Search Engine Optimisation comes in many forms ranging from quality content marketing to outright spam and everything in between. It can be tempting to fall for marketing persuasive rhetoric such as “get to the top of Google in 1 day”. So, how can you tell a good SEO agency from a bad one?

The difference between white hat SEO (good marketing) and black hat SEO (bad marketing) is a simple distinction to make, but can sometimes be difficult to classify from the sale pitch of your chosen company.

Back to basics

To improve the position of your web page in search engine results pages (SERP), you have to know how search engines work. Search engines categorize web pages based on keywords, which are important terms that are relevant to the content of the page. Search engines such as Google use keywords to associate your website with a niche market and rank sites with higher relevancy to the market in question.

Trying to trick search engines can lead to great short term success but it never lasts and can even get you banned from appearing at all in the most extreme cases!

What is Black hat SEO?

  • Automated spam
  • Scammers and hackers
  • Sneaky and hidden links or keywords
  • Delivering different content to users and search engines

Black hat SEO usually provides limited short term success and can have a severely negative affect on your website.

What is White hat SEO?

  • Content marketing
  • Website optimisation
  • Link building
  • Community interaction

White hat SEO provides the most reliable long term success.

Does it really matter?

Black hat SEO engineers often make claims that may seem unrealistic and usually are as they tend to care little about business relationships. The focus tends to be on short term profits before moving on to another domain or changing the company name and starting the process again.

White hat SEO engineers tend to get involved with their client’s industry online to help build a presence and brand influence. The focus usually tends to be on the natural way in which a business profile may grow.

In short: if it sounds to good to be true, it usually is.