White hat is completely ethical, honest and valuable actions a web designer takes to make the website and the web better. Grey hat is actions taken to gain search and other benefits online that are considered not entirely ethical, but are not considered out-rightly banned. Using grey hat techniques can cause issues as grey hat eventually turns into black hat, usually.
Black hat web design is the most unethical and downright criminal actions taken on the web. Some of black hat techniques include hacking other people’s websites and injecting spammy links, stealing social media accounts, spamming emails, and the list goes on and on.
Although we only use white hat techniques at SkyPoint Studios, there is much more to web design ethics than just the cheats. When building a website, there are many opportunities to shave time and leave holes. Holes are areas that should be filled in with well-written semantic keyword-driven content, but instead are nonsensical, not wordy enough or just missing altogether.
One example of this is alt and title tags on images. It is totally optional to add title or alt tags to an image. The image will display just fine, and 99% of all visitors will never notice any difference. The problem is that without these two pieces of information, the image is totally unreadable by the search engine spiders. They can still read the file name, but often times that hasn’t been named properly either and has some generic camera name like AE343DE556.
Links have the same alt and title tags which offer the search engines insight into what the link is about. Adding these tags is very important to how your website will rank in the search engines.
Remember there is a lot more going on with a website than just it’s looks and functionality. Spider readability is an important part of search engine optimization.
Make sure your web developer understands and is committed to all the actions required to make a complete website, ethically.