SEO's Many Colorful Hats
Are you a fan of old western movies? If so, you’ll immediately recognize that the cowboy in the white hat is the “good guy”, while the dastardly villain wearing the black hat should be avoided. Gray hats may not have been common in the movies, but they are abundant when it comes to SEO. Steer well clear of any ass hats. They are the worst!
All joking aside, SEO done right does not have to be expensive, although it does need to be done properly. Unethical practices and the near certainty of getting caught are not worth any temporary reward.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is extremely important, yet widely misunderstood
If you have a website (and even if you don’t!), you have almost certainly received emails (unsolicited, of course) offering to catapault your website into the top results of search engines. BE CAREFUL! Most such offers utilize what are known as Black Hat techniques, which violate the search engines’ terms of service. You could receive a temporary boost in rankings, if you see any increase at all, and then you might find yourself penalized by being removed from all search results.
Black Hat SEO Summary
Black Hat SEO refers to an aggressive set of tactics intended to increase a site's or page's ranking in search engines through means which violate the search engines' terms of service. This technique is frequently used by those more interested in a quick financial return on their website rather than a long-term investment on their website.
White Hat SEO Summary
White Hat SEO is the opposite of Black Hat SEO. White Hat SEO refers to any practice that improves your site's search rankings on a search engine results page (SERP) while maintaining the integrity of your website, and remaining within the search engines' terms of service.
Gray Hat SEO Summary
Wait. What? Yes, there is actually Gray Hat SEO. It is merely the mixture of pure white, which means doing things properly, mixed with some strategies that might bend a few rules. Gray Hat SEO is designed to help speed up results, yet minimize the risk of penalties by the search engines.