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Search Engine Optimization Types

Search Engine Optimization includes white, black, or gray hat SEO. 

What is SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. Organic search engine results are listed after a search query and based on the search engine algorithm. In other words, SEO is increasing the number of internet users who come to see your website or webpage—using search engine techniques to appear at the top of a user’s search results.

One of the essential parts of SEO is understanding how search engines work. You’ll appreciate how SEO techniques work by knowing how the search engine works. So, how does the search engine work? It all begins when a user searches for something on a search engine. A search engine uses “indexing” and “crawling” to better understand the content, index it, and provide it with the proper ranking. 

Other factors that a search engine will look at include whether the content within a URL is high quality, up to date, etc. The search engine then ranks each URL according to how close it is to what the user searched for and which URL closely meets the search engine’s quality standards.

SEO is really “about helping search engines understand and present content.”

Search Engine Optimization Types

Many methods help increase one’s website’s SEO standing. For example, ensuring high-quality content, fast and easy access through many devices, etc. However, all SEO techniques generally fall under three branches: white hat SEO, black hat SEO, and gray hat SEO.

The terms white and black hat were commonly used in the late 1990s. Western films explicitly used the terms to differentiate between the excellent hero and the evil villain. The good guy would wear the white hat, and the villain would wear the black hat. These terms are now used in the tech industry. Especially when it comes to different types of hackers, good hackers who follow the law are described by the term “white hat.” The hackers who participate in the malicious activity are defined by the term “black hat.” These terms are also now used to differentiate activities and methods in SEO. Terms such as White hat, Black hat, and Gray hat SEO.

What is White Hat SEO?

White hat SEO is actions that follow the law and set search engines’ guidelines. This includes ethical techniques that put the user first and improve search engine optimization the right way—some examples of white hat SEO methods based on Google Guidelines—using keywords, back-linking, link building, organic ranking, and audience engagement.

Keeping your website Up to date: ensuring that your content is relevant, provides good service, and excellent quality.

Considering what’s best for users is putting users first by helping them with services, either informing, educating, answering a question, or simply entertaining them.

Descriptive titles: Use descriptive and detailed titles relevant to your content. When the user clicks your link, they expect that what was on your title will also be included in the content.

User-friendly: Make your website more user-friendly and easy to navigate through. Etc.

Your website can work on different devices: Making sure that your website can work on other devices can increase organic traffic because Users can now all enter and see your website.

Opening a social media account: One social media account can increase traffic to your website. For example, followers or subscribers on your social media account will come to see your website. Also, share your website with friends and family. It’s best to link your website to a social media account sooner.

What is Black Hat SEO?

Black hat SEO is the complete opposite of what white hat SEO is. Black hat SEO is an activity that breaks the law and does not follow the set guidelines of search engines—using unethical and malicious methods to improve their search engine optimization. These methods manipulate the search engine’s ranking algorithm.

Examples of Black hat SEO include:

Keyword stuffing is re-using the same word over and over throughout a webpage or website to increase its visibility to search engines and increase organic traffic.

Cloaking:Cloaking refers to presenting different content or URLs to human users and search engines.”

Hidden content or text: includes hidden text and links to manipulate search engine ranking algorithm.

Another area is AI-generated content. Of course, one could argue that this falls under the category of do not use. However, AI for SEO is a great tool and can be used to create solid, unique content. Taking AI-generated content and plastering it on a website without research, updates, and tweaking will only jeopardize the SEO efforts.

What is Gray Hat SEO?

Gray hat SEO is actions on the border between white hat SEO and black hat SEO. Gray hat SEO is not illegal or is not considered illegal by search engine companies. Although gray hat SEO does come very close to black hat SEO activity, it is acceptable. The more detailed meaning of gray hat SEO is that it’s the practice of tactics/techniques that are ill-defined by Google’s published material. For which reasonable people could disagree on how the tactics support or contrast with the spirit of Google’s published guidelines.

Purchasing old domains: These methods work by first buying an old domain. Then, you create a backdoor link in the old domain that connects it to your web page, redirecting the traffic/users from the old domain to your site and increasing your website’s organic traffic.

Opening dummy social media accounts will help improve traffic to your website. Creating dummy accounts will get more followers and increase your presence on social media platforms.

Keyword stuffing: Using the correct number of keywords in your content could increase your ranking. This adds keywords to the point that your content becomes rigid and unreadable. Ensure your content is readable and clear enough, unlike the black hat SEO technique of keyword stuffing.

What are the SEO standards?

