a.k.a. white hat search engine optimization, white hat hacker
The term "white hat" originated from search engine optimization lingo and generally seeks to work with the search engines' strengths, rather than their weaknesses (like black hat SEO tries to do). By creating valid HTML code, well-written and keyword-rich content, and a carefully organized Web site, white hat SEO specialists create the kind of site that search engines are looking for.
The term white hat morphed into also referring to a well-meaning hacker who hacks for a good cause or to aid a company, organization, or government without causing harm.
Black hat hacker specifically comes from an earlier meaning of black hat, "a villain or bad guy in a story, especially in a Western" from the late 1950s. Once it was easy to tell the heroes from the villains in the television Westerns: The white hats were the good guys and the black hats were the bad guys. By that token, a "black hat hacker" is a malicious hacker who commits illegal acts.
In a search engine optimization example, the strongest benefit of white hat SEO is that it will never damage your rankings in the manner of black hat SEO tactics. As a result, white hat SEO is more difficult to pursue because it relies on many "soft" factors (such as high quality content, effective site organization, building strong link relationships, regular blogging, etc.), whereas black hat SEO can usually be easily commoditized (number of keywords added, number of artificial links built, number of false landing pages created, etc.)
While some online businesses view these quality factors as complexities, most agree that white hat search engine optimization performs better with less maintenance and reduced risk. It has longer value and makes more business sense. It helps keep the Web clear of clutter too; users do not appreciate hitting those false landing pages and seeing those link farms and scrolling through puffed-up, unrelated rankings on search results. Keep it real.
NetLingo Classification: Online Marketing