Black hat/white hat - what does it really mean?

20 replies
Hi,

Being fairly new to IM and even newer into the WF (great site by the way), I just feel a wee bit intimidated because all you guys seem to be real experts!

That aside though, what I find really great is that everyone is more than willing to help each other and pass on their expertise.

I keep seeing this term 'black hat and white hat' and I think it is related to SEO somehow but have no idea what it is about.

I tried a search of WF for the terms but nothing came up.

Is there someone that can explain exactly what this is in newbie terms for me please?

Many thanks

Trish
#black #hat #hat or white
  • Profile picture of the author OpenBookSupport
    White hat : is that of affiliate marketing the fair one .

    Black hat : the dark side of marketing , it includes spamming,e-whoring and other unethical ways of making money online .
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    • Profile picture of the author R.Rapp
      In SEO white hat techniques are ways to optimize your site that are in line with search engine guidelines - non duplicated content, optimal keyword densities, etc.

      Black Hat techniques are spammy techniques such as, using text and links that blend in with your websites background to increase your keywords.
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    • Profile picture of the author Osman_M
      Originally Posted by OpenBookSupport View Post

      White hat : is that of affiliate marketing the fair one .

      Black hat : the dark side of marketing , it includes spamming,e-whoring and other unethical ways of making money online .
      Smack on. Some black hat techniques believe it or not use to be white hat back in the days but now its all changed.
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  • Profile picture of the author TrishMullen
    Thanks very much Jackdeff for coming back on that so quickly. So it's not actually a formal phrase, it's more how IM's refer to both of these things. THat makes absolute sense to me now. Great stuff!
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    • Profile picture of the author Shoaib
      Originally Posted by TrishMullen View Post

      So it's not actually a formal phrase, it's more how IM's refer to both of these things. THat makes absolute sense to me now. Great stuff!
      I always see this question being asked and then people reaching this conclusion. Actually, "White Hat" and "Black Hat" are not terms invented by internet marketers. White and black hats apply to any area in life.

      You could sell fish for a living... you could use white hat ways to run your fishing business and make money, your competitor could be employing black hat stuff that you don't agree with and hope he gets busted for it one day.

      There could be 2 girls going after the same guy. One could use "white hat" ways to get close to him, such as conversating, getting to know him, going out for dinner etc. The other, in desperate attempts to beat the first girl, could use black hat ways of getting close to the guy.. such as talking dirty, being outright seductive, going out for dinner then seducing him to come inside her place afterwards, etc. The first girl doesn't agree with the 2nd one's methods because she's a white hat, the 2nd one laughs at the first one because she's a black hat.

      Black hat techniques may work temporarily, but white hat is the way to go for a long term solution.

      Then there's something called GREY hat as well!!

      White hat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Black hat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      EDIT: Grey hat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  • Profile picture of the author George Wright
    Just some examples.

    Craigs List: White hat, You advertise a Car for sale and Sell that Car to someone.

    Craigs List: Black hat, You advertise a Car for sale. You don't even own a car but when people call or email you say, "I sold that car but check this out." And then you send them to a CPA offer sponsored by a Car Dealer or Auto Mag or ???

    Dating Nich: White Hat: You advertise for a date for your self and go on a date.

    Black hat: You advertise for a date for your self and they end up on a dating service CPA offer.

    White Hat: You advertise your LapTop for sale and sell it.

    Black Hat: You advertise your LapTop for sale and your "customer" ends up on a CPA offer sponsored by a Computer Company.

    Of course where I say CPA above you could substitute Affiliate product, Adsense Site, etc.

    I think.

    George Wright
    Signature
    "The first chapter sells the book; the last chapter sells the next book." Mickey Spillane
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    • Profile picture of the author CDawson
      Banned
      Originally Posted by George Wright View Post

      Just some examples.

      Craigs List: White hat, You advertise a Car for sale and Sell that Car to someone.

      Craigs List: Black hat, You advertise a Car for sale. You don't even own a car but when people call or email you say, "I sold that car but check this out." And then you send them to a CPA offer sponsored by a Car Dealer or Auto Mag or ???

      Dating Nich: White Hat: You advertise for a date for your self and go on a date.

      Black hat: You advertise for a date for your self and they end up on a dating service CPA offer.

      White Hat: You advertise your LapTop for sale and sell it.

      Black Hat: You advertise your LapTop for sale and your "customer" ends up on a CPA offer sponsored by a Computer Company.

      I think.

      George Wright
      George,

      Those are indeed good examples. Black hat is basically all of the unethical parts of Internet Marketing, just like unethical decisions in real life (for example: stealing something rather than buying it).
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  • Profile picture of the author cashcow
    I don't think blackhat is necessarily only things that the average person might consider "unethical".

