First of all, what is SEO? Search Engine Optimisation. It is about using techniques to increase both the quality and quantity of traffic to your site.
There are processes that are a brilliant way to get your website further up google search engines, however there’s also such thing as bad SEO. You should know the difference as the penalty for black hat SEO could be devastating towards your business.
White Hat SEO
White hat SEO is following google guidelines exactly. Google are very clear with what is allowed and what is not when it comes to search engine optimisation. A site with good SEO will have;
- Relevant content
- Relevant links and references
- Unique and relevant page titles
- Coherent sentences with good grammar and correct spelling
- Well-labelled images, alt text
- Fast page/ load up speed
- Include keywords with high search volumes in content
Black Hat SEO
So, black hat SEO on the other hand is all about breaking the rules. This involves;
- Hidden text- making the text the same colour as your background.
- Plagiarism- If you just steal someone else’s content google will flag it as duplicate content. Create your own, unique content to avoid this.
- Link farms- websites created solely with the intention of artificially boosting the rankings of other websites with hundreds of backlinks. It’s prohibited.
- Hand in hand with link farms, purchasing links is also forbidden.
- Keyword stuffing- overusing the same keyword throughout a page to get higher rankings. Google doesn’t like this because stuffing your content with the same keyword doesn’t look natural and therefore is not user friendly.
If your content has been created for search engines rather than for customers, you’re already edging towards black hat SEO. Create unique, interesting-to-read content for people! Not for bots.
For real, using these sneaky techniques to rank higher might work for a little while but the negative repercussions in the long run just aren’t worth it, the rankings won’t last if your site is not user friendly, we can’t stress this enough.
If you’re ever unsure google have said ‘A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
It’s easy to try and get quick ‘internet points,’ but it can be detrimental to the success of your business in the long run, penalising you and your business. Some of these little things are so easy to slip up on, using the right number of keywords for example. If you add too many it does look like you’re trying to cheat the system, add not enough and you’ll rank lower than you could be; a professional will know what they’re doing and won’t fall into any traps. SEO isn’t something you want to be stingy about- there’s too many ways to mess up and too many benefits to not have it at all. Invest in a pro.