What is white hat, black hat, grey hat SEO?

White Hat SEO

This is a practise of promoting the website using techniques that are tried and tested. e.g.

1. Checking for errors in the code.
2. Checking for broken links.
3. Making sure no content is against search engine policies.
4. Using social media to promote your website.

Grey Hat SEO

You use all white hat practises but you use techniques that are not against search engine policies but they are borderline and will be blocked in due course. There will be no penalties for this unless they are used when the search engines have flagged them as black hat.

Black Hat SEO

Using techniques that will give a short term boost to your search engine position.

One technique is using a bot network (infected computers) to click to a website through the search engine. This registers as a hit with the search engine and as these are sent from lots of different web addresses it initially boosts the position. But as the behaviour is identical after a short time the search engine will notice and flag this behaviour.

If it is found that the website is actively using black hat SEO, then the website will be penalised by dropping positions or blocked completely if found to be using these techniques.

The press over the last few years has been talking about another method of black hat, Fake News. This gets so many hits initially that it will show first and not the actual news on serach engines.