White Hat Link Building vs Black Hat Link Building: What’s Right for Your Business?

SEO and link building strategies
Image: Unsplash

The Importance of SEO and Backlinks

If you’re running a website, business, or blog, you’ve no doubt heard about the importance of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy. Having good SEO in place means your website will be more visible, you’ll gain more traffic, and, ultimately, you’ll gain more opportunities to turn traffic into customers. 

Backlinks can play a huge role in the success of your SEO strategy. Backlinks give users more confidence in what you’ve got to say as they see you’re vouched for by another site. Overall, it gives your content more authority and builds trust with readers.

What is White Hat Link Building?

To understand what the term ‘white hat link building’ means, it needs to be broken down. Sites like linkflow.ai/white-hat-link-building/ can explain this method in-depth, but in simple terms, ‘white hat’ refers to a style of building links that aims to drive traffic to a website through SEO. 

A quick way to improve your Google SEO ranking in this way is to add relevant links to your articles or website. These links could go to websites, blogs, or any other relevant information on the web. White hat links can also boost your website rankings among powerful search engines like Google. Ranking highly on Google is massively important, and white hat links cater to this. 

They are organic – which means the links are suitable for the article in question – they are relevant, and they are sure to add value for the reader. Overall, being able to access more pertinent information through your website or webpage shows Google you have more quality information to offer on top of the page itself – and for that, search engines reward your site greatly.

What is Black Hat Link Building?

Black hat link building is used with the same goal in mind: to drive traffic to your website. However, black hat SEO uses a very different, often riskier method; it attempts to game search engine algorithms rather than focusing on adding value for the user. 

The dark art of black link building can come under a few different guises, unlike white hat Link building, which is pretty straightforward. Black hat links utilize random redirects, link farming, and paid links to rank highly on search engines, which can be a complex and risky business.

What are Random Redirects?

Black hat link building applies random redirects by stuffing an article full of links with no relevant or useful information for the reader – this is simply to trick search engines into thinking their article adds lots of reader value. It’s even quite often that the links used will connect to a 404 error code as opposed to any actual content!

What are Link Farms and Paid Links?

Another way black hat links can yield results is by using link farms or paid links. Link farms are websites or collections of websites whose sole purpose is to build links. Each website in the ‘farm’ will link out to the webpage the user wants to rank highly. 

Search engines will rank websites higher when they appear to be linked often, and so link farms create this illusion. Paid links are a little more direct, although search engines like Google, among others, strictly ban the use of buying or selling links. 

The Pros and Cons of White Hat Link Building

A huge pro of white hat link building is that it’s future-proof. Although it may take some time to set up and understand what works best and what doesn’t work at all, once you have fathomed the strategy, you can sleep easy with high-quality, authoritative backlinks that will continue to keep your site ranking on the up. 

However, the main con that presents itself when working with white hat links is that they can be labor-intensive. Your content writers will need to spend sufficient amounts of time focusing on the quality of the content they are writing and linking to. Links also need to be well placed to improve the SEO value of the page, so link placement also needs to be well considered.

The Pros and Cons of Black Hat Link Building

The only thing you could consider a pro of using black hat link building is that your website may rank highly very quickly, and you could gain a huge amount of traffic in a short amount of time. However, this is sure to be short-lived; as soon as search engines realize you’ve used black hat strategies, you’re sure to experience the cons right away. 

The cons of working with black hat SEO strategies are numerous. While it’s not always technically illegal, it does go against Google’s guidelines. Google’s guidelines want your site to be interesting, useful, relevant to your readers, and to act in a way that cultivates trust. 

The guidelines also ask that you provide an appropriate amount of content that is unencumbered by distracting advertisements or too many links. To be sure you’re up to date on Google’s guidelines for SEO, click here

So although black hat backlinks may initially yield results, they won’t withstand the test of time, and you will need to be willing to accept the punishment if you’re found out, which is likely with this kind of link building being an easy tactic to spot – especially as sites like Google consistently update their algorithms to identify low-quality and spammy backlinks.

Furthermore, if caught using black hat backlinks, you could get a penalty from a search engine that will cause your web results to drop, your website could be removed altogether, or you could face a nasty fine. You may think this won’t happen to you, but many big-name companies have been hit with Google manual penalties for using black hat methods to boost their SEO – you have been warned!

Tips for using White Hat Link Building

Given the messy method and risk of black hat link building, the best way to optimize your SEO strategy is certainly employing the use of white hat links. There are no consequences, and you can be sure your strategy will keep working well into the future. So, if you want to get started with white link SEO, here are a few tips to take into account: 

Quality Over Quantity

Work to make meaningful connections and provide quality content – no matter how many backlinks you decide to use, you’ll benefit from making them relevant and refined. 

Talk to an Expert 

Getting started with white hat backlinks can certainly be daunting, so consider advice from experts who can plan your backlink strategy for you based on your website and needs. By considering how your current backlink strategy is working, along with other key factors such as how many visitors you attract, what keywords work for you, and your highest converting pages they’ll be able to provide a six-month road map to backlink success.

Look at Your Competitors

If your competitors are consistently ranking higher than you, it could mean they’re working with a more effective SEO strategy. Crawl your competitors using a tool like SEMrush to analyze their backlinks to gain an understanding of what is working well and what isn’t.

Double-Check Your White Hat Backlinks! 

Take the time to ensure all your links are going to the correct place. Any irrelevant or broken links could have a damaging effect, so the extra time and effort put into checking is sure to be worth it.

Collaboration

Lastly, you should consider collaborating with other creators or businesses within a similar field. Making connections with other websites, bloggers, influencers, and marketers and building links to each other’s sites could yield positive results. But remember, any content you link to must be top quality if you want this approach to work!

Conclusion

So, if you’re looking to give your website a boost and want to guarantee search engines are working for you, not against you, you must ensure you’re using white hat link building as opposed to its notorious black hat alter-ego. 

What’s more, you also need to work with a well-considered, quality-focused search engine optimization strategy that’ll maximize your search engine rankings and drive users to your website.
Once that’s taken care of, you can sit back and enjoy the results. Just don’t forget to start working on your next piece of quality content!

Last Updated on October 6th, 2023