    In the search engines eyes it also encompasses anything that you might do for the express purpose of increasing your sites rankings. Such as buying links, exchanging links, using those link profile packets where you join just to leave your spammy link in the profile, leaving comments on tons of blogs just to get links etc....

    Lee
    Signature
    Gone Fishing
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Some black hat is flat out unethical or even illegal.

      And then you have other things considered black hat because a certain site,
      like Google, says you shouldn't do it.

      This is where we get into a very gray area and where a lot of black hatters
      will argue that they're doing nothing wrong...or at least nothing so vile
      and despicable that they should be boiled in oil.

      After getting quite a black hat education from some of the knowledgeable
      people here kind enough to share these things (no, I don't use them myself)
      I can honestly say that some of it really borders on white hat and some of
      the stuff we consider white hat borders on black.

      For example, anything done for the purpose of influencing site rankings,
      at least according to Google, is black hat.

      So my writing articles and submitting them to Ezine Articles with links in
      the resource box to my sites, for the purpose of getting backlinks and
      increasing my site rank, in the eyes of Google, is wrong.

      And that's just one example.

      Truth is, many people REALLY don't understand what true black hat is.

      Even I sometimes have problems in this area.

      The really obvious stuff, like cookie stuffing a visitor to your site
      interested in just ONE product, with cookies for 100 products, is just
      flat out wrong. And even this, some people will defend it.

      Ultimately, you need to be your own conscience when it comes to this
      stuff.

      What I do strongly recommend is not doing something that carries a strong
      chance of you being banned from a site, or worse, prosecuted by the
      FTC.

      Unfortunately, the only way to know what these things are is to familiarize
      yourself with the TOS and laws of sites and governing bodies.

      That in itself can be a time consuming education.

      As much as I try to stay on the right side of the law (especially with the
      latest FTC commotion) I am not 100% sure of every marketing law that's
      out there.

      So what I do is look to see what people who I trust do, and emulate them.

      And that in itself is NOT a fool proof method as they can, inadvertently,
      do something that is either black hat or illegal...though unlikely, especially
      if they've been marketing for many years.

      This is a round about way of saying, go with your gut when it comes to
      doing whatever it is you're going to do, but don't trust it 100%.

      That's why they have lawyers.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kevin Maguire
        Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

        Some black hat is flat out unethical or even illegal.

        And then you have other things considered black hat because a certain site,
        like Google, says you shouldn't do it.

        This is where we get into a very gray area and where a lot of black hatters
        will argue that they're doing nothing wrong...or at least nothing so vile
        and despicable that they should be boiled in oil.

        After getting quite a black hat education from some of the knowledgeable
        people here kind enough to share these things (no, I don't use them myself)
        I can honestly say that some of it really borders on white hat and some of
        the stuff we consider white hat borders on black.

        For example, anything done for the purpose of influencing site rankings,
        at least according to Google, is black hat.

        So my writing articles and submitting them to Ezine Articles with links in
        the resource box to my sites, for the purpose of getting backlinks and
        increasing my site rank, in the eyes of Google, is wrong.

        And that's just one example.

        Truth is, many people REALLY don't understand what true black hat is.

        Even I sometimes have problems in this area.

        The really obvious stuff, like cookie stuffing a visitor to your site
        interested in just ONE product, with cookies for 100 products, is just
        flat out wrong. And even this, some people will defend it.

        Ultimately, you need to be your own conscience when it comes to this
        stuff.

        What I do strongly recommend is not doing something that carries a strong
        chance of you being banned from a site, or worse, prosecuted by the
        FTC.

        Unfortunately, the only way to know what these things are is to familiarize
        yourself with the TOS and laws of sites and governing bodies.

        That in itself can be a time consuming education.

        As much as I try to stay on the right side of the law (especially with the
        latest FTC commotion) I am not 100% sure of every marketing law that's
        out there.

        So what I do is look to see what people who I trust do, and emulate them.

        And that in itself is NOT a fool proof method as they can, inadvertently,
        do something that is either black hat or illegal...though unlikely, especially
        if they've been marketing for many years.

        This is a round about way of saying, go with your gut when it comes to
        doing whatever it is you're going to do, but don't trust it 100%.

        That's why they have lawyers.
        This is truely the best answer I have seen regarding the subject of WH V's BH.
        I take my White/Grey/Black Hat off to you Sir.
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  • Profile picture of the author Martin Roch
    Hi Trish,

    Many of the big players in internet marketing believe that the black hat techniques that worked in the early days of search engines are now completely obsolete because seach engine technology is now so much more advanced.

    People may still be using the term and there are certainly information products out there that have the term in their titles but I wouldn't personally waste my time or money on them.

