Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a series of steps or methods used for the website to a good ranking in top search engines, such as Google. These steps are categorized into White Hat, Black Hat, and Gray Hat SEO steps.
The basic idea is that search engine spiders or robots scan the website thoroughly and rank it according to certain algorithm. This ranking is primarily catered to the surfers so that they get the link they want to click when they type in relevant keywords. However, the catch is that the methods used by some SEO firms are not user-friendly and generally not entertained by search engines. Others are risky while some more are truly legal and valid optimization techniques. In short, these have given rise to the Black Hat, Gray Hat SEO, and White Hat steps.
Black Hat SEO
Google has set up some quality guidelines for optimization of a website. When there is a violation of these set of guidelines, Google strongly frowns upon those sites and blacklists them. When the illegal tactics continues, it bans them from getting listed in the search engine.
You could say that Black Hat SEO is spamming of SEO techniques or cheating the spiders when they scan the website for top ranking. The content scanned by the spider is also not the same as that viewed by a surfer. Through link farming and other dubious website design techniques, the website easily gets top ranking. However, this position is only short lived. Within days, the site gets deleted from the search engines.
Gray Hat SEO
Gray Hat is the optimization of a website where steps or methods used are not exactly illegal but the methods can be tweaked in favor of getting undue advantage in ranking but not for the surfers. In such cases, Gray Hat SEO methods are not legal too! And this is not-accepted by search engines.
Some examples of Gray Hat SEO are cloaking, duplicate content, and paid links that are used for link popularity. In short, Gray Hat SEO are risky optimization methods and should be considered after looking into the effects they would generate on the website and the search engines.
White Hat SEO
When SEO methods used in a website conforms to the quality guidelines of Google, it is termed as a White Hat SEO. It deals with the development of quality content based on specific keywords. It offers content to the search engine spiders exactly what the surfer would get to see.
There’s a general saying that White Hat SEO is meant primarily for the users and quality traffic. It is not meant for search engine spiders. As a result, when the content is excellent, inbound links are bound to flow in – generating link popularity.
And, it goes without saying that it is always the legal method which is accepted and has long-term benefits.