There are a lot of different factors to know after you create a website, but one of the most important, perhaps, is to understand SEO. To most people, there’s only one kind of SEO, and it’s a magical set of tricks you can use to make your website rank higher in search engine results.
In reality, SEO doesn’t involve much magic (just strategic planning) and there are several different types. Typically, they fall under four main categories:
- White hat
- Black hat
- Grey hat
- Negative SEO
They’re all aimed at helping you rank better in search results, but they differ in how long it takes to see results, the costs involved, and overall value.
What Are the Different Types of SEO?
We’re going to delve into the four main categories and break them down so you can better understand what they are and how they can work for your website.
Black Hat SEO
Black is a nefarious color often associated with evil, mystery, and death – and there’s a reason experts call this type of SEO “black hat” rather than, say, “pink hat.” It’s all about breaking the rules.
Black hat will sometimes get you the results you want (and fast), but it generally goes against all of the policies published in Google Webmaster Guidelines. In fact, many black hat SEO tactics are specifically forbidden (like keyword stuffing) and these unethical tactics could quickly get your website banned from search results.
Are fast SEO results really worth that risk? We don’t think so.
White Hat SEO
The much safer, albeit slower, white hat SEO adheres to Google’s regulations and, ultimately, delivers a better result. While it may take longer to get going, white hat results tend to compound over time, so the longer you use them, the better your results will be.
What’s the difference? Well, while black hat focuses on tactics used to “trick” search engines into thinking a site has quality content, white hat focuses on actually creating quality content. It’s about the audience and what they’ll respond to and, in the long run, it helps attract loyal, repeat traffic, thus positively influencing SEO.
White hat SEO can also include the process of working on your local listings, if you are a local business. This simple means claiming and creating listings for your business on Google Maps, Facebook, and other big name directories online. Making sure your information is correct and consistent online is an easy way to help boost rankings, and it’s safe!
Grey Hat SEO
If black hat is bad and white hat is good, then grey must be somewhere in the middle, right? Not exactly. According to SEO Consultant John Andrews, grey hat SEO isn’t something between black hat and white hat, but rather “the practice of tactics/techniques which remain ill-defined by published material coming out of Google, and for which reasonable people could disagree on how the tactics support or contrast with the spirit of Google’s published guidelines.”
It’s true that grey hat doesn’t necessarily break any rules, but it’s still not the best policy.
Ouch. That just sounds bad, right? Why would you want to use negative SEO?
Well, actually, after you create a website, negative SEO isn’t something you do to your own site. It’s the practice of using black hat techniques to intentionally sabotage a competitor’s website. The tactics can take a lot of different forms:
- Hacking a website
- Copying proprietary content and freely distributing it
- Creating fake social profiles
- Adding spammy links to comments or reviews
It should go without saying that this is HIGHLY unethical, and also frowned upon by the people over at Google.
Using Website Creator to Help Manage SEO
When you create a website, one of the best moves you can make is to install a quality SEO plugin. They take a lot of the work off your plate so you can concentrate on other things (like creating lots of great content!) instead.
There are a lot of plugins that you can use, such as Yoast SEO, All in One SEO Pack, and even JetPack’s built in SEO features.
When most people think about SEO, what they have in mind is the white hat variety . . . and that’s A-OK. If you’re only going to be aware of one type of SEO, that should be it!
If you want to learn more about how to create a website that’s SEO-friendly, or how to avoid being targeted by negative SEO, call us today. Our expert design team will help you create a custom website that’s sure to show up high in all the search engine ranking results.