A proper look at white hat SEO and why you should follow this approach
There's no doubt that search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex and ever-changing field. What works today may not work tomorrow and keeping up with the latest changes in algorithms and best practices can be tricky.
However, if you're willing to put in the effort, white hat SEO can bring great rewards, including increased traffic, improved search engine rankings, and higher conversion rates.
In this article, we'll look at some of the trends for white hat SEO in 2022. We'll also discuss how to stay ahead of the curve and win in today's competitive search landscape.
So whether you're just starting out in SEO or you're looking for ways to improve your skills, read on!
What is white hat SEO?
White hat SEO is the practice of optimizing your website for search engines in a way that doesn't violate their terms of service. This means creating high-quality content that helps users find what they're looking for and using keywords strategically without stuffing them into every nook and cranny of your website.
It also means linking to other websites and having other websites link to yours only when it's relevant and useful for users. Basically, white hat SEO is all about putting your users first and making sure your actions align with the guidelines set forth by search engines.
What are white hat SEO tactics?
There are many different white hat SEO tactics, but some of the most common include
#1. Creating great content
This is perhaps the most important white hat SEO tactic. If you want your website to rank well, you need to have high-quality, informative, and keyword-rich content. Your content should be relevant to your target audience and offer something that they can't find on any other website.
#2. Doing keyword research
In order to create great content, you need to know what your target audience is searching for. This is where keyword research comes in. By doing some digging, you can figure out which keywords and phrases are most relevant to your business and get the most searches from your users. Then, you incorporate them into your content in a way that sounds natural.
#3. Optimizing your website for mobile
More and more people are using their smartphones to search the web, so it's important to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. This means having a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes and making sure your content loads quickly on mobile devices.
#4. Building backlinks
Backlinks are links from other websites to yours. They're important because they show search engines that your website is popular and relevant. However, it's important to note that not all backlinks are created equal. In order to boost your ranking, you want to focus on building high-quality backlinks from authority websites.
#5. Monitoring your activity
Last but not least, it's important to keep an eye on your SEO activities and track your progress over time. This way, you can see what's working and adjust your strategy accordingly.
White hat SEO vs Black hat SEO
Now that we've gone over what white hat SEO is, let's take a quick look at black hat SEO so you can see the contrast.
What is black hat SEO?
Black hat SEO is the practice of using shady tactics that attempt to game the system and deceive users to improve your website's ranking. This might include buying backlinks, stuffing keywords into your content, and hiding text on your website.
Basically, anything that goes against the guidelines set forth by search engines is considered black hat SEO.
Some typical black hat SEO methods
Some common black hat SEO tactics include
#1. Keyword stuffing
Or “irrelevant keywords” by Google is the act of cramming as many keywords into your content as possible in an attempt to rank higher for those keywords. However, this tactic is not only frowned upon by search engines, but it also makes for terrible content that no one wants to read.
For example, the keyword “rubber barbie doll” has been used 5 times in a paragraph with 47 words. That’s unacceptably high, resulting in earning a penalty from search engines.
#2. Buying backlinks
This is when you pay other websites to link to yours. This might seem like a quick and easy way to boost your rankings, but it's actually a major violation of Google's guidelines.
#3. Hiding text
This is when you add text to your website that is the same color as the background. This makes it invisible to users but still readable by search engines. The point of this is to stuff keywords into your website without making it obvious to users.
#4. Doorway pages
Doorway pages are low-quality pages that are crammed with keywords and are designed solely for the purpose of ranking higher in search results. These pages provide no value to users and can actually harm your website's ranking.
Why white hat SEO is important for ranking on the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs)?
White hat SEO is the only way to build a sustainable online business. If you're using black hat SEO tactics, it's only a matter of time before you get caught and your website is penalized by search engines. This can lead to your website being banned from the SERPs entirely.
Not only that, but white hat SEO is also more effective in the long run. Sure, you might be able to game the system and achieve short-term results with black hat SEO, but those results will quickly disappear as soon as you stop using those tactics. On the other hand, white hat SEO tactics build a solid foundation for your website that will help you rank higher in the long run by
- Promoting organic visibility. The prime motive of SEO is to ensure that your website appears on the top of SERP whenever a relevant query is made. If you want to achieve this goal then you have no other option but to focus on delivering quality content and user experience.
- Attracting more website visitors and followers. Quality content has the power to attract new visitors as well as keeping the old ones engaged. If you are able to deliver what your audience is looking for then they will surely visit your website more often which will help you improve your ranking on SERP.
- Increasing brand awareness and authority. White Hat SEO techniques will help you gradually build your brand’s authority and improve its online visibility. Authority is an important ranking factor that helps you earn the trust of your audience which is essential for the success of any website.
Is white hat SEO always your choice to go for?
Brian Dean from Backlinko shared that he used 100% black hat SEO when he built his first website. The tactics he used at that time to trick Google were keyword stuffing, shady links, etc. And the results? Yes, it worked. But it didn’t last.
