The Three Types of SEO You Should Care About
Whether your target audience spans the globe or is concentrated in Raleigh, NC and its surrounding areas, search engine optimization (SEO) remains a crucial component of your digital marketing strategy. Achieving a prominent position on search engines, particularly Google, which commands more than 85% of worldwide web traffic, translates into heightened visibility. Within the realm of SEO, tons of techniques exist, varying in their effectiveness and ethical standing. To ensure the enduring success of your website and maintain favor with Google, seek out an organic SEO company committed to adhering to “white hat” SEO practices while avoiding the frowned-upon black and grey hat methods.
White Hat SEO
Drawing inspiration from the cinematic conventions of the 1920s and 30s, where heroes donned white hats and villains wore black, the terms “white hat” and “black hat” persist as symbols for those who abide by the rules and those who do not. Today, we apply these terms in the context of search engine optimization. “White hat” signifies SEO practices rooted in honesty, ethics, and a focus on the user. To qualify as “white hat,” an SEO strategy must:
1. Prioritize delivering value to users.
2. Strive to earn its way to the top through legitimate means, eschewing quick but often questionable tactics.
3. Conform to Google’s guidelines for webmasters.
What Does Google Recommend?
Google’s guidelines underscore honesty and providing valuable service to website visitors, centering on three core principles:
1. Crafting content for human readers, not solely for search engine algorithms.
2. Emphasizing quality over the pursuit of clicks.
3. Avoiding deception of users or search engine algorithms.
Deceptive practices constitute black hat SEO. They neither elevate the quality of the site nor assist users in finding what they need. White hat practices prioritize user satisfaction and earn high rankings as a result. They represent the most ethical and effective strategies for garnering clicks and views.
How can you recognize White Hat SEO?
Examples of white hat SEO encompass:
1. Creating original, up-to-date, and relevant content that furnishes readers with valuable information.
2. Concentrating on keywords aligned with real user searches and intent.
3. Structuring a website using headings and readable paragraphs to enhance user experience and facilitate navigation.
These highly effective techniques signal to Google that a site is of high quality and user-centric. Although they constitute the best approach to building rankings, they may require some time to yield results. In a business world where patience is limited, individuals often gravitate toward black hat strategies.
The Scary Side of SEO: Black Hat
Black hat SEO actively contravenes Google’s recommended practices. In fact, many black hat SEO techniques are listed on Google’s webmaster guidelines as practices to avoid. Nonetheless, they continue to entice website owners and developers, not because they are forbidden fruit, but because they promise quick results (accompanied by substantial risks). Black hat techniques deceive search engine algorithms. They strive to make a site appear authoritative and reputable, yet they lack substance. If anything, they diminish the site’s value to users while appealing only to the algorithms responsible for ranking.
Some widely employed black hat SEO techniques include:
1. Keyword stuffing: Excessive use of terms that the site aims to rank for, without regard for natural-sounding text or reader distraction.
2. Auto-generated content: Text generated by machines to manipulate search engine rankings, rather than to assist readers.
3. Cloaking: Presenting different content to human users compared to search engines.
4. Link schemes: Purchasing inbound links or engaging in link exchanges solely to boost rankings, without regard for user benefit.
Such techniques may yield short-term gains but are both unethical and likely to backfire. Search engine algorithms can detect deceptive practices and may result in manual actions, wherein Google lowers a site’s ranking or even removes it from search results.
The sole means of resolving a manual action is to eliminate the black hat technique, a process that may take several months and significantly harm a site’s online presence and lead generation. The lesson is clear: it is advisable to employ white hat strategies from the outset, as the risks associated with black hat SEO far outweigh any potential long-term benefits.
Is Grey Hat Bad?
Certain SEO strategies fall within the gray area between white hat and black hat. This might involve:
1. Combining white and black hat tactics.
2. Using tactics that prioritize manipulating rankings rather than enhancing site quality, even if those tactics are not explicitly forbidden.
For instance, a site might:
1. Produce quality original content but engage in keyword stuffing on its web pages.
2. Rewrite old content to avoid duplication, yet fail to provide substantial value.
3. Offer free gifts to content creators in exchange for backlinks.
If uncertain whether a tactic falls into the gray hat category, consider whether it could transform into black hat in response to minor changes to Googles algorithim. Keyword stuffing, for instance, was initially considered gray hat before Google identified it as bad (black hat).
Some digital marketers argue for the benefits of gray hat techniques, but please don’t be deceived. Anything falling outside the realm of white hat comes with inherent risks. Whether to incorporate some gray hat techniques depends on agency and campaign requirements. Nonetheless, it is crucial to remember that moderation is key.
So What?: White Hat is the way to go!
If your SEO agency proposes tactics that do not prioritize user value, it is time to seek one that does. Surch Digital is a Raleigh based SEO services provider exclusively dedicated to user-focused, quality techniques that deliver stable, long-term results.