31 Aug, 2016 Understanding SEO: White, Black And Grey Hat SEO 31 August 2016 Rachael Hand Digital Insights and Performance Manager As you research SEO across the web, a couple of terms you may keep stumbling across are white hat, black hat and possibly even grey hat SEO. While this way of distinguishing SEO strategies is less common today than in previous years, it is still worth understanding the difference. Essentially White Hat SEO refers to SEO strategies that adhere to the rules set forth by search engines regarding links and content and generally work towards increasing search ranking positions naturally. Black Hat SEO is the opposite strategy. Flouting the rules of SEO and implementing what are often quick fixes to try and effectively manipulate search engines into assigning higher rankings to a website. Grey Hat SEO, as the name suggests is something of a mix between the two and a grey area of SEO. Most grey hat SEO strategies stick to technically approved methods for improving search results however some of these methods may be ethically dubious and therefore likely to be considered black hat in the future. In truth, most SEO strategies are likely to fall into the grey hat category and it should be emphasised that not all SEO strategies are equal. In fact most are tailored very closely to the particular needs and situation of the client in question so one grey hat SEO strategy could be 99% ethical and abide by the rules whereas another could be just 50% ethical. With most SEO tactics it really depends on where your ethics stand as well, as to whether it falls into the white, black or grey hat category but be warned: some SEO tactics are categorically against the rules search engines like Google set forth and other tactics are straight up illegal so you do need to make sure your SEO provider is up front with you about the tactics they’ll be using. At Pixelbuilders we like to keep our SEO strategies as pure as possible. That means we abide by the rules the search engines supply and adhere to their guidelines. More than anything else, this just makes sense. By keeping in line with search engines and best practices, it limits the impact algorithm updates or changes have on our search performance. It also means that when we see our SEO strategies getting good results, we know it’s because we’re awesome at what we’re doing, and not because we’re cheating the system.