He later switched to White hat SEO and the reward is amazing. His website has occupied Google’s first page for thousands of keywords, even the competitive ones.
The picture is clear now. White hat SEO is highly recommended among the SEO big cheeses. But if you’re still doubtful about the two methods, let’s do a simple comparison to see if white hat SEO is your go-to.
Dozens of POORLY – DESIGNED sites vs one BEAUTIFUL website
While there are many factors that go into a successful website, one of the most important is design. A site that is poorly designed is likely to turn potential customers away, while a well-designed site can help to build trust and brand awareness.
Black hat SEO usually launches a mass of websites in series to see which ranks and which doesn’t. Since the focus is to produce as many sites as possible in a fraction of the time, they don’t really pay attention to optimizing UI/UX. This results in ugly, esthetically unappealing websites that visitors won’t ever want to stay, not to mention come back.
On the other hand, a beautiful website with a clean, easy-to-navigate design is more likely to rank highly in search results and magnetize leads. Plus, a site that is optimized for SEO from the outset is more likely to maintain its high ranking over time.
So, why don’t you save your time and money to build a properly-optimized website in both SEO and design to use long term?
Low-quality content vs unique, useful content
Black hat SEO doesn’t really care about content quality (if it does, why would we call it “black hat”?). The content on these sites is often from
- Copying content from other websites
- Spinning or re-writing existing content
- Using content from low-quality article directories
- Hiring cheap writers to work on articles
This type of content is created solely for the purpose of SEO, which is typically filled with keywords and lacks useful information. As a result, it offers little to no value to readers and even hurts the user experience. This leads to poor user engagement such as a high bounce rate, low time on page, etc. All of these signals will cause multiple knock-on effects, making winning high rankings on the 1st SERP more impossible.
In contrast, unique and useful content is more likely to engage readers and attract attention from search engines. This type of content is typically well-written and informative, making it more likely to be shared and ranked highly in search results. Who doesn’t like a piece full of useful tips, tricks, and insights that can give answers to your problems and broaden your perspectives and knowledge?
Link buying vs link building
Link buying and link building are two very different methods of obtaining links. Link buying is the process of paying for links, while link building is the process of earning links through high-quality content and a strong web presence.
Link buying can be a quick and effective way to get links quickly, but it can also be risky. Google has cracked down on paid links, and if you're caught using them, you could be penalized.
Plus, link buying is NOT cheap. In Siege Media’s link cost analysis, it can cost from $150-$1000+ per link, depending on the industry.
AuthorityHacker also launched a field test and found out that buying links is extremely expensive with the average price being $100-$1000. The thing is, these numbers don’t always guarantee to lead to better metrics.
Link building, on the other hand, is a much safer way to get links. Not only will you avoid any penalties, but you'll also earn links that are more valuable and longer-lasting. Though link building takes more time and effort than link buying, it's completely free and well worth the investment.
Which are the surefire strategies to build links?
- Guest posting
- Relationship-based link building
- Broken-link building
- Link reclaiming
Note: Read 30 Advanced Link Building Strategies for Marketers to Master to learn more.
Spam vs. outreach
If you’ve ever used email, you have encountered a spam email like this, I bet. I can’t remember how many email spams like this I received in a week. How do I feel when seeing these spams? Tired? Annoyed? Of course!
Spam focuses on artificially boosting search engine rankings. A process for black-hat spam typically contains
- Find a list of target websites (e.g., through a Google search).
- Send a mass email or comment to these websites with your spammy message.
- Repeat step 2 as necessary until you get banned or blacklisted.
While these methods may offer short-term results, they can ultimately lead to search engine penalties and a loss of organic traffic.
In contrast, white hat outreach involves sending personal messages to individuals who are likely to be interested in your content. This process may take longer to see results from an outreach-based campaign, but the rewards are often worth the wait. Not only are you less likely to get banned or blacklisted, but you're also more likely to build relationships and earn links from high-quality websites.
See? This outreach email from Attrock CEO – Gaurav Shama is wayyyy more better!
How can you improve your white hat SEO?
If you want to improve your white hat SEO, there are a few things you should bear in mind:
- Publish high-quality content that's helpful for users
- Create descriptive, keyword-rich meta descriptions
- Use keywords thoughtfully and sparingly
- Link to other websites only when it's relevant and useful
- Make sure other websites are linking to yours only when it's relevant and useful
- Optimize your website on mobile
By following these guidelines, you can improve your chances of ranking well in search engines without resorting to unethical tactics. And at the end of the day, isn't that what we all want? To rank well because our website is genuinely helpful and informative, not because we cheated our way to the top? We think so too.
Follow the rules and win the SEO games
White hat SEO is the best way to improve your website's ranking in search engines. It's a sustainable approach that relies on producing high-quality content and building relationships.
While it may take more time and effort upfront, the rewards are often worth the wait. So if you're serious about SEO, focus on link building and creating helpful, informative content. Your website will thank you for it in the long run.
Need any help with optimizing SEO and leveraging content marketing? Connect with MediaBerry today!