In the world of SEO, we categorize these techniques into three similar, yet vastly different sections: white hat SEO, gray hat SEO, and black hat SEO. It’s important to only work with an SEO agency that steers clear of anything that’s not white hat.
Enemies in the SEO world, these “hat” techniques all offer ways to improve search results whether it is done in compliance or out of compliance with search engine guidelines (we’ll get to that soon). When trying to revamp your company’s presence on the internet, it’s important to only adopt effective, smiled-upon techniques.
As we deconstruct white, gray, and black hat techniques, we’ll slowly but surely reveal why white hat SEO techniques are crucial in increasing search results.
To start, let’s jump into the unethical world of black hat SEO.
What is Black Hat SEO?
Black hat SEO is the frowned-upon SEO strategy. It focuses on providing fast results through the use of high-risk and poorly executed techniques that don’t comply with search engine guidelines.
Black hat SEO is often seen as a strategy directed solely towards search engines and not the human audience, unlike white hat SEO techniques. Often fueled by impatience and financial greed, black hat SEO helps sites rank inorganically through techniques like link farms, keyword stuffing, and cloaking, each of which you should avoid:
A link farm is a group of links that directly link themselves to each other. This spams search engine indexes by rigging the organic ranking process. Most link farms are generated by automatic programs and services, further skewing the organic ranking process. Don’t ruin the organic rankings for everyone, link farmers.
Keyword stuffing is the optimization technique of cramming keywords into meta tags/descriptions and site content. It’s the classic “the teacher isn’t looking” cheating technique. However in this case, the teacher actually has eyes in the back of their head. Search engines rid their ranking process of meta tags that have been keyword stuffed, hurting other meta tag users from their chances at organic ranking. Shame on you, keyword stuffers.
Cloaking; it’s exactly what it sounds like. Cloaking refers to the unethical optimization technique of presenting content to search engine spiders as something different than it actually is. “Cloakers” will present content to search engines one way, then present it differently to visitors on a webpage by directing them to a different IP address. In our opinion, not okay.
Since each of these techniques and others used in black hat SEO put websites at high risk of being deindexed by search engine sites, it’s probably (definitely) best practice to NOT use black hat SEO strategy.
What is White Hat SEO?
So, we started from the bottom (black hat SEO), now we here.
Simply put, white hat SEO is the process of obtaining high search engine ranking through techniques that comply with search engine guidelines. With little to no risk, white hat SEO is a long-term strategy that lays a solid foundation of SEO strategy to further build a company on. Over time, as more search queries are responded to with relevant and valuable content linked to a company’s website, the higher the company’s site with rank in search results. This process is a long-term strategy with notable, long-term benefits that ensure a company’s relevance for the long haul.
Within the white hat SEO strategy are a number of white hat techniques to implement into your company’s SEO strategy. These white hat SEO best practices are the go-to tools you need to implement into your business plan:
Effective keyword research is vital in white hat SEO strategy. Identifying what keywords are relevant to a website, making a list of those, and focusing content around those keywords is important in hopes of reaping what you sow. SEO campaigns are centered around keyword identification and analysis. Keywords are the portal between a Google searcher and your website.
To be as effective as possible in white hat SEO, use keyword research tools like the Google Keyword Planner or the Wordstream Keyword Tool. Tools like these help give insight into what keywords a company should focus on to optimize their white hat SEO campaign.
The first order of business in site optimization is performing an audit of your site. Our audit tool helps to uncover weak spots in three key areas:
Content Issues – To better optimize a website for search engine rankings, it’s important to format web pages with quality and relevant content that isn’t too short or too long. Rid your site of spam content to keep it easy for search engine spiders and site visitors to navigate through.
Technical Issues – Ensuring that your site loads quickly and properly depending on the format (laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc.) is key to keep visitors around.
Optimization Issues – Making sure that content titles and meta descriptions are of correct character length is important in complying with search engine rules. Meta descriptions should be 155-165 words long while titles should be 55-65 words long.
Implementing a solid back linking structure in your site is a game-changer. Keeping broken links off your site and choosing only relevant and valuable links boosts any sites SEO. Having diverse and strong backlinks helps establish your site as an authority, keeping the competition on their toes as your SEO boosts. Try using Ahrefs tool to see a site’s backlinks and other useful SEO metrics.
Let’s Review White Hat SEO Techniques
In the colorful world of SEO, it’s important to know the difference between black hat SEO, white hat SEO, and the different techniques that both use to achieve similar goals. However, black hat techniques drive your company into the ground, while white hat techniques guide your company one way: UP.
Steer clear of the shady ways of black hat SEO, white hat SEO is the way to go!