SEO is one of the best techniques for promoting your online business. Organic visits are not only reliable and sustainable but economical in the long run. With the right strategies in place, you can attract people in different customer stages, depending on your target keywords.
However, SEO is only reliable and secure if you are sticking to the recommended white hat SEO hacks. Abiding by Google guidelines ensure that you are not penalized down the road, as you strive to optimize your website for search.
That said, what exactly is white hat SEO, and how do you ensure that you are treading in its waters?
What’s White Hat SEO?
White Hat SEO refers to all the optimization strategies that follow the recommended Google guidelines and prioritizes users over search engine algorithms. It helps you to improve the rankings of your website while maintaining its integrity and providing a competitive playing field for your competitors in the target market,
Thus, White Hat SEO is often seen as the direct opposite of Black Hat SEO, which does not necessarily comply with the recommended guidelines.
Some of the best White-Hat SEO tactics include:
- Publish mind-blowing content: Content is the oil of SEO. Focus on developing highly relevant and useful content that meets the users’ intent. Long-form content is recommended, but don’t just aim at hitting a word count, but by ensuring that you are giving users all the actionable points to accomplish the desired goal.
- Build high-quality links: backlinks is one of the most important ranking factors that search engines use when determining the position of the search results. You do not need tones of links from useless, non-related sites. White Hat recommends that all the links that you build come from highly relevant sites and pages. Some of the best white hat techniques of building quality links include guest posting, targeted outreach, being interviewed by other publishers, etc.
- Keyword research: To beat the competition, you want to target less competitive long-tail keywords. These keywords, though they have low monthly search volumes, are easier to rank for. The good news is, once you’ve ranked in the top 3 search results, you are more likely to get natural backlinks, which then help your page to rank even for more competitive keywords.
- Get On-Page SEO right: optimizing your content for on-page SEO is crucial if you want to produce content that is likely to rank. Few tactics can go a long way. Ensure that your focus keyword appears in the SEO title, meta description, and a few times within the content. Don’t forget to also include it in the Alt-text of a few of the images in the post.
What’s Black Hat SEO?
Black Hat SEO refers to optimization techniques that do not follow the recommended guidelines, and some may be plainly unethical. These techniques aim at tricking or manipulating search engines. They focus on search engines while neglecting the experience of users.
Some of the black hat Seo techniques include:
- Purchasing low-quality backlinks in bulk
- Building PBNs and linking them to your main site
- Hacking other websites and maliciously inserting backlinks to your site
- Content automation
- Keyword stuffing
- Cloaking and sneaky redirects
- Article spinning
While there may be short-time SEO results, black hat SEO can get you penalized, and Google always catches up with you.
Some people are now adopting grey hat SEO, which is a compromise between White hat and Black Hat SEO. You stick with all the recommended White Hat techniques while adopting some black hat techniques that are not considered illegal. For instance, paying for guest posting opportunities on high-quality sites.
In the long run, Black-Hat can be quite expensive, so I advise you to stick with the recommended guidelines and grow your online presence organically, boost your brand authority with exceptional content and design, and establish your industry presence by contributing to industry giants.
Why White Hat SEO?
Many businesses, individual bloggers, and organizations are embracing white hat techniques, and that’s with a good reason.
White Hat SEO comes with several benefits, including:
Reliability: Unlike black-hat SEO techniques that can be wiped out instantly, white-hat techniques are more reliable as they are backed by Google guidelines.
Sustainability: White hat results in SERP rankings that tend to be quite stable. Even though Google’s algorithms do tend to change considerably over time, results achieved through recommended guidelines do not tend to be affected as much. Abiding by new changes in algorithm guidelines are likely to take your SERPs back within few weeks. In the long run, your SEO traffic proves to be sustainable.
Avoid Google Penalties: As your business starts to grow, organic visits become your main source of business. Google can penalize you if it discovers that you are illegally building links or using other black hat techniques to rank your pages. A penalty could mean your website disappearing from all such results or de-ranking your pages, negatively affecting your business.
Avoid Brand-image damage: Your users and thus potential customers can tell when you are being shady. It’s always disappointing to click on a result from page 1 of Google to only land on a page with thin, fluffy, useless spun content. This damages your reputation, and the user is likely never to come back to your site again. High bounce rates will also indicate to Google that your page is not meeting the user’s search intent.
Remain Ethical: White hat techniques are ethical, giving you a way to rank your website without breaking ethical rules.
Challenges of White Hat SEO
Truthfully, White hat techniques are expensive and time-consuming. Writing, editing, formatting, and publishing one piece of exceptional content can take you anywhere between 20-50 hours. If your rate per hour is just $50, we are talking about a cost of up to $2500 per content for an article of about 4000 words.
To rank a new website and start making money from it, you need at least 100 of such quality contents.
This is where an unfair advantage kicks in since companies with larger budgets can easily produce such content in months instead of years.
Sourcing quality backlinks also requires an elaborate strategy that is highly personalized. Without a team, this process is time-consuming. Not every one of us can afford an outreach team. Ranking a website without quality authoritative backlinks today is nearly impossible, especially if you are targeting competitive keywords.
As challenging as it seems, white hat SEO remains a sure-fire sustainable technique of attracting highly relevant and converting visitors organically through search marketing. The benefits are not usually immediate but done right, and with time and consistency, there are great benefits that come with white hat SEO techniques eventually.