Carried out in order to improve a website’s organic ranking on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, search engine optimisation (SEO) has changed a lot over the years. SEO techniques that were once acceptable are now considered cardinal sins that can have a significantly detrimental impact on a website. To distinguish between those practices that remain acceptable and those that will incur the wrath of Google, digital marketers separate SEO into two very distinct camps; White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO.
Within the first month or two, Black Hat SEO may seem like it is helping a website out and you will enjoy the pleasure of witnessing its organic traffic skyrocket. However, after a while, Google will undoubtedly pick up on what is going on and penalise the site for the lousy techniques being used. The extent to which these penalties affect a website depends upon the extent of Black Hat SEO techniques that have been applied, and there is always the possibility of a website being banned from appearing on Google’s search engine altogether. Best case scenario; the site’s ranking falls below where it was prior to the Black Hat SEO being carried out and months of time and effort are simply wasted.
Google has spent years developing sophisticated algorithms that are certain to flag any website going against its search engine’s guidelines by keyword stuffing, concealing text or links within a page’s HTML, inorganically cultivating links, and so on. To learn more about the practices that could prove harmful to your site, be sure to read our post on Black Hat SEO Techniques To Avoid.
White Hat SEO is the application of optimisation strategies, techniques and tactics that focus as much on appealing to a human audience as they do search engines. Considerably more work is required when adhering to the rules and regulations that make up White Hat SEO but in the long run, websites shall reap the benefits of the effort poured into them and a continuous, ever-increasing stream of organic web traffic shall be all but secured.
Choose The Right Keywords, Not The Most Popular: Research keywords that apply to your website and utilise them across your site. Remember, the best keywords are not those that are searched for most often, but rather those that best reflect what your website has to offer.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing: Including keywords in page titles, metadata and URLs is essential, however, be sure to not keyword stuff as this will have a negative effect on your website. To be on the safe side, it is recommended that no individual keyword makes up more than 3% of a page’s content and is only used once each in a page’s URL, meta-title, and meta-description.
Organic On-Site Links: Build links to other pages on your website so that it is easy for visitors to navigate and explore. Websites should be structured like a web, with numerous avenues leading to any one page. This ought to not only increase the number of pages viewed per visit but also reduce a website’s bounce rate.
Responsive Websites: Make sure your website is as accessible and easy to use on smartphones and tablets as it is on a desktop. Google research suggests that the highest percentage of site traffic these days comes from mobile users, which is why more emphasis than ever is being placed on the importance of responsive websites and mobile optimisation.
Content Creation: Unique content is vital in order to entice readers, but this does not mean you should create content for the sake of content. It is essential that any and all content has perfect grammar and spelling, whilst also ensuring that it is easy for readers of any level to understand. Always bear in mind, creating content for human readers rather than search engine crawlers is a fundamental principle of White Hat SEO.
Write For Your Audience: Take the time to consider who your target audiences are and create content for them and them alone. If you’re targeting individuals who are likely to be knowledgeable about the subject then utilise terms and phrases correctly to demonstrate your understanding and expertise. On the other hand, if you’re writing a beginners guide to metadata (for example) it would be best to avoid unnecessary industry jargon and spend more time explaining advanced terminology.
Set Up A Google My Business Account: It may sound daunting and long-winded, but all you need is a Gmail account, your most basic business details, and ten minutes. Often overlooked by smaller businesses, having a Google My Business page is well worth the meagre effort required to set it up and is certainly one of the easier and less time-consuming White Hat SEO practices to enact.
If you’re worried that your website may have had Black Hat SEO techniques carried out on it, Ruckus Marketing offers free website audits to all existing and potential clients so we can help you find out and address any issues with White Hat SEO techniques. For more information, feel free to contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call.