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You may be familiar with these terms or have heard them mentioned before, but what really are White Hat and Black Hat SEO?
To put it in simple terms white-hat SEO uses risk-free SEO methods and strategies. Using White Hat takes more time to build and drive traffic to your website, but remember we mentioned its RISK FREE. On the other hand, Black-hat SEO methods and strategies can get you traffic faster but you will be using some pretty risky methods and if you get caught by Search Engines’ algorithm, you will lose all the traffic you had gained and be severely penalized.
Now we are all for stepping out of the box or to simply throw it away, but when it comes to SEO it is much better for you and your business to stay on the straight and narrow. As it is not really necessary to take such risks that could see your website thrown in the dungeons, when you are still building and driving traffic to your website with White-hat SEO techniques.
At SEO Plans, we are only using White Hat SEO techniques, and we’re about to tell you why.
1. You guessed it there are NO PENALTIES
The #1 advantage of using white hat SEO techniques is definitively to avoid search engines penalties. Search Engines have rules. If you don’t respect and follow them, you get penalized, and this is one of the worst things that can happen to you. Being penalized does affect your ranking. If search engines know that you have violated at least one of their rules, they will bring your website’s ranking down, even if your keyword strategy and link building campaign is strong. By using White hat SEO techniques, you are sure to avoid any unpleasant surprises waiting for you in regards to your site ranking and you know it is this ranking that and your position that will increase traffic to your website. It is a challenge to build up your presence online, so you definitely don’t want it to disappear in one day.
2. We are humans and so is WHITE HAT SEO
The approach of White-hat SEO techniques is organic and natural. You want users to appreciate your content. They don’t need or want spam, and are just looking for content written by humans, for humans. Some Back-hat SEO methods tend to overuse keywords and that keeps the content from being easy to read. White-hat SEO methods think about both the user experience as well as the SEO being implemented, which in turn adds value to the user. White-hat is about a long term strategy. It’s harder, but not impossible, to quickly get traffic flowing to your website. Though, White-hat techniques, when correctly applied, are stronger and don’t need to be maintained as much so in the long run will require less work in upkeep.
3. It’s all about building RELATIONSHIPS
As I previously mentioned, White-hat SEO techniques are organic and based on the user’s experience, therefore logically this is the best way to start building a relationship between you and your potential customers. Again, people do not want or like spam. When was the last time you clicked on a spam link? When you are spamming search engines you need to be pretty quick on your feet to always stay ahead of them, not to mention you will also be judged by your potential customers. They are not stupid and know the difference between spam and organic content.
The quality of your content will help you far more online than the use of spam in Black-hat SEO ever will. If visitors are happy with what you’re offering or writing, they are likely to trust you and continue to come back. Reliable and quality content will always be king.
4. Building links using WHITE HAT SEO
It’s better to use White-hat SEO techniques when link building. No one is going to click on a link that is coming from spam or a suspicious ad. With so many suspicious links out there, it’s all about the trust they give to your link. If they think your link is safe, then they are more likely to click on it.
When you’re applying White-hat SEO methods, you care about the quality of your links and having high-quality is so much more important in building traffic + a HUGE BONUS is that you won’t get penalized. Black-hat SEO users only care about having as many links as possible, so they are looking at quantity over quality and let’s face we know in life that quality is so much better so therefore online it’s the same. We have all heard of ‘word of mouth’ and we place much more importance on this when it comes to referrals, well the same can be said if we replace ‘mouth’ with ‘web’ and have ‘word of web’. People will be more likely to share your content with their world with good quality White-hat SEO links.
So let’s talk a little bit about the actual techniques as it is important that you know what these techniques are and you need to use White-hat methods the right way or they can easily be considered as Black-hat SEO techniques.
Below are some white-hat SEO techniques which guarantee you will not to be penalized by the Search Engines’ algorithm, especially Google:
1. You may have heard this, billions of times... but we are going to say it again - CONTENT
According to Search Engines, content is, and will always be KING. Before applying basic SEO methods, you have to make sure you’re producing high-quality content. Obviously, you need your audience to reach your website as many times as possible, but the strongest foundation will be your content. The more quality your content is, the more likely you are to attract people to your website more than once and have that content shared.
