Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of maximizing the presence of your website so that search engines, like Google or Bing, can find it and subsequently recommend it to the highest number of people. It helps to get you to that coveted page 1 in search results. But what is White Hat SEO? Or Black Hat SEO for that matter? Does it affect you and your website? Should you care?
The answer is yes.
The reason is that whether you go the route of white hat or black hat SEO ultimately affects how search engines view your site and whether they send people your way or penalize you for improper practices. If for some reason they do penalize your site, it can be incredibly hard to change and you will see traffic dry up. And that is not good for business.
White Hat vs Black Hat SEO
So what exactly is White Hat and Black Hat SEO anyway? The terms were coined in reference to old school spaghetti westerns; those who wore white hats were the “good guys” versus the “bad guys” sported black hats. It made it easier to discern who to root for and who to steer clear of. That is kind of the same concept with White Hat and Black Hat SEO. You want to follow White Hat SEO and do your best to avoid Black Hat SEO practices that might get you and your website into trouble.
White Hat SEO:
In order to make sure you are using White Hat SEO practices, first, you need to know what they are. Let’s take a look at some things you can do to gain favour with search engines.
- Quality over quantity – Create content for your readers. Always keep in mind that you are writing to educate, entertain, and enlighten those who visit your website. Yes, search engines and robots visit too, but when you write clearly, concisely, and naturally, your content stands out. It is your readers that count and the search engines recognize that and will value your content higher for the effort.
- Use Alt text in images – When you add relevant Alt Text in the backend of your images, search engines understand better what those images are and how they relate to your content.
- Carefully research keywords – What is your article about? What do your readers want to know? Take the time to do your research on what is relevant and how you can best offer that information to your visitors.
- Follows guidelines set out by search engines – If you play by the rules, ultimately your rankings will perform better. Use language and grammar your visitors will understand. Make it simple to navigate your website, to encourage organic growth and reduce bounce rates. Add relevant links that add to your content. And remember that your true audience is the people who visit. Search engines will reward you for the effort you put in.
Black Hat SEO:
On the opposite side, you have Black Hat SEO. These are practices you want to steer clear of. They might get you higher in rankings in the short run, but search engines don’t look kindly on these tactics and will often penalize you for their use, seeing those rankings fall even lower in the long run.
- Churn out content – While there is nothing wrong with plenty of content, you need to write for your readers versus bots.
- Keyword Stuffing – When you use your keywords over and over again to gain attraction, the opposite reaction often occurs. Overuse often comes across unnaturally and your readers will notice and get turned off. So too will the search engines and you might find yourself docked for it!
- Buying links – Proper backlinks from quality sites can build your authority and presence overall. Links to sites that are irrelevant to your content or that deliberately lead users away from your site serve to detract from your rankings, not to mention your visitor’s experience.
While it might seem tempting to resort to adding a few extra keywords, banging off mediocre content to appear fresh, and buying backlinks once in a while to seem more worldly, quality always trumps quantity. It might take more time and effort, but ultimately that effort pays off in the long run and is worth it when search engines note that real visitors are reading what you have to say and returning to learn more. So should you don that white hat when it comes to your website? Absolutely. White hat SEO is the best commonsense approach to mark you as an expert in the field. That’s always worth it.
To learn more about SEO and how you can optimize your website to maximize traffic, talk to the experts at Iron Rhino. Get customers talking about how great you are.