Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the process and techniques used to optimize a website or webpage in search engines results. Leveraging your SEO will help to drive more relevant traffic, leads, sales, revenue, and profit to your business. Improving and optimizing SEO can be done by a variety of techniques. Some of these techniques are good and fair. Others are bad, unfair and ultimately harmful.
The Different Hats of SEO
If you are familiar with SEO you might have heard of the terms ‘White Hat, “Grey Hat’ and “Black Hat”. These are terms which refer to how you go about improving your SEO and improving your site rank. The colour determines how pure your tactics are. White being the most pure and black being the least pure. In between these two categories is the grey area, the grey hat techniques.
White Hat SEO
White hate techniques are those that are considered as good, fair, and ethical. Using white hat tactics means that you are staying within the policies and conditions set by search engines. White hat techniques are ones that follow search engine’s rules.
What types of white hat techniques can be used to improve SEO and ranking? Below are some examples:
- Having High Quality Content
A search engine’s goal is to offer the most relevant and appropriate information to people performing searches. They want to provide their users with a great experience which means providing them with great content. Optimize your site for search engines by creating unique and well written content. The more content rich you site it, the more valuable it will appear to search engines. High quality content has the following aspects:
- Original content: Does not violate the intellectual property rights of others
- Highly relevant and useful to your industry and audience
- Very well written with proper grammar and spelling
- Titles and Meta Data
Providing pages with proper titles and meta data is essential. Make sure your page titles are a true representation of the content of the page.
- Keyword Research and Effective Keyword Use
Create your website with keywords and key phrases in mind. Research which keywords and key phrases that people use to find your site. Single word keywords are not always the most effective and can also be much more competitive. Therefore it can often be more beneficial to use specific multi-word phrases to represent what your business is offering.
- Having Quality Inbound Links
Having quality inbound links to your website is like getting a stamp of approval from other websites. This increase the credibility of your website and helps it rank higher. Good links are links from other web pages that are considered high quality by search engines. Search engines also consider the content from these websites to be highly relevant to the content on your pages. Bad links are links from web pages that aren’t considered high quality by search engines and have no relevance to the content of your page.
Grey Hat SEO
Grey hat SEO are tactics that is are a mixture of white techniques and strategies that bend the rules. These practices are riskier because if you’re not careful you can slip into black hat SEO.
Black Hat SEO
Black hat SEO techniques are those which increase page rankings by going against search engine’s policies. These types of techniques and strategies only focus on search engines and not on their audience. Below are some examples of black hat techniques.
- Hidden Content/Text
Hidden content is text or content that your visitors cannot see but which is still readable by the search engines. Hidden text is identified as spam by major search engines. If detected your website will be penalized or even banned.
- Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing occurs when a web page is loaded with keywords in the meta tags or context.
- Doorway or Gateway Pages
Doorway or gateway pages are more or less fake pages that are stuffed with content. They are also known as bridge pages, portal pages, jump pages, gateway pages, and entry pages. They redirect visitors without their knowledge.
- Link Farming
Link farms, or free for all pages, have no other purposes than to list links of unrelated websites. They won’t provide you with any traffic and you run the risk of having your site banned for participating.
Scraping is a technique in which content is plagiarized from other websites. This is done to put content that’s popular with search engines on one’s own site, often for the purpose of selling advertising back to the search engine.
This is a technique in which the content presented to the search engine spider is different from that presented to the user’s browser.
Why do People Use Black Hat SEO?
Impatience, budget, and lack of understanding are all factors that lead people to use grey hat strategies. Black hat SEO is often used by people who are looking for a quick financial return on their website rather than a long term investment. People who knowingly use these techniques are looking for a quick rise to the top of search engines and ranking and will break all the rules to get there.
Dangers of Black Hat SEO
When choosing a consultant or guide for SEO it’s important to insure that they are offering you good advice (White Hat techniques) and not harmful advice (Black Hat techniques). At Strategic DB believe that while black hat SEO techniques may have some short term positive effects, the long term consequences can be devastating for your website and in turn your business. Using black hat techniques can lead to your site being permanently banned from popular search engines, it is very risky and not a long term solution or strategy.
Which Hat Should You Use?
Not engaging in White Hat SEO can get your site banned from Google and other search engines! A lifetime ban from Google would have tremendously negative consequences on your business. Implementing White Hat SEO practices is the best way to create an ethical, sustainably, and successful website and business.
Need a SEO Consultant?
If you think you or your company could benefit from the SEO expertise and experience of a professional consultant please contact Strategic DB. We help set up and optimize your website to be SEO friendly. We specialize in keyword research and competitive research analysis to improve your visibility.
If you have any questions about how we could help your company grow and succeed we would love to hear from you! Give us a call at 1-877-332-4923 or send us by email.