The Types of SEO

Types of SEO is here to explain the difference between good and bad search engine optimization (SEO) to those who are not familiar with it. It is also a good reminder for those well-meaning SEO consultants who may have strayed into the dark side.

White Hat SEO

White hat SEO, as the name suggests, is clean and wholesome, and the type of search engine optimization service most businesses would want for their website. To put it in more accessible terms, white hat SEO is to search engine marketing what organically grown food is to a healthy diet. It is not only wholesome and ethical, but is also sustainable. Of course, developing organic and sustainable rankings (just like organic food) requires a lot of time and care. Naturally, this is reflected in the cost of practicing white hat SEO, whether you do it yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. The good news is, however, that the initial higher cost of developing a sustainable SEO strategy, and implementation thereof, translates into cost savings in the long term.

White hat SEO tactics, techniques, and strategies are those which adhere to guidelines set by the search engines, and involve no deception. White hat search engine optimization merely seeks to provide the most search engine friendly presentation of useful content which is inherently valuable and specifically designed for human consumption.

Another important characteristic of white hat SEO is that it cannot generate great results for poor quality content.


Researching relevant keywords, both short ail and long tail keywords
Including keywords naturally in page titles, headings, link anchor text, other page content, and alt tags
Studying analytics reports and fine-tuning the content to further optimize it for targeted keywords and to help direct traffic to relevant pages
Adding fresh content regularly


Using correct HTML markup (for example, heading tags) so that search engines can identify headings and other types of content correctly
Making sure that all the code is valid (or at least won't stop search engine bots)
Creating site maps so that every page is linked to and search engine bots can crawl every page
Using CSS to separate content from markup and thus increase keyword density by having less markup to crawl


Creating quality content that other people will want to link to
Asking to have directories and other relevant websites link to the site
Optimizing pages for social media in the hopes of attracting social media links
Arranging for link exchanges with relevant sites (considered by some to be gray hat SEO)
Black Hat SEO

Black hat SEO, as you may have already guessed (assuming you read the part about white hat SEO) is the evil brother. It is slick, talks a fast game, and can get you on the top ten list for a while, but your website, and ultimately you, may end up paying a very high price for letting the evil brother be your guide. Going back tot he food reference, you can think of white hat SEO as the fat infused fast food, or the sugary treat full of high fructose corn syrup--it tastes so good and makes you crave more of it. Unfortunately, the goodness comes at a cost, which can be a debilitating and even life-threatening illness in the case of your body, and a penalized or banned website in the case of, well, your website.

Black hat SEO, unlike its wholesome kin, uses tricks, schemes, and games to circumvent the algorithmic barriers set up by the search engines to prevent bad content from gaining high rankings in the search engine result pages (SERPs).

Black hat SEO is not to be mistaken for plain bad search engine optimization which is the result of either lack of knowledge or cutting corners.


Keyword stuffing
Overusing keywords in comment tags, alt tags, and meta tags
Placing keywords in hidden text (hidden from people, that is) by making their font color the same color as the page background
Overusing keywords in visible text, to the point where their repetition is apparent to readers

Deceptive content

Doorway or gateway pages: pages that are stuffed with keywords but that only search engines see because people are redirected to the page with the real content
Cloaking: displaying different content to search engines than to people by identifying visitors via IP or via other methods


Link farms: pages with unrelated links solely for the purpose of creating more links to target pages
Spamming forums, blogs, and other social media sites with links (search engines might not penalize sites for this, but it's considered unethical)
Gray Hat SEO

Gray hat SEO is not necessarily black hat; however, it can be just as damaging to your website in the long run. Bad search engine optimization is usually the result of taking shortcuts and picking services based only on price. Here are some signs to help you find figure out if you are having bad SEO done (or about to be done) to your website:

The SEO (search engine optimizer) guarantees top ten results in search engines
The SEO promises hundreds of new links for your website each month
The SEO promises dozens of new articles for your site per month (at an unusually low price)--this usually means they are being written in developing countries where the writers’ native language is not English)
Your website is being optimized for over 100 keywords but is only comprised of six pages (that you know of)
The SEO promises to submit your website to the search engines on a monthly basis so that your pages will not get de-indexed
You are told that the content of your website will be rewritten with the ‘optimal’ keyword density in mind.
You are offered 300 ‘spun’ versions of the same article for publication across the web
You are promised the optimization of the (all important) keyword meta tag for all of your web pages
You are offered three full-time link development technicians for $1000 (or pick your own ridiculously low dollar-amount) per month


Having a keyword density that's high enough to sound unnatural but not at the level of black hat keyword stuffing
Publishing duplicate content at different sites


Link building where relevance is less important
Planned three-way linking
Using paid links

On Page SEO

On page SEO is the process of optimizing the content of your website. This includes the text, images and links on your website. Anything uploaded to your site's domain is considered on page.

Components of On Page SEO

There are several key factors of on page SEO. One of the most discussed factors is keyword density. Keyword density is given as a percentage. The percent value represents the number of times a keyword or phrase appears compared to the total number of words on a page. Other on page factors include the total amount of indexable text a page has as well as the usage of bold text and headings.

On Page SEO & Meta Tags

To properly optimize a page it is necessary to add the proper tags to the page. This includes adding ALT tags to images. ALT tags are short and description and will show up when a user mouses over the image. Other tags include meta tags like keywords and descriptions both used by spiders to return relevant search results.

On Page SEO & Titles

One of the most heavily weighted tags in regards to on page optimization is the title tag. The title tag is also the link that a user sees and clicks on when they run a search. Title tags should contain relevant keywords used to describe that the page is about.

Off page SEO

Off page SEO or search engine optimisation is doing things off site to improve your sites search engine rankings. The only thing you can do off site to incraese your rankings is build up more links. More links will generally lead to better Google PageRank and better search engine rankings.>

When you are trying to get more links you need to think about quality, not all links are created equal and links from low quality sites will have little or no impact on your rankings. The best types of links that you can get are from trusted sources such as universities, newspapers and even some of the top notch directories such as dmoz and Yahoo.

It is sometimes difficult to spot the good links; here are a few questions you should ask yourself when you are looking at sites or pages to get links from:
  • Is this site or page relevant to what I do?
  • Is this site linking out to any low quality off topic sites?
  • Is this site or page going to send the right sort of traffic?
  • Is this site or page ranking well in the search engines?
  • Does this site have a lot of links from other websites?
Another important factor is the way that the sites link to you, sites that use the rel=nofollow tag to link to you or sites that use a redirect to link to you will not help you, also the search engines look at the text that links to you, if you are trying to rank for the phrase blue widgets and you can get a site to link to you including that phrase in the text or alt tag of the link then that is going to help you to rank higher for that particular phrase.

Take these things into consideration, then check out our link building articles and you are on your way towards good off page SEO and good rankings in the search engines.