In every domain, good and bad exist. In the world of search engine optimization (SEO), you can consider White Hat SEO as the acceptable good and Black Hat SEO as the avoidable bad. Both White Hat and Black Hat SEO have the same motive—to increase the ranking of a website on search engines. The difference, however, lies in the integrity of the methods used and the guidelines followed.
What is White Hat SEO?
The tools and techniques used to improve a website’s ranking follow the algorithm of the search engine and are free from hidden tricks or loopholes. Popular search engines like Google consider White Hat SEO strategies as ethical and blacklist or penalize websites that use Black Hat SEO techniques.
White Hat vs Black Hat SEO
While White Hat SEO techniques comply with search engine guidelines, Black Hat SEO techniques try to find loopholes to trick them. The strategies that Black Hat SEO uses are mere shortcuts that only aim to rank the website higher on search engines. They neither provide any real value to the user nor do they boost the business.
In White Hat SEO, the core focus is on enhancing user experience by improving navigation speed, page load time, and the overall user-friendliness of the website. Black Hat SEO, on the other hand, emphasises pleasing the search engine without providing any value to the user, so the user experience is poor and the result is counterproductive. Here are some examples of White Hat and Black Hat SEO strategies to help you understand the differences between the two:
- White Hat SEO emphasizes using organic keywords that fit in the context of the Web page; Black Hat SEO relies on keyword stuffing and inorganic keyword placement to boost rankings.
- White Hat SEO uses keyword-rich title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs after thorough research; Black Hat SEO skips the research and goes overboard with repeatedly stuffing irrelevant keywords that makes the Web content lack flow and look shabby.
- White Hat SEO uses authoritative links that support the Web content and establish domain authority; Black Hat SEO thinks it can make its way to the top-ranks by buying links in bulk.
- White Hat SEO uses original and premium quality content that matches user intent and solves their query; Black Hat SEO uses plagiarized and duplicated content that offers no actual value to users.
Why Should You Give Importance to White hat SEO?
SEO has become an integral part of improving one’s website ranking. However, it is also essential for website owners to achieve the results the right way. Choosing white hat SEO techniques for your website is the right decision you would make, which would offer you long-term benefits, especially if you are concerned about the growth and ranking of your website.
Over the years, with enough data and knowledge, Google and other search engines regularly update their algorithms to promote better user experience and ensure fair and better optimization, thus preventing black hat SEO techniques.
While black hat SEO techniques might look beneficial in the short term, users of black hat SEO will eventually receive a penalty from Google as they keep updating their algorithms. This, then, would have a severe impact on the website rankings in the SERPs, and that directly would impact the online traffic and the income website owners make from it.
White Hat SEO Techniques to Double Traffic
If you want to build a sustainable website that provides long-term returns on your investment, go for white hat SEO methods to expand the business. Here are some time-tested techniques that professionals emphasise on when they talk about what is white hat SEO.
Focus on improving user experience
The best way to provide top-notch service to the user is to revitalise the UX or web design. For those owners who do not have the time to design their website, hiring a professional web designer is advised. Also, keep an eye on the site navigation factor. Make sure that the user finds it easy to browse the site.
Invest time in proper keyword research
Using the right keywords, and that too ethically is one of the main tactics of white hat SEO techniques. You can make use of keyword research tools to check which keywords have a higher ranking in your business domain. If you want your website’s keyword research done by experts, choose a reputed SEO service that is followed by top-notch user feedback.
Use keywords related to the content
One of the most important white hat SEO techniques in 2021 is to ensure that all the keywords you use are related to the content. Keyword stuffing is now easily detected by Google. Google’s machine-learning-based algorithm, RankBrain, can set up the context for the crawlers to identify organically used keywords.
Include keyword-rich titles and meta descriptions
Titles and meta descriptions hold a lot of power in terms of enhancing white hat SEO. Following the best practices in creating titles and meta descriptions can significantly improve your rankings on SERPs. Use high search volume keywords organically in meta descriptions and titles to improve your Web pages’ visibility on search engines.
The content should be of premium quality
When discussing white hat SEO techniques, you have to talk about the optimisation of content. On-page SEO, which includes creating high-quality content with effective meta descriptions, can bring significant traffic to your web pages. Another technique to use white hat SEO through content is to write original content in a manner that convinces the user about your message.
Create long and authoritative content
Creating high-quality content targeted at benefitting the reader rather than search engines is the pillar of modern-day SEO. To create authoritative content, the information presented must be as detailed as possible. It would be ideal if it included external links to high domain authority (DA) websites. When users find that the information on your website is rich and valuable, you are rewarded by search engines in the form of high rankings!