So make your content easy to read by breaking your text into several paragraphs, add a great and relevant picture (oh and make sure you name that picture correctly, as Google will read that too), and be clear and precise. You have to show your expertise!
2. Use Structural (Semantic) Mark Up and Separate Content from Presentation
When looking at White-hat methods on-page such as using structural semantic markup on your website, this will help search engines better understand the content on your website and in turn your business better. Use the heading elements properly, which will allow search engines to recognize the content between the headings. When you separate the design elements of your website from the content, it makes it easier for search engines to find what they’re looking for, which goes back again to the importance of providing useful, relevant content on your website.
3. Keyword Research and Effective Keyword Use
The use of keywords is the most popular technique. Gone are the days when you just focus on a single keyword, now you want to ad multi-phases into the mix for better results. However, be specific with your multi-word phrases so you’re more likely to attract people that are interested in what you are offering. You can research and find good multi-word phrases in Google Keyword analysis or other SEO tools. Also, don’t forget to put your keywords in the title, the headers, the title and alt tag and the links, as it does matters.
Note: Don’t put too many keywords as it can make the reading for the visitor uncomfortable.
The Black-hat version of keyword strategy that you should be aware of is when a lot of keywords are placed in the content of a website, but they are hidden. Are you wondering how this is done? All they do is change the colour of the keywords into one the end user can’t see, or minimize the size of the font. This doesn’t affect the reading, but as a Black-hat method it will affect your site performance. And we all know performance matters.
4. Quality Inbound Links
You may know that link building is one of the most powerful methods for SEO and is the process of getting external pages to link to a page on your website. Building links is a difficult, time-consuming process because not all links are actually created equal. Like anything in life, in SEO there are good and bad links: as search engines prefer quality links, you should do what it takes to have as many quality links as possible. Obviously, the more quality links you have, the better.
However, high quality links can be hard to come by. For instance a link from an authoritative website will make a greater impact on a SERP than a link from a newly built website.
There is a little debate going on at the moment about the importance of link building in SEO with many people saying it is no longer relevant.
Well, this is where I stand. Google has written on their site that:
"In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages."
Which means that link building is important because it is a major factor in how Google ranks Web pages, so anyone that tells you link building is not important anymore – send them to Google. As everyone’s goal in SEO is page 1 within the top 5 organic listings.
There are a number of strategies that we use to get external websites to link to your site.
Firstly, we look at content creation and promotion which is creating compelling content that people will want to reference and link to, but then actually tell other people about it. We want to spread the love. Secondly, we look at submissions. These include submitting your news to press releases and submitting your website to trustworthy directories, niche directories and directories attached to informative websites. Another link building method uses reviews and mentions. This looks at putting your product or service and your website in front of influential bloggers.
Lastly, we look at creating links from friends and partners. These people most likely already love you, so approach them about adding a link to your website. However, ask for in-content links instead of links in the sidebar or footer. There are many more methods to use when building links such as starting a blog, but don’t just blog once you need to keep it going. Jump on niche-related communities and forums, blogs or social groups and get talking. You can also look at giving a testimonial. If you’ve enjoyed a product or service, then check out their site to see if you can add a testimonial. We know that testimonials are a great way for a brand to build trust and for you it is a great opportunity to get a backlink and potential traffic from that site.
When it comes to link building it is always better to play fair. Weak or risky backlinks won’t help your rankings at all. These links can get you a Google penalty and in severe instances a 100% loss of organic traffic.
If you want to check out Google’s rules then visit the Webmaster Guidelines.
When it comes down to it Black-hat tactics look at trying to deceive the search engines and people by spamming them with irrelevant content. It might help you reach the top faster, but the penalties will leave you lost somewhere online among the 1 billion websites currently on the internet. White-hat techniques create authentic and organic online marketing strategies that bring relevant information to people. It may take you longer to reach the top, but you are more likely to stay there.
Want to know where you stand online, than register for our FREE SEO report to get you started on your SEO journey.