Search Engine Optimization – SEO
What EXACTLY is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a key way to increase your online visibility. Search engines including Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask, etc. help consumers quickly and efficiently find the most relevant answers to their searches online. This may include searching for local businesses, a specific service or product, and information on just about any topic. It is our company’s business to know how search engines work and utilize them to noticeably increase your web presence.
White Hat Versus Black Hat SEO Techniques
White Hat SEO refers to the ethical practices that can help you rank higher within the search engines. Black Hat SEO refers to those practices that are considered to be unethical. Knowing the difference can affect your web presence dramatically.
White Hat SEO includes the methods that are used by those who are more serious about upholding a high level of quality for their users. White Hat SEO works by adhering to the guidelines set by the search engines and ensuring that the user leaves the website(s) with a positive experience. One of the most common White Hat SEO techniques is having unique, concise content. This is key for a successful website. When the search engine’s “crawlers” are working to index your content, they want to see something that is your own and not copied off of the internet. It is, therefore, critical to write in your own words and use your own experiences. This will benefit you and keep you in line with White Hat SEO techniques.
The next key to having well-rounded SEO is to produce rich media. This can be achieved by adding alternative text informing the user what the media is all about. Add captions that clearly label what an image or video is. Clicking on the image or video while the caption is displayed along with the media will allow your visitors to see the alternative text provided. An additional step that you can take to enhance your media is to add good back links and internal links that show related content to the media the user has selected. The last thing you can do to ensure successful media is to edit it closely. This will help you to improve your rank within the search engines using White Hat SEO techniques.
Another tactic that people use to improve rank with White Hat SEO is to edit the SEO title closely, ensuring that it contains the “focus keyword”. The focus keyword is either a word or short phrase that tells the search engine what the content is all about. You want to ensure that this focus keyword is in the SEO title, meta description, and the article at least three times (depending on the length of the article). In some cases (with longer articles), you will want the keyword present more often to ensure that the keyword density is high enough to help you rank well.
White Hat SEO can be a bit more work on the front-end, but the results in the long run are definitely worth the effort. We have seen Google and other search engines move more towards rewarding those websites that focus on a positive user experience with higher ranks. With that in mind, creating good content that the user can really benefit from will result in the search engines ranking you and your websites higher.
Alternatively, the other method that you must know about is called Black Hat SEO. This refers to the list of techniques that are said to be unethical and will almost certainly result in you receiving some type of penalization when used. Black Hat SEO was designed to create a hard and fast result in ranking on a search engine. These tactics are fleeting and temporary, and really do not focus on the user’s experience whatsoever. Use of these techniques can lead to serious penalization and/or deletion of your website if found by the search engine crawlers.
The first way this type of SEO is implemented is through redirection. This is as simple as directing someone to a page that they did not originally click on. Once it comes up as a bad link, users will likely not come back to the page for information. They are also much less likely to share this page on their social media, and if they do, it will not be in a positive way.
The next most common Black Hat SEO technique is placing hidden text within site content. This allows the website owner to place text that is unrelated to topic in their site so that crawlers see it and index it as something more than it is. For example, if I run a blog on how to work from home and I go in and place Donald Trump’s name within it, this will get me some traffic that is not appropriate for my content. One way people get away with this is to make the text they wish to hide the same color as the background. This makes it invisible to the human eye but not to the crawlers. Sneaky, right?
Another unethical technique for boosting SEO is called article spinning. This happens when a website owner takes something from the internet and then “spins” it. This tries to reword the same article to attempt to pass it off as unique, and it is usually not done in a way that creates quality in the new article. This is a way of stealing someone’s work and trying to take credit for it – plainly stated, it is plagiarism.
One other nefarious Black Hat SEO tactic involves the use of spam links. This is when someone goes to a comment section and leaves a useless link that is unrelated to the content for their own promotion. This leads to people clicking their links and having a negative experience.
Lastly, the last Black Hat SEO technique worthy of mention is known as “keyword stuffing.” Keyword stuffing refers to the overuse of a focus keyword to achieve a higher rank and a higher number of searches.
We only use and recommend using White Hat SEO techniques. Serious internet marketing professionals would never consider unethical methods that could place themselves at risk of serious penalization. White Hat SEO will allow you to fine-tune your website’s SEO and utilize good techniques that will increase your earning potential month after month.