The SEO techniques you use on your web page or in your articles do matter to the search engine spiders. Ethical, appropriate techniques are known as White Hat, in reference to the good guys, while Black Hat techniques, or outlawed strategies, are the ones to avoid. While both can work, at least temporarily to increase your page rankings, Black Hat techniques will usually cause you harm in the long run – and may even get your site banned.
White Hat SEO
White Hat SEO techniques include the appropriate use of keyword placement, creating links to sites from content that is relevant to both sites and commenting on other sites, leaving a link to your own site in your comment or signature. Other White Hat techniques include pingbacks from sites that choose to link to yours through their own content, social media connections and the use of tags in both content and on images in your site. All of these strategies are ethical and can help increase the rank of your site and the incoming traffic that ranking causes for searchers.
Black Hat SEO
Black Hat techniques are less than scrupulous and while they can offer a temporary increase in traffic, they will harm you in the long run. Some Black Hat techniques include buying links, spamming other unrelated sites with comments that include links , also known as farming links, as well as some areas that aren’t as clear. For example, copyrights and keywords can sometimes be used in Black Hat manner. It is difficult to determine if a keyword can be copyrighted, but there are terms that “belong” to certain brands or websites and targeting those keywords can cause problems, particularly if it is an ongoing practice. By targeting copyrighted keywords, you are more likely to get sued, rather than your website getting banned.
Using duplicate content, particularly duplicate content that belongs to someone else is not only Black Hat, it is outright illegal, known as plagiarism. While this technique used to be fairly common, known as page jacking, it is now seen more often as article duplication. Even if the content is your own to begin with, content duplication is generally considered unethical and falls into the category of Black Hat SEO. The worst cases of duplication are usually used by webmasters who duplicate entire sites to generate AdSense revenue.
The bottom line is if you are using practices that compromise the integrity of either your site or someone else’s site, you are using Black Hat SEO techniques. Black Hat techniques aren’t necessarily illegal, but they are considered unethical by many in Internet commerce. Why take the risk of crossing a line that can damage your reputation, personally or professionally?
Acceptable SEO Techniques
Learning how to use proper, accepted SEO practices is relatively easy and will build your traffic and your site ranking in a way that will generate good will and respect among the Internet community. The time and effort to do things appropriately will pay off every time.