said 1 year, 1 month ago:
@jasonwiser Hello Jason! I’m still new to the SEO game, though I thought the terms were White Hat, Gray Hat, and Black Hat. Red Hat works though, especially since it is Linux…
Back on topic however, I think that the primary difference is the ethical approach of the person running the optimization. As with most any kind of career, you can have people who follow the rules and people who don’t.
As for laymans terms, I’d say that White Hat SEO is the equivalent of a mall store. They have their space, they rent it out and follow the rules and get a good flow of traffic. They might not get the best traffic, they might only be able to get into a back corner of the mall, instead of the main strip by the main entrance, but they are there and they are doing things right. They know that, given time, patience, and increased foot traffic, they will get onto the main strip.
Gray hats are like white hats. They to have their place in the mall. But this mall has a rule: no store staff in the walkways. White hats don’t send there staff out. They wait patiently. Gray hats, on the other hand, might have their staff walk through the mall on “breaks” wearing a store shirt or other way of increasing visibility and potential traffic. Maybe the store shirt is advertising a promotion too. Technically they aren’t breaking the rules, the Staff aren’t “selling” and don’t they have the right to go get a snack from the food court?
Black hats are attempting to get into the mall in the worse way possible. They buy the little carts in the middle of the aisles and then ambush people as they are walking around. They attempt to park out in front of the real traffic generators for the mall, and then blend in, but they sell inferior garbage vs the store just five feet away… of course you’d have to push the guy out of your way to get in.
It isn’t a perfect analogy… but… it kind of works! (My apologies to anyone who works the center aisle carts… but I really don’t like pushyness!)