While the terms and practices aren’t new to us, you’ve probably never heard of them. However, in a day and age where more and more businesses are being sold a lie when it comes to Search Engine Optimization, we’re finding it’s important you (the business owner) know about white hat SEO techniques.
So why are we talking about headgear accessories? What does it mean in terms of search engines? Fortunately, white hat (and its opposite, black hat) are pretty simple terms, but they cover a comprehensive attitude toward SEO and a variety of techniques geared toward that attitude.
For the record – UplinkSpyder is strictly White Hat SEO – we don’t even dabble in that grey hat that everyone else seems to. Read on.
What is White Hat SEO?
In a nutshell, white hat SEO techniques are the good guy method of Search Engine Optimization. White hat SEO follows the rules, such as Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, while still maximizing the search engine rankings of a website.
Quickly defined, “white hat” is any practice that will improve search rankings AND maintain the integrity of your website AND follow the search engine’s rules.
Why are White Hat SEO Techniques so Important?
When a webmaster, or your amazing digital marketing firm (hint hint), delivers quality content with integrity in a fast, user-friendly format, that is white hat SEO. Marketing firms that employ white hat SEO make content easy to find through the use of descriptive keywords and meta-tags.
White hat SEO is important if you want to maintain a good relationship with Google, and thereby get better rankings and standing in search engine results. If you follow the rules, i.e. the Webmaster Guidelines, and keep the search engines happy, you can climb rankings, please customers, and not get banned by Google.
Why do People Use Anything Other than White Hat SEO Techniques?
It’s always a temptation to pick the “quick and easy” path to meet your goals, even if it leads to breaking some rules or using dishonest redirects, cloaking, etc. What a lot of people don’t like is that white hat SEO takes time. It’s natural and can be a slow process (especially for industries with lots of competition). Black hat SEO likes to speed up that process by using unethical techniques. It’s so common, unfortunately, that there’s even what some people call, “grey hat.” Grey hat is pretty much still black hat but deemed ok because “everyone else is doing it.”
Big Bad Black Hat
Black hat SEO is the practice of using tricks and manipulation to bump up traffic and engagement but doesn’t follow quality guidelines. Black hat practitioners think that by using underhanded methods, they’ll trick users into engaging with their content or giving them traffic; they consider fast and dramatic results are more important than building a loyal customer base or a strong brand.
Digital marketers who use black hat SEO don’t consider the risks or take them seriously. What’s really heartbreaking about this is innocent, hard-working business owners will hire these marketers and pay too much, only to have their site flagged by Google. And these days a website that can’t be found online can mean death for a new business.
Some Common Black Hat SEO Tactics are:
- Keyword Stuffing: We just don’t do this. It’s dumb. Your target keyword should only be used as it fits in the content naturally.
- Duplicate Content (stealing it from other successful sites): We use industry-standard tools to ensure every.single.word we write for you is absolutely nowhere else on the internet.
- Splogging: This is where so-called writers or SEO experts throw keywords in a program that spits out “content.” If you’ve ever seen content that literally makes NO SENSE – that’s what happened.
- Paying for Backlinks: Backlinks are your friend. But paying for backlinks is like paying for friends. Just don’t do it.
Google takes extreme measures against any form of spam or dishonesty; they may block part or all of a website, or merely drop that site’s rankings in search results. This is clearly not ideal.
5 White Hat SEO Techniques
At this point, hopefully, you see the advantages in knowing what the guidelines are for white hat SEO. Read on to learn the top 5 best techniques for practicing white hat SEO so you know what to look for when hiring a digital marketing firm.
1. Provide Quality Content
This is the obvious one, and the most difficult. It’s tempting to pull content from other websites or throw thin, quickly-researched content onto your site just so you have something for users to look at. Putting the time and work into creating and curating quality content for your users will reap the most benefits in the long run.
2. Research Keywords
Keywords are the best tool for finding the right demographic for your business and website. When users run a Google search for their keywords, you want the right users to find your content. In other words, the users who are most likely going to benefit from and engage with your content because they are the ones that are most likely to convert. Google’s Keyword Planner tool is extremely helpful for keyword research and your white hat SEO techniques.
3. Create Easy Navigation
Develop your website so that it is fast and easy to find specific content. Also, make sure to speed up your site’s loading times as much as possible so that users don’t have to wait impatiently. Making your site mobile-friendly is imperative so that you can engage with all of the smart device users. This will help you keep users who stumble on your site because it’s not difficult or time-consuming for them to use.
4. Follow Search Engine Policies
As mentioned earlier in this article, following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines will keep your website safe from penalties and is the mark of good white hat SEO. You and Google have this in common: you want your website visitors to be happy and to keep coming back. Following guidelines will help you do that.
5. Post Frequent Content
The more consistently you update and post on your website, the more you will build a loyal consumer base because they know they can depend on you for up-to-date and fresh information, whether it’s a blog, formatting updates, or new events or products.
So that’s the scoop on white hat SEO techniques and how you can use them to build a reputation for integrity and honesty online. UplinkSpyder can assist with any of your business’ web development or internet marketing needs. We are a full-service provider and dedicated to making our clients successful.