When it comes to engaging in SEO, there are two main techniques businesses employ: white hat and black hat. Although most would argue that black hat SEO’s days are numbered, some companies continue to rely on such strategies even today. The reason why it’s referred to as “black” is due to its manipulative nature and not abiding by search engine guidelines in order to increase keyword rankings.
However, considering how search engines continually upgrade their algorithms to push down websites that resort to black hat SEO practices, engaging in white hat SEO simply makes more sense.
The aim of white hat SEO strategies is to acquire traffic organically and attain keyword rankings all while abiding by the rules set forth by popular search engines. By engaging in white hat SEO or hiring a company that uses such techniques, you’re ensuring that your marketing efforts are sticking to best practices and have the highest chance of success.
In this blog, we take an in-depth look at what white hat SEO really is.
What is White Hat SEO?
As mentioned above, white hat SEO refers to the use of “ethical” strategies and tactics that are in line with the terms and conditions of popular search engines such as Bing and Google. Though numerous black hat and white hat practices overlap such as backlinking, it’s how a company goes about carrying out those practices that classify it as either black or white.
For example, there are two main ways when it comes to backlinking for websites. The first – and the right way – includes requesting backlinks, forwarding guest blogs to websites, and coming up with quality content. The black hat way of doing things includes creating websites with the sole intent of acquiring backlinks – a practice that is looked down upon in SEO.
Why Stick to White Hat SEO?
Black hat SEO may provide short-term benefits but even these fade out after a while. As search engines become smarter with each passing day, they improve in their ability to pick up manipulative practices and heavily penalize websites. On the other hand, white hat SEO tends to produce results in the long term but does so without the risk of incurring a penalty. It is, therefore, clear that the only way businesses should attempt to generate greater traffic and conversions is strictly through white hat SEO.
Common White Hat Techniques
Now that we understand the importance of white hat SEO techniques, let’s take a look at a few common – yet effective – white hat SEO strategies.
Focusing on User Experience (UX)
The one thing Google continuously encourages webmasters to focus on is delivering a great user experience. The algorithm searches for websites that provide the most benefit to users and position them high in search rankings. According to a study carried out by the Oxford Journal, the process of providing a good user experience starts off by determining the users’ intent and then developing an interface that allows for smooth navigation. Since the website is much like a product itself, a frictionless experience is bound to evoke positive emotions in consumers.
The internet is filled with attractive templates and guides, but what separates averages websites from the very best comes down to A/B testing. Each webmaster has his or her biases that inevitably end up influencing how a website takes form. According to Google, running experiments is a great way to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a webpage and continually improve upon its current state.
Develop an Effective Content Marketing Plan
Content is considered by Google to be among its two top-ranking factors – further emphasizing the need to create and market quality content. According to a study published by the Content Marketing Institute, only 37% of interviewees believed they were effective in their content marketing efforts. However, what does quality content or great content even mean? Content is only great if it’s useful and reachable to the right audience.
Iinnovative content is something that readers enjoy, it’s resourceful, and what makes them feel inspired. To do this, businesses must understand how users post search queries. Content that saw approval by the masses was one that popped up in response to “who, when, where, why, what, and how”.
Another important consideration to keep in mind is voice search. According to the Mobile Voice Study carried out by Google, 41% of adults and 55% of teens are now using voice search at least once a day. Voice now represents the fastest growing search method with devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo already competing to gain the majority of the market’s share.
Internal and External Linking
Connect pages on your website by using keywords as your anchor text; doing so enables you to create internal backlinks to your website’s pages. By connecting different topics on your website, you end up making things easier for both search engines and users alike. Connecting pages using keywords allows you to communicate to Google how each page is linked which ends up increasing the page’s authority.
Essentially, the goal behind pushing internal links is to boost the rankings for the desired page. So if you’re not interested in ranking the “Contact Us” page, then it’s a waste of time pushing internal links there. Instead, you’d want to do so for important areas such as the information or main homepage.
To conclude, white hat SEO presents massive growth opportunities for businesses by positioning them high in search engine rankings and generating high amounts of traffic. It’s not necessary to manage the endless list of ranking signals to generate organic traffic, simply focus on the major factors mentioned above. Devebyte is arguably the best SEO company in Edmonton that engages in white hat SEO strategies and helps websites climb higher across popular search engine rankings. Contact us today for more information.