SEO (aka search engine optimization) can be a tricky game to play when it comes to ensuring your website ranks well on a search engine results page. Some will play dirty while others will play clean, but is there a safe in-between technique that will help rank your website as a winner?
As you read, keep in mind that search engine optimization only affects organic searches in a search engine, like Google or Yahoo, not paid or sponsored results.
1. White Hat SEO – Play It Clean
White hat SEO is an SEO technique that improves a website’s search performance by following the rules and guidelines set forth by the major search engine, Google.
This technique is all about improving your search performance by creating and offering quality content on your website that people want and will search for.
For example, posting educational blog articles full of unique content to your website that visitors can reference for help and advice is a white hat seo technique. However, you need to make sure the title of your blog post is in accordance with the actual content contained in the post for this to be a white hat technique. You don’t want to trick people into reading an article on your website by implying it’s going to be about one topic (like web design trends) when in the content you’re actually promoting something completely different (like a local bake sale).
The big idea here is to create content for the search, not for the search engine. If your visitors can find content on your site that they like, chances are they’ll return again because they view your site as a reliable source.
Other white hat on-page SEO tactics that will keep you on Google’s good side and increase your rankings in search engines include using keywords in your:
- Page titles
- Page URL
- Page headers
- Meta description
Putting keywords in these places makes it easier for search engine spiders to crawl your website content and determine if your site contains information related to the search. When the keywords in your content match the words in the search, your website will rank higher on the search engine results page, ultimately driving more traffic to your site.
2. Black Hat SEO – Play It Dirty
Black hat SEO is the opposite of white hat SEO; it doesn’t follow the rules and has the potential to get your site banned from search engines, which you most definitely do NOT want. There’s a good chance Google is the top search engine referring traffic to your website; by risking being banned, black hat SEO techniques could do devastating damage by reducing the amount of traffic to your site.
So how do you know if your SEO techniques are black hat? WordStream said it perfectly: “If no value is added to the user, but rankings are chat group likely to increase, then your decisions are highly likely to be black hat.”
Black hat techniques include:
- Keyword stuffing
- Hiding text and links
- Doorway and cloaked pages
- Comment spamming on other websites
- Link schemes
Don’t put the integrity of your business in danger by engaging in black hat SEO techniques. Google will get suspicious if you start bringing in visitors at an abnormally quick rate and this will certainly pose a risk to your website.