Have you ever heard the term “white hat SEO” and not understood what it meant or not known what to do to become a white hat specialist? Well, it’s simple. White hat SEO refers to SEO techniques that follow search engine best practices guidelines for search engine optimization. When using white hat techniques, you are finding ways to improve your website and its rankings, while staying within search engine guidelines. Essentially, you are building your website for humans to read, not robots or Google’s spiders.
What are proper white hat techniques?
One of the best ways to follow proper white hat SEO techniques is to simply put quality content on your website. Make sure that what you are putting on your website is engaging and answers users’ questions. This will promote them to stay on your website longer, come back to your site, and maybe even recommend you to a friend. A great tool to help you create quality content that will reach the right people is to use Google’s Keyword Planner, which will find relevant keywords that your target markets are searching for. It is also important for your website optimization to have a well written meta tags and description that include your relevant keywords.
When it comes to white hat link building, you should only be linking to other sources that are relevant and add true value to your content. In turn, creating meaningful content that utilizes strong references will also help to have your website linked on other sites. Additionally, you should ensure that your website is easy for not only humans to navigate, but also robots. Things like site maps and website speed make it easier for Google to crawl your website.
What is black hat SEO?
Now that you know what white hat SEO is, I’m sure you can guess what black hat SEO refers to. Black hat SEO is just the opposite of white hat—using techniques in efforts to trick search engines and artificially boost your search engine rankings.
When putting together your website, WordStream suggests asking yourself, “Is the work that I’m doing adding value for the user or am I just doing this for search engines to see?” Practices like keyword stuffing, using hidden text or links, cloaking, spamming other websites with your links, link farming, and doorway pages are all considered black hat tools that should not be used.
But who cares?
Why bother with following the rules if breaking them can get you higher SERP rankings quicker? Violating Google’s search engine rules could get you banned from their site. Ouch! What could be worse for your business than getting banned from Google? Google has billions of visitors a day and not being included in SERPs could send your business in a downward spiral. Even if you managed to successfully trick Google, think about the quality of the visitors who would visit your site. If you use black hat techniques like keyword stuffing or link schemes to get to the top of search results, traffic to your site would be inflated with visitors who aren’t interested in your website and are not finding answers to their questions. Breaking Google’s rules might temporarily increase website traffic rates, but you would likely also see an increase in bounce rate and have very low-quality visitors.
If you are still unsure on what actions could result in being banned from Google, visit Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.