SEO – White Hat – Grey Hat – Black Hat

on February 7, 2012 | SEO | Comments (8)

In the SEO world, you may often hear the terms:

  • White Hat
  • Grey Hat
  • Black Hat

But what exactly does this mean?

White Hat SEO

White Hat SEO refers to legitimate and ‘proper’ ways to search engine optomise your website.

This is ethical SEO and utilises tactics allowed by the search engines such as:

  • Internal Linking
  • Title Tag and Description optimisation
  • Content Creation to attract inbound links
  • Guest Blogging for author links
  • On Page Keyword optimisation

Grey Hat SEO

Grey Hat SEO falls under the ‘questionable’ category for search engine optomisation. This is not the ethical way to SEO your site, but it is not considered search engine spam, yet. You may be able to get away with Grey Hat tactics and avoid search engine penalties but members of the web community may realise what you are doing and this could effect your online reputation.

Some Grey Hat SEO tactics include:

  • Buying links for PageRank
  • Duplicating Content on your website
  • Cloaking
  • Reciprocal link exchanges

It’s no secret some of these tactics can improve your search engine ranking, but these are questionable methods and you will get much better results if done via White Hat methods.

Black Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO refers to illegitimate optimisation ttactics designed for stronger and more immediate search ranking improvements. This often involves manipulative behaviour and the search engines will penalise or ban websites that undertake this behaviour.

Some Black Hat SEO tactics include:

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Invisible Text
  • Cloaking pages, ie showing different pages to the search engines than humans.
  • Doorway pages
  • Manipulative Redirects
  • Duplicate content/ websites


It’s important for your business or your clients that you adhere to ethical and White Hat SEO practices – Grey or Black Hat could damage their website ranking and your reputation.

Creating great content that people will link to – in my experience is the most powerful white hat seo strategy you can undertake – which also yields the best results.

Our Social Media Agency offers advanced White Hat link building plans – we think some of the best value packages available by an Australian supplier.

David Cowling :

Editor and Founder of I also run a Social Media Agency where I do consulting work and another blog dedicated to Instagram news. Connect with me: Twitter | LinkedIn | Google + or contact me here. Alternatively, you can send me an email at

  • Slow blogging day?

  • Never a slow blogging day.

    I've been meaning to post an article about different SEO tactics/ grades, so here it is.

    • Haha I agree! This needs to be known especially with the growth in SEO Providers.

  • Charlie

    Great article! Very helpful for those who don't have a strong knowledge on the various types of SEO practices. Good thing to be aware of.

  • It's good to see a short, sweet and to the point article promoting the White Hat route to SEO success.

    One black hat technique I would love to disappear is "Article Spinning" – I have set up some Google Alerts to keep up to date with ideas on SEO (among other things) and eight out of ten blog posts on SEO tactics are spun content or outsourced to the barely literate.

    Google say they downgrade these but then they feed them to me in a daily email!

  • Very true Alex – article spinning is getting very common.

    I also believe Google Alerts do send out what Google believes is 'quality content' – so these spun articles in Google Alerts shows no algorithm is ever perfect in picking up duplicate garbage.

  • I sort of believe in gray hat seo…if there's such a thing. 🙂

  • I think you need to revisit the greyhat area! -> Duplicated Pages.. Panda!

    You can't even guarantee you won't be punished for White hat these days.. I think great content updated regularly can't really go wrong.. or can it?