Ranking high in search became harder and the practice of SEO is changing.
Most probably you have heard from your fellows web publishers about their website been negatively affected by latest Google updates and their website rankings falling. The majority of these websites were negatively affected as a result of practicing ‘Black Hat SEO’ tricks, others because of offering bad user experience.
Frequent updates or algorithm changes can damage website rankings. They are also necessary in order to reduce the spam and improve user experience. The constant changes however, will sometime mean what was considered to be legal white hat SEO method yesterday, it turns out to be black hat SEO today. This is why it became questionable what is actually black hat SEO and why you should (not) avoid the black hat SEO method.
Black Hat SEO vs. White Hat SEO
The black hat SEO does not necessarily follow the search engine guidelines. While this method is very tempting it is often used by sneaky marketers who want to achieve big results fast, or rank high for the web’s most competitive terms. Their practices include short – cuts such as: link farms, content cloaking and other secret methods which promise only short-term gains. On the opposite side is the white hat SEO. Its method aim is to follow search engine guidelines, almost all the time and implement long term strategies. It is considered to be safe showing positive results on a long run, but being very slow in achieving set goals.
Both methods have the same goal, for a site to rank high in search, or to naturally fall near the top of the search engine results pages and boost website visibility. The fact is that SEO is not easy. It is hard, it is not fast process and it can get complicated. However, it is possible to stick with right methods and avoid bad tactics for your SEO efforts to work.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing. This is an old black hat SEO practice not valid anymore. Having only pages stuffed with keywords not related to what you do will only get you penalized by search engines. Instead, learn what keywords to use, where and how. Keywords you choose should be relevant to what you do.
Get rid of Invisible Text. Are you trying to trick search engines by adding keywords or text on a white background hoping to attract more search engine crawlers? That is an ancient practice and against search engine rules. Get rid of this habit, be open with what you have to offer and try not to be sneaky.
Have valuable content. “Content is King.” It can be optimized, searched and shared. Avoid writing content only for search engines. Rather, optimize your site for search engines by offering unique and well written content that brings value to your readers. Good content is also worth linking to. Write quality articles targeted to your customers yet search engine friendly. More your customers like what you write, more likely they are willing to share your content. More they share your content, comment on your work, more search engines give relevance to your website and your site has better chances to be indexed fast. A good page is considered to be the one that has a quality text and that answers to the search query.
Quality inbound links. One of the most effective and highest impact SEO practices is to promote your content on other websites that link back to your website. More you have inbound links to you site better off you are and search engines gives more relevance to the content of your page. But there are good links and bad links. Before you engage with link building tactics conduct a link profile analysis of the client’s website. Make sure you have only good inbound links to your site otherwise you risk to be penalized.
Always measure and tweak. Set up your goals monitor and measure your SEO efforts. Make changes accordingly.
SEO can go wild because of the frequent updates and algorithm changes. Putting too much effort to figure out if your method is white hat SEO or black hat SEO is also exhausting. A good approach is to stick with techniques that target the right elements of the website and to make sure they are as optimized as possible. The results might not be fast, but at least they will be permanent, you will get website ranking, drive organic traffic, and capture more leads.
Article by Daliborka Krstic