Types of SEO: Everything you need to know

Ever wondered what the types of SEO are?

Well, wonder no more!

In this article I’m covering every type of SEO you may have heard of, plus the ones you may know nothing about. I’ll give a brief breakdown of what they all are so you can get a basic understanding of the types of SEO and hopefully find out where to begin with your on website.

What is SEO?

If you aren’t sure what SEO is, the rest of this article might seem like gibberish, so we’ll start at the beginning. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It is an umbrella term for any kind of work you might do to move your website up the ranks on a search engines result list (most of us focus on Google, but any SEO work you do for Google should impact well in other search engines too). When you type in any query into Google, the websites who appear at the top of that list have more than likely been doing a lot of SEO work in order to feature there.

Why do you need to know the types of SEO?

Whether you’re looking to do some DIY SEO, or you’d like to hire a professional to sort it for you, knowing the types of SEO that are available to you helps put you in good stead when trying to prioritise work and ensure the types of work being performed are in line with your future goals (and won’t damage your website long term). This article will give you a great insight to get started, especially if you’re trying to understand what your SEO marketer is telling you!

So without further ado, here they all are – all the types of SEO:

White Hat, Black Hat and Grey Hat SEO

black white hat seo types

All three of these types of SEO include all kinds of different work that I’ll feature below. The difference between these terms are the intentions.

White Hat SEO is the type of SEO Google encourages; it’s all legitimate, nothing is hidden and everything is done according to Google’s guidelines. White Hat SEO often takes longer to work and see results, but will never damage your website’s reputation. If you’re looking for an SEO company, make sure to check they only use White Hat SEO techniques.

White Hat SEO includes:

Optimising content

Improving your site speed

Writing content that attracts backlinks pointing to your site

Black Hat SEO is a type of SEO that Google will punish you for. It’s where you use techniques to attempt to fool or trick Google into giving you a higher rank and goes against their guidelines. In the past, many of these techniques worked – and they worked well. But in the last 10 years Google has grown smarter and most, if not all, Black Hat SEO not only doesn’t work anymore, but could land your website in permanent trouble with Google – meaning even if you try and undo the trickery later, it’s an uphill battle to get back to where you started.

Black Hat SEO includes:

Spamming links in comments sections of other websites

Writing on page text in the same colour as your background so people can’t read it

Keyword stuffing

Grey Hat SEO, as the name suggests, lies somewhere in the middle. It’s the term used for techniques that might not be seen as ‘whiter than white’ but aren’t directly against the guidelines either.

Grey Hat SEO includes:

Paying for reviews

Buying old domains and linking to your website

Redesigning your website frequently

On-site SEO

on-site seo types

The beginning of any good SEO plan should address your on-site SEO. Think of it as the base of your SEO work; without good on-site SEO you’re not likely to get anywhere with the other SEO types.

On-site SEO, as the name suggests, is all of the work you might do to improve your rankings on your own website. And believe me, there’s a lot that can be done!


One of the major types of on-site SEO is improving your text content. This will likely mean reviewing your current content and either tweaking it to optimise it for search engines or possible rewriting it all together. The important thing to remember is to write for your customers, and edit your writing for search engines. This editing might include adding or removing keywords (search terms you want to appear highly for), adding properly tagged headings, adding links where needed and ensuring the text is long enough (thin text, usually less than 300 words, doesn’t usually do well in search).

Get a complete guide on on-site SEO here.


Your images aren’t just important for your website visitors – they’re important for your SEO too. Optimising your images will usually include reducing their file size (not necessarily their visual size on the screen) and adding appropriate title text to the image. This is the kind of data that usually only Google will read, much like metadata.


Your metadata is the information Google will display in search results, like this:

metadata onsite seo types

It’s important that it’s optimised for both search engines (so they know what your page is about) and for people (so they are attracted to click on your link over others).

Off-site SEO

types of seo off-site seo

A decent SEO plan will also include off-site SEO. In general, off-site SEO is any work you do outwith your website that helps improve your search rankings. Of all of the types of SEO, off-site SEO is the one that is most focussed on a single goal – backlinks.


Backlinks are vital to your SEO efforts. A backlink is simply any link pointed to your website from another. Every backlink you gain is an indication to Google of a number of things, including content type and trustworthiness. As such, not all links are created equally – a hundred links from untrustworthy websites could more likely damage your website rankings than do any good, whereas just a couple of links for very reputable sources could hugely improve it.

Find out more about backlinking techniques here.

Content Promotion

Promoting your content, especially things like blog articles on your own site, is a great way to improve your SEO. Content on its own is unlikely to get very far; promoting it on social media channels, forums and other places will not only help gain traffic from those sources but should also help Google to notice your content faster and rank it faster too.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing, in terms of SEO, is an off-site tactic. However, SEO-wise, I would mainly only use this to promote articles to your leads. Of course, other online marketing can be effective using social media, such as advertising and running offers, but in terms of search engine optimisation, the main benefit of social media marketing is the promotion of your search optimised articles.

Find out more about social media marketing here.

Technical SEO

technical seo types

Technical SEO is usually performed on your website, but is a step harder than the normal content optimisation work. It includes a wide variety of types of SEO, so I’ve listed a few of the most common below.

User Experience

User experience contributes to your ranking on Google. This includes things like the speed at which your website loads and whether people find your content interesting enough to stay on your website for a long time.

It can be technically challenging to make improvements to your site speed and you may need to get a developer on board to help – find out more here on what you can do to improve your site speed.

Internal Linking

The way you link to different pages and articles on your website indicates to Google how important that page is. It’s very important to not only get links from other websites to your website, but also to ensure your pages are well linked to on your own website.


Sitemaps are crucial for Google to be able to ‘crawl’ your website properly. Google sends out what are known as ‘spiders’ to literally read through all of your pages (hence why onsite SEO is so crucial). It uses this information to figure out what each page and website is about and decide what searches that website might be relevant for. Creating and uploading a proper ‘sitemap’ makes it easier for the spiders to see your page hierarchy and to crawl those pages faster – especially if you upload your sitemap to Google Search Console.

Technical Errors

You can also be faulted by having errors on your website; such as duplicate pages and content or missing pages (404 errors) where there used to be content. Moving and redirecting pages properly and ensuring each of your pages has unique information should help avoid SEO penalties.

How to start improving your website’s SEO

All the types of SEO are important – but I hope this article gave you a good understanding of where you might need to begin with your own website.

If you’re looking to get started on improving your website’s SEO today, start with downloading the free pop content website marketing guide here. It’s packed with all the information you need to get your on-site SEO right and start getting your first backlinks. And if you’d like to get a professional to do it all for you, why not get in touch with POP Content today?

  • very interesting topic and great explanation! This will be very useful for self learning beginners.