Saturday, 22 March 2014

8

Black Hat vs White Hat SEO: What You Need to Know

You’ve probably noticed that the internet can be a bit like the Wild West.

Newbies ride into town regularly – often with high hopes of getting rich quick. Perhaps you’re one of them (or perhaps you can at least remember those days).
“Snake oil” salesmen make outrageous promises about how their product can solve all your problems (usually with a heavy dose of yellow highlighter, and a few fake countdown timers).
And just like in the West, there are goodies and baddies – “white hats” who obey the law and “black hats” who break it. In fact, you may well have heard of “white hat SEO” and “black hat SEO” already.
Online, Sheriff Google lays down the law – and you definitely don’t want to get caught doing something you shouldn’t.
So let’s take a look at what you need to know.
What’s SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimisation”. It’s the practice of getting your website or blog to rank highly in search engines – particularly Google, which dominates the market.
Sometimes, you’ll also hear “an SEO” used to mean “a professional search engine optimiser”.
Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO is SEO that goes against Google’s rules. It results in a website that Google won’t want to promote because no-one will want to read it.
Black Hat practices include:
Paying another site to link to yours.
Creating keyword-rich links using dodgy techniques, such as trackback spam.
Participating in link exchanges with sites that have nothing to do with yours.
“Scraping” other people’s content to use on your site.
Using hidden text that readers can’t see but search engines can (e.g. putting lots of keywords in white text on a white background).
Getting your site linked to from link farms.
(You can find a fuller list of Black Hat practices here.)
Basically, if a technique sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You can’t automate the process of building links to get hundreds overnight.
White Hat SEO
White hat SEO plays by the rules. It results in a website that Google naturally wants to promote, because it’s full of great content and easy for readers to engage with.
White Hat practices include:
Creating high-quality content for your blog.
Using WordPress or another solid CMS (content management system) for your site, so it’s well structured.
Writing great guest posts for other blogs, putting the relationship (not the backlink) first.
Using Google Webmaster Tools to fix any problems with your site.
Crafting clear, direct titles for your posts that use the same keywords readers would use.
It might seem like a no-brainer to you that White Hat SEO is the way to go … and we agree.
Black Hat SEO may lead to some quick results … but these will be swiftly followed by a huge drop in traffic when Google catches you. (And bear in mind that Google’s algorithms are getting cleverer all the time.)
As Daniel explains in Business is a Marathon, Not a Sprint, you should focus on the long-term, not on short-term results.
By using White Hat practices, you’ll be sure of building a site that stands the test of time. You won’t have to worry about Google updates knocking you down the rankings, and you’ll also find it easy to engage in other kinds of marketing – like using social media – because you’ll have something truly valuable to offer your readers.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this too: are you actively using SEO techniques to get more traffic to your site? And have you ever used Black Hat methods (perhaps unwittingly) – or are you firmly on the White Hat side?

8 comments :

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    Replies
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