If you want more visitors to your website you need to know about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). And you have probably come to the conclusion that SEO is a BIG subject. SEO is also continually evolving as the search engine algorithms get smarter and the way we use and access the web is changing (think smart phones, voice search etc...).
What worked a couple years ago, or even last year may not work this year, and you can be sure the SEO techniques have changes and the algorithms the search engines use have evolved.
One of the debates you will need to be familiar with is Black Hat vs. White Hat
Black hat: Search engine strategies customarily defined as techniques that are used to get higher search rankings in an unethical manner. Including but not limited to: keyword stuffing, invisible text, doorway pages, adding unrelated keywords to the page content or page swapping.
White Hat: Generally summed up as creating excellent, relevant content for users, not for search engines. This includes but is not limited to: unique well written content, optimizing user experience, social engagement, obtaining quality back links.
So, which is better White Hat or Black Hat?
Lets think about this from Google's perspective: They are in the business of providing relevant search results. If they didn't provide relevant search results consistently you and I would use a different search engine. Obviously Google doesn't want that and therefore they do not like being fooled into displaying non relevant results.
You may be able to fool google for a little while, but believe me they have many more IT experts and Billions more dollars to optimize the results they provide in their search results than you and me.
If you violate a rule and get caught then you risk being black listed by google. If you want to go Black Hat and you know the risks and are willing to accept the risks then go ahead.
As per Wikipedia: White hats tend to produce results that last a long time, whereas black hats anticipate that their sites may eventually be banned either temporarily or permanently once the search engines discover what they are doing.
At Elegant Eagle Web Design we use only White Hat strategies. We believe white hat techniques are not only the ethical choice to make but also the choice that will provide a better user experience and better long term ROI for our clients.