Link building services are available right across the world. Link building, when done right, can provide you with a great return on your website investment in the long term. However, when it’s done wrong, it can really jeopardize your website and your overall SEO efforts. As an agency starting out providing services in the link building industry, it’s important to find a provider that offers not only quality backlinks, but backlinks that abide by Google rules and regulations. For agencies or individuals looking to find a quality provider, this article will give you a run down on the difference between White Hat and Black Hat link building services and how to spot the difference. So let’s get started.
What Is White Hat Link Building?
White Hat link building is a term used for link building which offers low risk to website owners. It generally falls within the guidelines of webmasters which is laid out by major search engines such as Google. With White Hat Link building you’ll have less chance of encountering little problems when it comes to penalties. Using services that offer White Label link building are the best option you can choose to help with your SEO efforts.
What Do White Hat Link Building Methods Look Like?
White Hat link building methods general are as followed:
- Creation of Unique, Quality and Insightful Content
When link building, it’s important you write and create brand new content that hasn’t been used or seen before. Content that is unique is important because when Google and other search engines index it with your dofollow backlink, it helps to boost your ranking and SEO efforts better because Google doesn’t have to compare it against duplicate content and decide which version of the duplicate content is more beneficial to the website. To know if a link building service is using unique content for your campaign, here’s how you can tell:
- After it’s gone live, copy and paste the content into plagiarism checkers like Copyscape.com. If the content clashes with more websites than the one that it’s published on you know that black hat techniques are being used. If the content only flags with the website it’s published on then White Hat link building techniques are being used.
Other things you should consider with the content that’s been written is:
- Does it offer good advice, tips or information for the readers?
- Is it in relation to your website and the backlink that you’re trying to gain?
- Is it published on a niche relevant website that matches the niche of your website?
This is the most effective way to know whether the content is engaged in White Hat or Black Hat link building methods
Good Example Of Live Content
As you can see this one shows the live article on one site only.
Bad Example Of Live Content
As you can see below, this content is seen on multiple sites. This means it’s not original and has been duplicated which can hurt your backlink.
- Backlinking On Quality Websites, Not PBNs
In the link building world you have two types of websites. Real websites and PBNs or Public Blog Networks. Public blog networks, as we’ll explain in black hat techniques, are made specifically for harvesting links on them. Real websites on the other hand are generally made for companies, are set-up by general bloggers who publish good content, and have decent metrics. To spot whether or not a website is a real website, here are some things to remember.
- A real website is one that operates like a real one. It generally features services, about us, limited content publishing and showcases a decent backlink profile.
- Checking its history, you’ll find that it’s domain is solid, not dropped and picked up and has been operating since it was created.
- Checking sites like WHOIS for the site owner is also a good to see whether it’s owned by the same owner or if it’s changed owners multiple times. If the owner is hidden it’s also a red flag.
- How much content does it publish? Money websites generally post a lot of content while real websites will have a content calendar or will only publish content a couple of times per week.
- Check the backlink profile to see whether there’s a lot of broken links. If there’s a lot of broken links it’s more likely a PBN. Real websites generally care about broken links and usually have them fixed on a regular basis.
- Check the metrics and traffic. If the Trust Flow and the CF flow are close and it features a decent amount of traffic, then you’ll find it’ll most likely be a good website.
White Hat link building techniques are important because it reduces the risk of your website and links being penalized. If a service claims their a white hat link builder, the above ways are easy for you to detect if they are legit.
Example Of A Quality Website
- Allows You To See The Sites Before Publishing
For any service provider, you want to see a rough idea of your product before the final results. A service provider that only provides you with the live link but doesn’t allow you to inspect the site beforehand may be using their own network of websites instead of doing manual outreach.
When buying link placements it’s important to know whether you’ll be getting quality for the amount your paying. Finding a service provider that allows you to view the websites before they publish on them is a good option. This allows you to approve or reject the website so you’re not getting something you don’t want.
What Is Black Hat Link Building?
Black Hat link building is the process of using bad SEO techniques and tactics to drive traffic to a website. Generally black hat link building services would use different website loopholes in order to rank their site faster than White Hat organic link building methods. The problem with Black Hat methods is that google has become aware of these bad practices and have developed different algorithms which penalise those websites who are actively using black hat practices. Because of this, these loophole link building practices aren’t as powerful anymore. The overall purpose of why people conduct black hat link building is to boost website rankings in search engines and not through organic means.
What Do Black Hat Link Building Methods Look Like?
Black Hat link builders generally use black hat techniques in order to gain links for their clients. Some of these black hat techniques that you can watch out for are:
- Using PBNs
As mentioned above there are two types of websites a provider can publish on; real websites or PBNs. PBNs are public blog networks that are generally designed just to make money. These websites harvest a large backlink profile, generally spammy and usually posts content regularly as people offer guest posts. Other ways you can spot a PBN:
- They generally only feature a homepage, write for us page, and a category page.
- They also feature an abundance of content and generally have a large backlink profile with a lot of broken links.
- Checking the history of the domain will show that it expired and was picked up again by someone else.
- It has had multiple website owners in the past.
- It hosts stock images only which is shared between other websites that belong to the same website owner.
These are generally signs of PBNs that you should look out for when using a link building provider.
Example Of A PBN
If you can see it doesn’t have categories, it only has 3 main navigation points and it’s homepage has the blogroll on it.
- Link Farms
Using and creating link farms are also another black hat technique which should be avoided. Link farms are websites which have a series of links to some other sites that don’t have content with real value. While there are many link farms which are legitimate looking, it can still hurt your backlink and website when connected with them. One clear way to know if a website is a link farm is by checking the page ranking status. If you use a page rank tool to search the domain of the website, a link farm will generally show up with hundreds of backlinks but no pagerank. If the site has been operating for a long while, then it’s a sure sign of trouble. In general the higher the pagerank is the less it will be a link farm. There are different factors that could be the reason why a pagerank is zero. This could include:
- The site is new and isn’t ranked yet.
- It’s from a bad neighbourhood or it’s a link farm.
- The datacenter that’s checking the page rank is down.
In simple terms if you receive a link which features a zero page rank for the overall domain, then you’re most likely linking to a link farm.
- Hidden Links and Text
Hidden links and anchor text aren’t uncommon in the black hat world. This method is dirty and many website owners are tricked into harboring hidden backlinks without them knowing about it. This method usually entails adding links and anchors within blog content but colouring it white so the website owner doesn’t see it.
When it’s uploaded to the website, not only do you get a free backlink, but the website owner has limited chance of knowing that it’s there in the first place. This method is used more often than you think. One way of knowing whether your link building provider uses this method is by:
- Copying and pasting the content from your live link into a word doc and then colouring the entire page with black text. If they are using this method, you’ll see that the hidden text will be revealed.
The problem with this method is that it can cause problems with creating spam across the website which can in turn cause problems long term with the quality of your backlink. If a provider is using these tactics, it’s best to try a new provider.
Example of Hidden Text
Link building isn’t an easy process, especially when you’re hoping to achieve successful backlinks in the most appropriate and Google friendly way. The difference between black hat and white hat services all comes down to a few different factors and techniques that are used in acquiring those backlinks. Overall when looking for a link building service for your agency or blog, it’s always good to test a few out, check if they are using legitimate ways on how to link build, and then decide which option is the best for your needs and clients. Have you run into black hat link building services in your search?