Include descriptive URLs
Search engines use your URL structure to get an overview of what your content is about. Hence, URLs should be short and precise. They should convey what search engines need to know about your individual Web pages. For instance, this page is about white hat SEO. So, the URL for the page is constructed in a way that achieves the goal of educating the search engines about the information this Web page contains, which is :
Ensure Internal Linking
Internal links help search engines understand your website better and help readers access relevant information on your website without any hassle. Internal linking also boosts the rankings of the pages linked by sending link authority to those pages. This ultimately helps search engines index your websites more efficiently.
Ensure Image Optimization
Image optimization is one of the white hat SEO methods that many websites often ignore. However, it can prove to be quite important. Search engines cannot “see” images in the way that we do. Hence, using alt tags is crucial. Google Images is the second most searched platform in the world. Using descriptive alt tags enriched with keywords can help Google understand the context of your image, and ultimately help improve your search engine result page (SERP) rankings.
Link building is another effective white hat SEO techniques
Link building occurs when other websites have hyperlinks redirecting to your page and thus increase the inbound traffic of your website. Google strictly advises using link building to avoid dilution of the page quality. Link building services will help you find the high-ranking links for your outreach and improve the page traffic.
Focus on broken link building
This is an underdog white hat SEO technique. Link building holds a lot of potential in general SEO, but broken link building is even more effective. Firstly, find the Web page that you’d like to get a link from. Then, find out if that page has any broken links. Finally, if you have a Web page that can substitute that link, contact the site’s owner, and ask them to replace the broken link with your link.
Invite guest bloggers
Guest posting is a white hat SEO technique that can significantly build your domain authority. There are two ways you can go about guest blogging, both of which Google identifies as very different:
- Publishing guest blogs on authority websites in your niche. This is the most effective way of guest blogging, as it ultimately gives your website exposure and also builds authority for your own website.
- Publishing guest blogs on any website regardless if it is related to your domain. This method might be risky, as Google can flag your blogs as “link schemes” if you spam guest blogs across various websites.
Opt for smart website structure
If you have just launched your website and it only has a few pages, then website architecture doesn’t play a big role. However, as your website grows, it becomes critical to have a solid website architecture. A seamlessly organized website structure can significantly help the link authority flow from one Web page to the other. This improves the rankings of all your Web pages.
Ensure that website is mobile-friendly
Since Google announced its mobile-first indexing in 2020, ensuring the mobile-friendliness of websites has become crucial for websites to rank on the search engine. Use tools like Mobile-Friendly Test to assess if Google considers your website as “easy to use” for mobile users.
Use schema mark-up
Schema is a collection of a multitude of HTML tags, which can be added to any Web page. These tags are responsible for creating an enhanced description of the Web pages which appear on search pages in the form of rich snippets. These snippets make your search results stand out and make it easier for search engines to understand your page’s content.
Satisfying user intent
Satisfying user intent is the top priority of search engines. It is so important that Google has its user satisfaction measuring AI tool, RankBrain, which can measure whether the users are satisfied with the results or not.
If your content offers what the user is looking for, Google ranks your page higher. This is why quality content stays at the top in white hat SEO techniques. Knowing your audience and optimising your content with audience-specific keywords is one important tactic to achieving higher user satisfaction. Along with these using videos, images and skimming content are other ways.
Google Search Console is your friend here. You can find your site’s technical SEO problems and errors using this tool and optimise your site for search engine ranking. The ‘Index Coverage Report’ in Search Console tells you if Google has trouble finding your pages by providing ‘pages with errors’ data.
Advantages of White Hat SEO
White hat SEO methods, in the long run, are much more cost-effective than black hat SEO. For instance, it isn’t required to repair all violations identified by Google. Whereas, in black hat SEO, there is a lot of manual work in resolving black hat SEO that Google often penalises, such as removing spam links from blogs or forums.
Websites that employ white hat SEO are far more secure against Google’s penalties than ones that use black hat SEO.
Rankings achieved through white hat SEO methods are far more likely to remain stable in the long term than those achieved through unfair means.
Does White Hat SEO Need to Be Used Constantly?
Every few months, Google makes minor and sometimes major changes to its algorithm every few months. Whenever this happens, many website developers and website owners make changes to their sites to suit the new changes. However, there needs to be a clear way to know what changes Google makes to its algorithms and how they will affect the website’s performance and rankings. Hence, the best thing to do would be to focus on white hat SEO techniques designed to adhere to Google’s best practices over the years. This ensures that whatever new changes Google brings to its algorithm, it doesn’t impact your website rankings and performance.
Before building a website for promoting brands, it is essential to know and use white hat SEO methods. That is the only way to stay afloat in a saturated market when every company is striving to provide the best service to their customers. Companies should also employ technical SEO methods like checking broken links and increasing loading speed to get excellent reviews.
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