SEO types can be divided into a few general categories, which can overlap to varying degrees. “White hat” SEO involves optimization techniques that are approved by a search engine’s guidelines. “Black hat” SEO uses manipulative techniques and rule loopholes that are often ethically questionable to force higher rankings on SERPs. Search engines are becoming better and better at rewarding white hat SEO and recognizing and punishing black hat SEO, which typically works only over a very short term. Akin to black hat SEO, “negative” SEO seeks to lower competitors’ Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings, letting other website properties take the place of previously highly ranked pages.
“On-page” SEO seeks to directly optimize a website or page to improve its recognition and rankings, while “off-page” SEO uses tactics such as backlinks, social media sharing, and other indirect networking to improve another site’s rankings. “Technical” SEO is similar to optimization, except that it appeals directly to a search engine’s web crawlers. Technical SEO often involves overhauls to a site’s structure and data so that the site can be easily read by a search engine, which therefore improves its ranking.