We at HONE have decided to coin an additional phrase to compliment White Hat, Grey Hat, and Black Hat SEO; these terms are widely known and used in the Search Engine Optimization industry. We call the phrase “Wack Hat SEO”.

Before explaining Wack Hat SEO, let’s briefly sum up the well-known terms:

White Hat SEO: The use of techniques and strategies that primarily target a human audience versus gaming the search engine system, such as providing quality, user-oriented website content, natural promotion, and great user experiences.

Black Hat SEO: The use of techniques and strategies that break or ignore SEO rules such as Google’s webmaster guidelines, these tactics may result in website penalties such as being dropped to very low rankings or being delisted from search results.

Gray Hat SEO: The use of techniques and strategies that fall close to being considered against search engine rules and guidelines, or may in the future through smarter, advanced search engine updates.

What is Wack Hat SEO?

Wack Hat SEO refers to weak search engine optimization efforts, or the implementation of very narrow, semi-optimization efforts. Here are a few examples:

  • SEO campaign only involved editing & updating meta titles & descriptions
  • Only On-site SEO tactics are being performed
  • Only Off-site SEO tactics are being performed
  • Only Local Citations are being built

As you can see, this type of SEO effort involves minimal work, only implementing a subset of improvements which have little effect on achieving goals in a sustainable time period.

What Causes Wack Hat SEO?

There could be a number of reasons why an SEO campaign ends up “Wack”, such as:

  • Overscaling; Lack of agency/company resources; quantity vs. quality
  • Stretching employees too thin to implement well-rounded SEO efforts per client
  • Lack of SEO experience or understanding
  • Lack of motivation or care

How to Avoid Receiving Wack Hat SEO?

It can be a challenge to decide on a team that can genuinely perform your site’s SEO efforts, and in order to get the best bang for your marketing buck.

You could, of course, learn and implement SEO and publish super-optimized content yourself. However, due to time constraints of running many other channels and departments of business, most companies outsource custom SEO plans to specialized experts that are trained to better compete with competitors that have also hired SEO specialists. Companies can also avoid the overhead of hiring and managing an internal team, versus outsourcing to an agency. For a company interested in outsourcing:

How can you avoid receiving a Wack SEO campaign?

  • Perform some preliminary research to better understand SEO and options available.
  • Ask questions regarding the differences between SEO packages, as some are tailored towards large or small businesses.
  • Ask about the strategies and methods involved in improving search engine visibility of your website for said package/campaign.
  • Ask for an initial website audit and gauge issue and opportunity discovery by SEO company in question.  
  • Ask how the SEO company would resolve discovered issues and improve upon discovered opportunities.
  • While all SEO efforts are a long-term investment and require time for testing and updates to take effect, reach out to your SEO company from time to time to get updated on progress if you’re not checking visibility already.
  • Voice concerns or suggestions regarding keywords or topics that your SEO company should prioritize.

While there are risks to doing any type of business or making any type of investment, there are always ways to prevent or reduce risk, and this goes for finding a knowledgeable and trustworthy team to manage your SEO efforts as well.

When deciding on an SEO company and plan, keep the above tips in mind and you’ll have found a worry-free solution to generating fresh new search visibility for your website.