Although virtually everyone involved in search engine optimization (SEO) knows what it is, there is no formal definition and no industry standards for SEO. Although SEO theory has proposed a model for SEO standards, web marketers have no interest in forming a standards group to address this vital need.

Google’s SEO standards

The Google search engine is so popular that it’s many times larger than the world’s combined search engines. Specifically, Google holds 92.18 percent of the worldwide search engine market share. Some SEO methods that are allowed by Google on their search engines are:

  • Use good titles that accurately describe your page’s content.
  • Use description meta tags to summarize your content to Google’s search engine.

SEO methods that are not allowed on Google’s search engine and should be avoided are:

  • Use an insufficient or vague title unrelated to your page’s content.
  • Stuff keywords into the page’s content and meta tag description.

What are the risks of using Black Hat SEO or Gray Hat SEO?

Black hat SEO is breaking the SEO rules of a search engine. In contrast, gray hat SEO methods don’t break the rules of a search engine. However, gray hat SEO methods are at the edge of falling under black hat SEO methods. Breaking any search engine’s SEO rules and terms of service can lead to Google Penalizing the website! Hence, such SEO methods can sometimes quickly become unethical and risk the website from being banned.


Picking the right SEO expert depends on whether you want online marketing to be handled correctly or not. There are many different SEO methods, but some ways are best avoided. Black hat SEO can immediately improve your SEO, but it will only last for a short time. Also, your website is at risk of being caught and penalized. The same goes for gray hat SEO methods. Although gray hat SEO methods are not illegal, these methods most closely resemble black hat SEO methods. If gray-hat SEO methods are not used carefully, they can quickly become black-hat. Which then leads to getting penalized.

It’s best to stick with white hat SEO methods, which our online marketing agency practices. Though white hat SEO methods might not drastically improve your SEO overnight, the strategies will ensure that your website continues to rank high and generate website traffic for a longer period!

Have questions on SEO? Need assistance with digital marketing? Contact us today!

Professional Seattle SEO Services Include:


Website Design

We build and oversee websites with a core goal in driving traffic, sales and conversions.

SEO Strategy

Carefully planning an SEO strategy for each business allows our team to target specific goals.


Technical Structure

Technical website structure and backend optimization provide the fundamentals to rank higher.


Monitoring & Enhancing

Effective SEO requires monitoring domain authorities and refining SEO strategies.


Website Analysis

Whether its on-page, off-page SEO, we analyze data and position each website to compete.

Content Strategy

It all falls into delivering content potential customers want to read, explore and expect.

More about Seattle SEO Services

How does SEO work?

I can assure you that SEO is genuine and very important to your website's health. So, what are you thinking? "I've never heard of an SEO? What is SEO? Am I being misled by this salesman?"

Search engines like Google and Bing have to sort through billions of websites to generate accurate search results. How do they quickly take a user's search and respond with pages and results? An algorithm. Algorithms and formulas decide what gets displayed on page one of a search browser; also, pages that rank low follow. This means that your input passes through a series of complex formulas and algorithms, and eventually, hundreds and thousands of web page results are displayed.

Seattle SEO Now, people have gained knowledge and experience through real-life projects. Our company gives websites the traction needed for them to be ranked high. Without getting too nitty-gritty, here is a brief overview. Search engines use keywords to do a lot of heavy lifting when searching for a website. You can get a better SEO rating by repeating keywords and phrases within your website content. Note this does not mean stuffing a web page with keywords!

Everything on your webpage affects SEO ratings in some way. You get a better SEO rating if your title is a good page summary. If links on your page lead viewer to related material, you get a better SEO rating. The main thing to remember is that the core part is that if you have unique and exciting content that holds the viewer's attention, you get better SEO ratings.

Are you interested in more? Read some articles on our SEO blog or contact one of our SEO Experts.

What we do as SEO & Digital Professionals

Seattle SEO Services

Improve Visibility | Increase Targeted Traffic | Target Qualified Leads and Conversions | Website Analysis & Competitor Analysis | Keywords Analysis and Suggestion according to website relevance | SEO Friendly URL Suggestion and Implementation | Optimization of Title Tags and Meta Description Tags | Header Tag Optimization | Optimization of italics and bold tags | Analysis of non-indexable attributes | Robots Optimization | Image Analysis and Optimization of Alt and Title tags | Hyperlink Analysis and Optimization | Optimization of internal Navigation /linking structure | Analysis of Broken Links | Page Content Optimization | Fix Canonicalization error | Website URL Redirection | Improve website performance | High-quality Article Submission | Profile Creation | PDF Submissions | Social Bookmarking submission |Directory submission | Classified posting | Local listing | and more.

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Our Web Agency has worked with many known clients from many industries.