Donning the White Hat Online


By Staff Writer Published on July 11, 2017

The Internet has brought a surprising personal touch to people. Although it was originally created on military funding and it works best for companies, it’s transformed into an everyday necessity. People everywhere are populating millions of web pages and social media platforms. They write about anything under the sun, and the more people who look at and link to the site, the more search engines like them. Meaning that companies like Google help you find the places that are the most popular, and not always the most correct.

Companies that actively optimize their websites to be found by Google and other search engines (this is known as SEO, or search engine optimization), have the ability to command a lot of traffic to their websites and social media platforms. They begin to rank even higher when other people link to their website. There are two ways to go about this: the good way and the bad way.

The good way is to don the White Hat.

Wearing the “white hat” means you’re the authority on a subject. Perhaps you’ve worked in the woodcarving industry your entire life. You were mentored by the best, you’ve carved everything imaginable, and you offer good advice to those you mentor.

You post tips and tricks on both your website and social media daily and hundreds, and then thousands, of people come to see what you have to say. Because you know what you’re talking about, people begin to repost what you say on woodcarving.

Search engines track the traffic and number of reposts, and when they see large amounts of people are talking about you, they determine you as the expert in the field. Once you’re an expert, they put you at the top of the first page of search results (or SERP).

The bad way is to hide under the Black Hat.

The white hat was so named only after the term “black hat” was coined. Companies that wear the black hat understand that search engines are looking for social media and websites that seem to be the authority in the business. They take the term “authority” to mean whoever can attract the most attention while following the guidelines of search engine sites and then they try to obtain them in any way possible. They often do things that will fake their numbers; they cut corners and try to force links around the Internet, instead of letting them develop the way they’re supposed to. Their purpose is to trick search engines like Google and Bing, not abide by their morals.

The time to decide what hat you will wear when it comes to new media technology is now: before, during, or post-graduation from Stevens-Henager College. The best choice will always be to wear the white hat. Some will tell you it’s going out of style. As far as honor and integrity go though, choose the right way to be someone people want to work with.