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What is White Hat SEO and how can it help you reach your marketing goals?

By Steph Welch on Feb 26th, 2019

When your SEO account manager is explaining why SEO takes time and they use terms like “White Hat SEO” do you switch off? You just want to see results, no matter what it takes. That’s what you’re paying for right?

You're right, but what it takes is ethical genuine methods which take time to deliver results. Black Hat SEO is no fast track to success. Using methods in line with the terms and conditions of major search engines such as Google is described as White Hat SEO and this is the way we work at Vooba. If you want to avoid Google penalties and stay at the top of search engine results then read on.

‘What is White Hat SEO?’ you may ask. Coming up we will explain what White and Black Hat SEO are and give you a bit more info on the White Hat methods we use to improve your SEO.

What is Black Hat SEO? How it can cause your website to fall off the grid

Keyword Stuffing, cloaking and private link networks, are all Black Hat seo methods marketers use to get your website ranking quickly. Appearing on page one of Google is something we are all striving to achieve, but there is a right and wrong way to go about it. Black hat SEO is an unethical approach which often delivers quick results, but can have detrimental effects on your long term status with Google.

Black Hat methods are designed to trick and play games with the search engine algorithms rather than focusing on earning their position and providing value to the website users. While Black Hat SEO is not illegal, it does violate webmaster guidelines set out by search engines. Engaging in Black Hat SEO can result in penalties enforced by search engines. This can result in your website dropping to a much lower position or being removed from them completely.

Bottom Line

Black Hat SEO’s short term gains are not worth the risk. With search engines getting better at spotting Black Hat practices you are highly likely to get caught and lose rankings and ultimately lose out on potential sales. In the very worst of cases Search Engines may Blacklist the entire website domain effectively meaning a new domain name and website.

What is White Hat SEO? How it can help you rank long term.

White Hat SEO techniques are Google approved strategies for success. They focus on optimising for a human audience rather than playing a game with search engines. If you see your website as a long term investment then White Hat SEO is what you need to stay present and work your way up the search results.

White Hat SEO Methods - Tried and Tested by Vooba (A White Hat SEO Company)

As a White Hat SEO company we have listed some of the best methods to get your website ranking organically:

Quality Content

Content is King. It always has been and I suspect it always will be. People love to consume content, whether it’s hours of video on YouTube, scrolling through Social Media or reading your latest blog. If they are getting value from it they are going to stick around or keep coming back. As algorithms become more advanced when tracking what people do online and how content is categorised and presented, quality is gaining precedence over quantity.

The time a user spends on your website is a consideration for Google when deciding where to rank you. The longer they spend consuming your content then Google thinks its of value and will rank it higher.

But what is going to keep them reading?

Too much text and a reader will get bored, not enough text and the reader will not get any value. You have to strike a balance. Think about the types of blogs or articles you like to read online. Where you are reading them most often, is it on your phone or on desktop? How long do you spend reading them? Use that as a guide as to how much to include in your blog or news section.

Not long ago list style posts were all the rage: 10 reasons to, 7 tips for, etc. These are still great posts and I certainly find them more manageable to read. They are a great way to get readers hooked on your content. It is then recommended that you intersperse this type of content with more in depth guide type posts. A well explained step by step guide on how to do something, if written well, is going to keep a reader engaged and offer them so much value. Try breaking up longer posts with images, this will give the reader a break and it’s an opportunity to get those important keywords in the “alt” text.

Bottom Line

Keep readers on your pages for longer by providing good quality, well written, content of value to them and your ranking will improve.

Descriptive Metadata

Metadata is a set of data that describes and gives information about your webpage. It tells Google what’s on your page, but the majority of it is not on show to the user. Meta titles and meta descriptions do however get seen by the user before they click through to your page. The link text and description that appear in search engine results are generated from wording you put in a tag on your website. You can use this space to grab the reader and make them click the link to your website over any others available.

The focus keyword for your page should be included in your meta title. This is what you want the page to rank for, a short phrase, that people will be searching for to find content such as yours. You have limited character space so use it wisely to best highlight what the user will see when they click on your link.

