SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the method of preparing a website or web page to optimally be recognized and positioned by the search engines, and to drive natural traffic to that website. The methods used to do this, can range from what is considered “White Hat” to “Black Hat”, with “Gray Hat” (we’ll talk about Gray Hat later) resting somewhere in between. When a website is first being built is the best time to begin the optimization process, as the HTML coding is often taken into consideration by the search engines. The content within a website is also a big part of the SEO process, and should be relevant and original.
White Hat SEO’s use methods that are approved by the Search Engines and tend to produce results that last a long time, even if they may take a little longer to achieve. Someone who considers themselves to be a White Hat will generally only have the time to maintain a limited amount of websites, whereas a Black Hat might have hundreds of sites, using link farms and keyword stuffing as there method of SEO. These methods are not approved by the Search Engines, and though they might achieve quicker positioning in the Search Engines, those positions will not last, and once the SE’s do catch one, they not only will lose those positions, they might get banned all together.
A White Hat SEO will also take the visitors and the purpose of the website into consideration when building it and doing SEO. Black Hats will often build many sites, use link farms, stuff the pages and meta tags with keywords, and post a bunch of blog posts with only their links in them. Their sites may not have any clear purpose, except to link to a main site, and they might have a ton of websites that are identical.
In the long run, someone who uses White Hat SEO to get their site noticed by generating organic traffic, will do much better in the Search Engine Positions than a Black Hat will, even if the Black Hat gets there faster. The White Hat will be respected much more by the SE’s, they won’t have to worry about competing as hard to maintain their position(s), and they will be able to more easily maintain their position than the Black Hat.