Because of the fact that there is a lot of money at stake, technologies such as Google’s search engine are always open for abuse and it always comes back down to someone’s desire to make money. Consequently, SEO services (Search Engine Optimisation) come in two different forms, namely white hat SEO and black hat SEO.
Actually I’d go as far as saying SEO comes in three different forms, including grey hat SEO which is somewhere in between white hat and black hat SEO.
White Hat SEO
White hat search engine optimisation is a service offered by SEO specialists or SEO companies who try to achieve their mandate of getting your website ranked highly in the search engines and they use legitimate tactics to achieve that mandate. By “legitimate” tactics I mean those tactics which are given the all-clear by the search engines; in other words those which fall in line with the terms of services of those search engines, Google being the one setting the standard.
Black Hat SEO
There is just as big a black hat SEO market, if not bigger than white hat SEO, quite simply because for some people it’s about big short term results and profits and they have no desire to take a longer term view on their SEO exploits. Short-term black hat SEO tactics will eventually lead to Google banning you, but during the time over which your online business was operational you may reap the rewards of high Google rankings. Unfortunately, that’s how many individuals chasing their fortune online think, but what’s even more unfortunate is that that’s how some SEO companies think as well. This is where and why you need to be careful not to get sucked into the dark side of SEO, particularly if longevity and reputation are priorities.
Grey Hat SEO
Grey hat SEO is not an official term, but it does indeed exist and it refers to those SEO specialists or SEO service providers who dabble in both the good and bad approach to SEO. It’s definitely not a good idea either because the little bit of bad contaminates the good side of it so that the next Penguin update render the whole effort redundant.
The challenge which comes into play, though, is the undeniable fact that it’s difficult to know for sure which tactics your SEO service provider uses to get you the results until it’s too late, so you could be putting your online business or website at risk of penalisation or of getting banned completely just by entrusting your SEO needs to the wrong search engine optimisation company.
The best way to avoid getting sucked into the dark side is to choose a reputable SEO company, that is able to explain clearly and openly which key steps they will take on their quest to get your site indexed. They should be willing to share with you the overview at least, such as a how they build backlinks for instance.