dabbled in the black hat world when it comes to SEO then you are one of many. Even the cleanest of the clean in the SEO community, even here in Hong Kong have without doubt run a few “blackish” campaigns to get results.