Search engine optimisation is an important marketing channel with the ability to significantly increase search visibility and organic traffic.
However, the long-term nature of SEO marketing may tempt some people to adopt undesirable techniques to ‘cheat’ the algorithms and obtain higher ranks on the search engine results page. Known more commonly as ‘black hat SEO’ – this should be avoided. Here’s why.
What is White-Hat SEO?
The terminology ‘White-Hat SEO’ refers to tactics and techniques that follow all the rules and regulations of the search engines when you optimise your website. You will be able to improve your rankings without hurting your website or violating search engine regulations.
Why is it important? It allows you to implement beneficial strategies without any fear of penalties or repercussions from the search engine. It also creates a fair opportunity to rank well on the results page across all websites and industries.
White hat vs. Black hat
‘Black hat SEO’ is focused on trying to “trick” the search engine algorithm into thinking a website is valuable. This is achieved with various strategies but will be quickly identified by the algorithm teams and punished depending on the severity of the situation.
The search engine will either penalise the website by causing a drop in rankings or by removing the website from the index completely. Some black hat techniques include:
- Keyword stuffing
- Invisible texts and links
- Doorway and cloaked pages
- Participation in link farming and schemes
White-Hat Strategies to Implement
Prioritise Quality Content
Creating useful and valuable content is the most important white-hat technique that you can implement on your website. The more interesting or creative, the more likely it will be shared on other websites and high-value organic backlinks will be obtained.
Focus on creating content that solves the problem of your users: what are their concerns, and how could your services and content help them?
If you’re unsure where to start, try the ‘Skyscraper technique’. This involves searching for a topic that you want to write an article on and selecting the most significant information from the top-ranking articles on Google or Bing. You will be able to produce a fantastic article of your own that in theory is better than those currently ranking.
The best articles add something new to the conversation online, rather than just repeating what others have already said.
Use Keywords Organically
Keywords play a crucial role in SEO, but they must not be abused. Always conduct keyword research before implementing your SEO strategies, to ensure that the keywords you are optimising a blog article or website page for are the most appropriate ones.
The most obvious keyword is not always the best, as you must take into account the search volume of that keyword and how much domain authority your website has in comparison to the other websites you will be competing against on page one of the SERP.
Keywords should be naturally incorporated into your page – keyword stuffing is a black hat technique that search engines will recognise and penalise you for. Don’t forget to also include your keyword organically into the meta title, meta description, page titles, and alt text for images.
Link building is the practice of obtaining links from external websites to your website. The more backlinks your website has, the more domain authority the search engine will award you.
A high domain authority indicates that a website is an authority on the topics they discuss, and is one of the driving factors that will allow you to rank at the top of the SERP for desired keywords.
The obtaining of backlinks must follow a specific set of guidelines that comply with search engine regulations.
A white-hat form of acquiring backlinks is through outreach, whereby you contact the owners of other websites and ask for a link. This method is fantastic when it works, but is not always possible and in reality very unlikely unless you know the owner.
Other, more achievable, white-hat link-building tactics include guest posting and blog commenting on websites that are relevant to your business niche.
Make use of different Schema Markup
Schema markup is a type of code that can be implemented into the HTML of a webpage to organise data and make it more easily read by a search engine.
In some cases, search engines such as Google will reward you by including your featured schema in the SERP, allowing you to better compete against the other website’s ranking. It will increase conversion rates and website traffic.
Don’t forget internal linking
The use of internal linking can be overlooked as external links, or backlinks, are seen as the most valuable form of linking. While this may be true, internal linking is powerful in its own right.
It makes it easier to navigate your website, improving the user experience. Google and other search engines are taking into account positive user experience now more than ever, and rewarding websites with higher SERP rankings because they know users will have a positive experience on the website.
topclick has an excellent team and more than 20 years of experience. We have gained priceless knowledge that will help us deliver an expertly tailored SEO service for your specific business niche. As part of our service, we will give you regular updates, access to granular SEO reporting metrics, and a dedicated account manager to help you achieve the results you need. Contact us today for more information.