A majority of digital marketers consider search engine optimization (SEO) to be the single most effective digital marketing method they use. When done right, SEO can drive tons of free organic traffic that skyrockets leads and sales.
There are two ways to conduct SEO: white hat and black hat. White hat SEO involves following Google search engine guidelines to increase webpage rankings. Black hat SEO consists of looking for loopholes within Google’s algorithm and then exploiting them to improve search engine rankings. While both are focused on increasing organic traffic, there are some major differences between the two. The last thing you want to do is get on Google’s bad side and have them penalize your site.
We’re going to run through why white hat SEO is the preferred way to improve search engine rankings to higher organic traffic.
What Is White Hat SEO?
White hat SEO is the term that has been coined to describe SEO strategies that fall within the guidelines of major search engines like Google. These strategies will improve rankings for webpages without resorting to shady tactics that exploit search engine algorithms. The focus of white hat SEO is to provide quality content that is relevant and optimized.
The Difference Between White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO
At the end of the day, every business wants to get to that coveted first page of the search results for a given keyword. Google is the search engine that SEO strategies are focused on since a whopping 86% of people use it for their online searches.
As mentioned earlier, there is a difference between white hat SEO and black hat SEO. Here are a few points to understand, so that you have a clear picture of how these SEO strategies differ:
- White hat SEO uses popular keywords in its niche that are surrounded by helpful and interesting content to drive traffic.
- Black hat SEO focuses on churning out mediocre content that is often copied from other websites.
- White hat SEO takes advantage of alt text for images and thoughtful use of keywords within content.
- Black hat spams content with keywords and even makes some text invisible.
- White hat SEO involves a good amount of time spent on keyword research.
- Black hat SEO uses and abuses a keyword, stuffing it wherever it can.
- White hat SEO follows all of the guidelines put out by search engines like Google. Genuine link-building strategies, like guest posts, are employed.
- Black hat SEO involves buying links.
We know that “black hat SEO” sounds very sinister. However, there is some overlap. The main problem is that black hat SEO creates content with only search engines in mind, not real people. You will want to steer clear of black hat SEO so that you don’t get penalized and see your search engine rankings take a tumble.
Popular White Hat SEO Strategies
You want your business to be a reputable one, don’t you? Well, you’ll have to stick to black hat SEO in that case. Sure, it can take some time, but your results will be longer-lasting. To give you an idea of what will be helpful to get your content to rank higher in search results, here are some of the most popular white hat SEO strategies being used today:
Creating Valuable Content
You want to create content with people in mind. That means crafting content that is interesting and informative. Your goal is to deliver value. A blog is the best way to get more leads from organic traffic. Creating content that is relevant to the keywords you use within it will make it more likely that visitors to your website will stick around.
Satisfying User Intent
People want to see content directly related to what they type into a search engine. User intent involves understanding what people are searching for and delivering that to them. That means optimizing your site’s content to match the keywords people are using to search for something, as well as delivering content that’s related to them. Great white hat SEO involves a bunch of on-page optimizations, such as using subheadings, bullet points, relevant images and videos, and more.
Optimizing for Mobile
Most internet traffic today comes from mobile devices. That means if your website is not “responsive” and mobile-friendly, you’re going to see a high bounce rate. This is when someone goes to your site but quickly leaves. Your website should look just as great on a smartphone as it does on a desktop.
When to Use White Hat SEO
Depending on what industry your business is in, you will either be solely using a white hat or black hat SEO strategy. It’s also possible that you are in an industry where a hybrid of the two works best, which has come to be called a gray hat strategy.
We can only recommend going full white hat SEO. This is because the risk of getting penalized by the top-dog of search engines, Google, is far too great. Google has a highly-advanced algorithm that is getting increasingly more intelligent. What works as a black hat tactic today may get found out tomorrow, leading your website to drop way down the search results. If you want your business to thrive online, you’ll need to stick to only using white hat SEO.
Now that you know why white hat SEO is the fashionable way to increase search engine rankings, you can start optimizing your site’s content. The white hat strategies we shared earlier will help you increase the placement of your site’s content without worrying about getting penalized for using them. Sure, it takes time and effort. However, at the end of the day, you don’t have to worry about your business suffering a severe blow due to using them. If you want your business to have a long-term presence that is seen as trustworthy and valuable, then white hat SEO is the way to go. Contact Lounge Lizard to learn more about SEO.