Search engine optimization (SEO) is a crucial part of any online marketing campaign because no matter how nice your website is, that doesn’t make a difference if nobody can find you. The good news is that no one gets to those first page spots on accident. By creating a website that fits the over 200 most important ranking factors that webmasters know about, and focuses on delivering what the search engines want, you will be able to make changes or improvements that get your website recognized.
The key is understanding that not all SEO is equal. There are some tactics that Google not only rewards, but actively encourages, and there are methods that have been shown to work for short periods of time before getting punished. It’s important to understand the three general “colors” of SEO, what each one is, and why you should only stick to white hat options.
Three “Colors” Of SEO
Search engine optimization isn’t simple, and any strategy or work that falls under the general umbrella term of “SEO” but there are varying identifying descriptions that make all the difference. In this case, those are:
– White Hat SEO
– Gray Hat SEO
– Black Hat SEO
Two are easy to define: white hat and black hat. Black hat refers to spamming, intentionally building massive amounts of perfectly optimized backlinks, and any practice that is blatantly done in order to manipulate the search engine rankings in an unnatural way that will cause a website to shoot to the top over websites that more naturally fit what Google and other major search engines are looking for. When black hat SEO gets often spotted times the rankings are not only changed, but those websites are stripped from the search engine completely, and any monetization methods from Google don’t go through.
White Hat SEO involves doing the things that Google approves of and has come out as saying perfectly fine and legal practices for improving rankings. The reason they give out some of this information is to keep improving the overall quality of websites in every niche to provide more great options for their users.
Gray Hat SEO involves any practices that hit a gray area that isn’t clearly black hat but isn’t necessarily openly approved (such as getting backlinks through guest posting via free content – sometimes this is seen as okay, sometimes it is iffy). Definitions can vary on this one, which is why it is a catch all for any practice that doesn’t get put under one of the other two.
What Does White Hat SEO Consist Of?
White Hat SEO is all about doing what Google has publicly announced as being things they want to see from websites. This includes both on-site and off-site SEO, as well as some localized options depending on the type of website.
A few examples:
– Having an SSL certificate
– Creating a responsive and mobile friendly website
– Only displaying high-quality original content
– Claiming your business listing and map listing from the major search engines
– Guest posting on high quality, high authority blogs in your field
Looking at your website to get good formatting, excellent original graphics, and having clean code makes a huge difference as well. You want to ensure you’re using meta, alt, and title tags correctly throughout your page, as well.
While this type of formatting is important when in doubt, make it reader friendly. You’ll never get hurt if this is your overriding philosophy.
Many different strategies can be used in order to boost local, national or even world rankings in SEO in addition to many different styles. That being said, sticking to white hat SEO will provide amazing results over the long term and help you to get above the competition and stay there! Check out new articles on our homepage.