The meta description for each page is less about including keywords and more about explaining exactly what the page is about. If a user clicks your link and straight away realises the content is not what they were after they will leave. This leads to what is called a high bounce rate. Google will see that people are leaving your site quickly, assume it is not of value and list you lower in results.

Bottom Line

Be truthful and descriptive with your meta titles and descriptions to explain the page and draw the users in.

Mobile First

With nearly 50% of all internet usage occuring on mobile devices it is more important than ever to make sure your website is fit for purpose. Google and other search engines recognise the importance of designing for mobiles and have therefore made it a key ranking factor. When designing your website make sure that it is responsive so that it works well on all mobile devices. Also consider site loading speeds, with mobile browsing there is even more expectation for instant results. If a site takes ages to load it is so easy to swipe it away and move onto the next one.

Local SEO

Using mobile devices to browse obviously means that people are searching whilst on the go, therefore appealing reaching a local audience is of high importance. Make sure to claim your Google my business page, to optimise it to its full potential.

Keywords Research - Long Tail Keywords

Understanding keywords is an essential part of SEO, you need to know how to find keywords that your customers search for every day. Long tail keywords are longer phrases that people might be searching for that are more specific. Keywords can get very competitive. If you were a furniture company for example, you might say you would like your keyword for a particular page to be “chairs”. However this would be an extremely competitive keyword. Hundreds or thousands of websites will be competing to be listed for “chair”, instead you should consider something more specific such as “Modern flat pack kitchen chairs”.

Each page of the website should have its own focus keyword. The main keyword you would like the page to rank for that best describes the products, services or information on that page. But how do I rank for those keywords?

To optimise a page of your website for your chosen keyword you place it throughout the content. Keyword stuffing is a term used to describe a Black Hat method of SEO where you place your chosen keyword in the page as many times as possible. This is not the way to do it. The keyword must fit naturally in the text. Try to include it in your main heading, the first paragraph, and in the meta title. Use close variations throughout the page in subheadings, alternative text on images and in the bulk of the content.

Remember

Keywords must fit naturally in the text. No keyword stuffing!

Competitor Research

One way to know what you’re doing well or where you can improve with anything is looking at what others are doing. This is the case with SEO as well. The aim of SEO is to get your website ranking above your competitors so analysing what they do will help you to know what you need to do to outperform them.

Checkout how they have constructed their metadata, look at what keywords they are ranking for and how they have done it. Can you tell if they are doing White Hat SEO now you know some of the basics? There are tools you can use to look at their backlink profile and to see how powerful their domain is. All of these things will help you get a good idea of how they are working to rank organically.

White Hat link building methods

Link building is quite a difficult process. As a business owner you are in the best position to promote your business, network and get backlinks. As an agency with SEO experts we have a few alternative methods of gaining backlinks for your website with White hat methods. Some of these techniques include broken link building and guest blogging. If you find an article writing about your niche that you find interesting, check to see if they have any broken links on the web page. If they do you could send them an email saying something like this:

Good Afternoon Author,

I just wanted to get in touch to say great your recent article on blah blah was great. I really found a lot of useful information in the article that will help me with my own business so and so. I have recently written an article on the same subject that I think would provide extra value to your readers. I notice you have a broken link in the bottom section of the article that you might want to check out. I would be grateful if you would consider adding in a link to my article if you think it might be relevant to your audience.

Thanks for your awesome content keep it up.

Many Thanks

Name

Guest posting involves reaching out to authority sites in your niche and offering your services to write quality content for them. In return they should link to your website in the article you write for them.

To Summarise

Black Hat SEO methods might deliver some pretty quick results, but Google with soon wise up to your dark ways and you could see your website dropping down the page listings or worse. White Hat SEO is a long term investment. Following the techniques described above you are going to create a better website that provides great content of value to the right audience. Google will recognise this and reward you with higher rankings.

If you are ready to invest in a long term White Hat SEO strategy for your website contact us. We are a White Hat company using ethical SEO to increase your businesses reach online. Get in touch on [email protected] or call 01798 667167.