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S.E.O. Hats for beginners, Whats it all about?

Author: Carl Heaton
He is our senior instructor and originally from Manchester UK. Carl teaches our Web Design and Online Marketing Courses.
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So, you have been trying to learn online marketing and you keep coming across terms like black hat and white hat SEO and your a little confused… well I’m going to learn you good on the basics.

There are literally hundreds of techniques to each methodology but in the interest of keeping it concise I have not gone in to too much depth on each one, feel free to learn more ,but please, for my sake and the sake of the internet , walk towards the light and don’t go to the dark side…. Luke.

The good


This is White hat, I like this and I am strongly dedicated to everything white. It’s about integrity and not taking the easy route. Also, your white hat efforts will last for years to come as opposed to black where your site may get de-Googled tomorrow.

One white tactic is create content that is adding value to the internet, how to’s, information, videos that make people smile, or where the user can learn something.
Producing content that is actually worth the time it takes to produce it, is valuable to the internet as a whole and the people who use it.

Another is doing regular keyword research that addresses what people are searching for around your subject and produce content that addresses that need.
I have read that you should have about 4-5% keyword optimised content, however, there is suddenly recognition of LDA (Latent Dirichlet Allocation) which is an search algorithm that has been around for some time.

Simply put, the ability of the search engine to understand the context of your content.

So, instead of putting the same word or variations into the post, be creative and think about the context of your post and use many variations of the idea.

The last White hat technique is about generating quality links, which is the internet giving you the public thumbs up and tapping Google on the shoulder and pointing you out.

Links from relevant sites that are similar to yours are what matters, remember the LDA?… yeah it’s internet wide not just on your site, relevancy and context are all the keys. Look to other posts about how to make content that is naturally linkable.

A simple way to get a good quality link from a site that is similar to yours is by writing quality content and giving it to others to post on their site, sharing is caring.


The Bad


Black hat techniques can earn you a lot of money, they really can. As much as it pains me to say it, the techniques do work. BUT, only for a short time, you will eventually get penalised for your black hatting the nets.

There is a reason people who use these techniques, set up multiple sites, the more cannon fodder you have the longer you can last on the battle field.

I do not endorse, recommend or approve of these techniques I think that people who do are not good internet citizens; although as people (and I know a few personally) there can be some of the coolest, smarted doods you may ever meet.

I am not going to list what the techniques are, as I do not want any of our trainees to think that we provide education for this sort of thing. I also don’t want your pretty little head being filled up with this nasty.

But, There are tonnes of techniques for black hat, like hiding content, Keyword stuffing, content spinning, click fraud, ad sense and link farms, link manipulation, paid links, parasite hosting (sounds as nasty as it is), code injection and on and on and on… Go nuts looking these up, if you really want to learn more.

Good internet citizens like you and me don’t use these techniques and if you do see someone doing it, feel free to complain to Google

The Ugly


Grey hat is SEO that falls between the cracks doing stuff that is not really bad, but its just not really good either, its also stuff that is done by people who don’t really know better, so you cant hold it against them you just have to sigh, shake your head and wish them the best hoping that they will join you or your quest to ride the white hat pony into the sunset.

They will take a bit from here, a bit from there and do everything at once, I think the best quote I have see about grey is “It’s nice to have ethics, but its nicer to make money..”

Duplicate content posting is a very common grey hat technique, where site publishers will go to another site and scrape the information off the site then re-posting it on their site as their own.

Some people thing that by having a link back to the original publication that this will somehow circumvent the fact your re-posting someone else’s work as your own, but I’m sorry to say, that even though it’s a nice thing to do the search engines don’t really care.

can you recap?… sure!


As you can see I have only just touched the edges of these techniques and I think you may get my point that Black hat is bad, like witches and things that go bump in the night.

Grey hat is for the silly people who don’t know any better, like people who think that Internet explorer is the only browser that you can use to get online.

White hat is the level 60 elf paladin who rides his white steed with the fair maiden behind him into the sunset with a bunch of flowers in his hand for his mother and a pocket full of money that he is giving to a charity.

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