    Remember, any search engine's prime directive is to find:
    a) relevant information for searchers and...
    b) quality information for searchers

    Relevance is determined by "on page criteria" e.g the keywords used in the domain name, page title, meta tags and body text (BTW search engines will no longer fall for the trick of writing keywords in the same colour as the background, they are way too smart for black hat SEOers)

    Quality is measured by human response or "off page criteria" e.g how many incoming links (back links) there are, the quality of the back linking sites, how long people stay on the site, how often they return etc. etc.

    The bottom line - make sure you have used relevant keywords for the on page criteria and that you provide great quality content to satisfy the off page criteria.

    I have a great e-booklet on the subject, written by Ken Evoy, that's really easy going (even I understood it). If you want a copy just e-mail me my contact details are on my website -see sig. file

    Hope this is useful

    Take care

    Martin
    Signature
    Discover the truth - how this 49 year old PE teacher learnt the secret to successfully making money online! www.martin-roch.com
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  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    White hat means you can't get in trouble for it.

    Grey hat means you might get in trouble, but it's minor trouble, like someone says "WTF cut it out."

    Black hat means you might get in serious trouble, ranging from banning and account deletion all the way up to having your assets seized and going to prison.

    There's a big range. A lot of black hat stuff is really pretty stupid and minor in terms of what can happen, but once you're hanging around over there with those people, you might very well get advised to do something that can land you in jail.
    Signature
    "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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  • Profile picture of the author oddworldstranger
    Wow i love the way you guys broke this down, pretty interestign stuff, however alot of internet marketer do the black hat way, for me is it not ideal. if you deliver value you don't have to go Black hat..
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  • Profile picture of the author JSL Publishing
    Hey Trish,

    Do you remember I Spy? from the MAD comic books? The white Spy was the good spy always following what Google SAYS... Now the Black Spy would stretch what Google Says.. This does not mean Black hats are evil.. I've got first hand knowledge Black hats are very smart.

    All the Best,

    Jan

    Originally Posted by TrishMullen View Post

    Hi,

    Being fairly new to IM and even newer into the WF (great site by the way), I just feel a wee bit intimidated because all you guys seem to be real experts!

    That aside though, what I find really great is that everyone is more than willing to help each other and pass on their expertise.

    I keep seeing this term 'black hat and white hat' and I think it is related to SEO somehow but have no idea what it is about.

    I tried a search of WF for the terms but nothing came up.

    Is there someone that can explain exactly what this is in newbie terms for me please?

    Many thanks

    Trish
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  • Profile picture of the author mrgoe
    Black hat, things that most often get past the tos limits of any and every wwebsite, getting close to illegal even. Where you wouldn't want peopel to know your address and persoonal info.
    White hat, legal, stuff, that would never get you in trouble
    Signature
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  • Profile picture of the author edhuu
    IMO, black hat = short term business.. white hat = long term business
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  • Profile picture of the author MisterMunch
    The scale between white hat, gray hat and black hat is just a scale, and you decide for yourself where you set your limits.

    A white hat SEO act as if she did not know SEO existed. The links are from random blog visitors who liked the content and wanted to share it with their own readers or social media followers. This is how Google want it to be like, and how I wish my blog traffic grew. I also like unicorns.

    Gray hat is when you do white hat SEO with a little extra push. Contacting webmasters to ask for links, build web 2.0 blogs to promote your content and improve rankings, register at social media accounts where you are not really expecting any traffic exept from an increase in PR and rankings.

    Google might find out about your gray hat SEO and (automatically) decide if they want to reward it, ignore it or punish it. You do it because you want the reward, but if you take it to far you will get punished.

    Ideally you would work in the white hat area as much as possible and incude some gray hat activities to get some action without taking to much risk. Gray hat is working outside of the Google guidelines or finding openings in the guidelines that you can exploit.

    Black hat SEO is automatic activities for building backlinks. Submit to 50 social media accounts or building 100 forum profiles. Black hat is also showing something different to google than to your visitor in an attempt to trick the algo. Breaking the guidelines through buying PR links or activly spamming other websites with your links.

    Some might call the gray had methods mentioned white hat or black hat depending on what they feel is right and wrong. Black hat does not have to be illigal, but it is against "normal" web activity in order to hack Google algo to increase rankings.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rishy
    Basically there are 3 types of hat - white, grey and black. White is using techniques to rank in google using legit techniques. White hat marketing requires more effort. Black hat marketing is all about shortcuts -using shortcuts ton achieve faster ranking. Black hat marketing may help you achieve rankings fast but in the long run it doesn't work. Grey hat techniques are those which are neither white nor black.
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  • Profile picture of the author Eyeflow
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