SEO - search engine optimisation - copyright MediaWiki (cc)

This article will discuss the different types of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and list some of the techniques used in SEO.


What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation or SEO refers to the technique of improving a company or specific websites visibility in the search engines (mainly Google), with the ultimate aim of driving more visitors or traffic and increasing profits.

The higher a website ranks in Google, and the larger the amount of relevant keywords the website appears in the Google listings for, the more visitors the website is likely to get.

SEO refers generally to the organic unpaid listings in Google/search engines, as opposed to the sponsored listings that must be paid for. Paid search advertising techniques are usually referred to as SEM (search engine marketing) or PPC (pay per click).

Whitehat SEO

Whitehat SEO is considered to be more ethical and less risky than blackhat or greyhat techniques.

Whitehat SEO doesn’t tend to involve the buying of “paid links” or other SEO techniques that would be considered blackhat.

A typical whitehat SEO campaign might involve improving “onpage SEO” (meaning making client’s website more search engine friendly), and finding high quality websites to place web content such as guides or industry articles.

Directory submission is sometimes be considered whitehat SEO.

Submitting press releases or “Online PR” is a common whitehat SEO technique.

Blackhat SEO

Blackhat SEO is the opposite of whitehat SEO, in that it is more typical to use high risk SEO techniques.

An example of a blackhat technique would be use of XRumer, a tool that submits 1000s of forum posts or comments, creating untold amounts of internet spam.

Due to the risk of being penalised for using blackhat techniques, sensible SEO consultants would usually not recommend using blackhat SEO on company websites, preferring instead if at all to use them “throw-away” domains.

The quality of Google’s spam detection algorithms means that blackhat SEO techniques are now seen by many as less effective than in the past.

Greyhat SEO

Greyhat SEO is a very common form of SEO. The concept of greyhat SEO is that is a mixture of white and blackhat.

A typical greyhat SEO campaign may involve the purchasing of a small amount of text-links and other search advertising, along with article submissions and other typical SEO techniques.

Greyhat SEO does involve some risk.

Ethical SEO

The concept of blackhat and whitehat is in some ways painted as an ethical question. Spammier techniques like comment spam are seen as unethical, whereas high quality SEO such as online PR is seen to be ethical.

SEO spam contributes to a small but significant amount of web traffic on the internet. Some servers/forums/websites can be eventually over-run with spam.

Unethical SEO often is more risky. Business owners that engage in risky or unethical SEO are taking a risk that in a very short space of time and website or websites involved in spam activity could be banned from Google.

Useful websites

If you are looking for professional help with your SEO we recommend Manchester based SEO company Search Candy.

Some useful resources that explain more about SEO and the different types of SEO:


What is SEO? A video that briefly summarises what SEO is.

A more detailed video that discusses the difference between whitehat and blackhat SEO, that features an interview with Bruce Clay.

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