White Hat SEO Versus Black Hat SEO
There are two spheres of influence in the world of SEO. There is White Hat SEO - or the "good" side where Google makes the rules that all must follow. Then there is a darker side of SEO, which is commonly referred to as Black Hat SEO. Black Hat SEO dominates in practices which regularly ignore the rules and regulations Google requires webmasters adhere to, such as building links to websites to inflate a site's position in the search results pages (SERPs).
You will often hear of a reference to Grey Hat SEO, but it's a term which refers to a combination of the processes used by both the white and black camps when promoting a website.
The differences between Black Hat and White SEO lies in the techniques used to gain a higher ranking in the SERPs. Black Hat SEO will focus on technologies which automate website promotion as much as possible, while White Hats will attempt to sway Google's algorithm in their favour by appealing to the human side of the equation.
Popular options for Black Hat SEO include, but are in no way limited to, content automation and article spinning, link schemes, redirects, publishing on guest posting networks, and buying links.
White Hat SEO is by the book SEO and uses techniques which will appeal to humans, rather than focusing on manipulating a computer algorithm through brute force. Practitioners of White Hat SEO will spend most of their efforts on building highly optimized websites with strategic use of keywords and attracting natural links through intelligent discussions via articles and blog posts.
Sites which utilize White Hat SEO are also regularly updated with unique human written material, and most will also have active social media platforms attached to them to further engage with the audience.