Search engine optimization.
The words themselves aren’t that intimidating, but altogether they can loom over anyone who is interested in starting an online business. If you’re relatively computer-savvy, you likely know how easy it is to employ great search engine optimization (or SEO for short) tactics and how they can positively affect your site. If you’re new to the industry, though, you might just try to ignore SEO completely, thinking it’s not that important.
Well, it is important—failing to do so might not hurt you, necessarily, but priming your online content so it’s optimized can greatly increase the number of people who see your site, click on your links, and in turn, make purchases. So if you’re wanting to experience some genuine success as an affiliate marketer, then you should start trying to understand it better.
As you delve into the world of search engine optimization, you might find two differing schools of thought. If you employ the tactics of one of them, you’ll experience increased page views, increased email subscribers, and increased income. If you employ the tactics of the other method, you’ll hit a wall and wonder why you ever even bothered with SEO. The two different approaches are White Hat & Black Hat SEO—and it’s important to note the difference and stick with the more effective choice!
White Hat SEO
White Hat SEO basically plays by the rules of Google, the most popular search engine, in order to boost your ranking. When search engines populate results for visitors, the higher up on the page your content is, the better. So White Hat SEO aims to get you to the top by following guidelines that will, quite simply, make Google like you.
White Hat SEO can be exhausting, and it may take time to get your page to pop up near the top of the results. However, the wait will be worth it. White Hat SEO can give bloggers and other online marketers lasting results.
Some examples of White Hat SEO tactics include:
- Guest blogging. Instead of just writing on your own site, you can write for other sites as well. This not only legitimizes you in your industry, but allows for the opportunity for backlinks. The links on your guest posts will lead people back to your site, allowing them a convenient way to find you and a flag to Google that you are a valid source of information.
- Link baiting. While this doesn’t sound like a good thing, it essentially means creating solid, useful content that others will want to link to. Things like breaking news, incredibly useful resources, or somewhat sensational or trending content can be content that others will want to link to and share.
- Great content. Part of White Hat SEO involves generating useful content. Google will like you more if you continually provide people with helpful information. It will see that people continue to visit your site and will then place you higher in the ranks.
- Internal linking. If it’s difficult for a search engine to navigate your site, it will definitely rank lower here. Some sites use fancy scripts that search engines can’t get through, resulting in unindexed pages.
- Site optimization. Using your keywords throughout your site will help let Google know more about you. These keywords should go in your content but also in your contact page, about page, and more.
Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO is quite different from White Hat SEO. The techniques and tactics listed below focus on the search engine, and not the audience reading the content.
- Hidden text. As the name implies, it is possible to put text into your post that readers cannot actually see but search engines can. People will try to stuff in keywords to get higher rankings this way, although most major search engines recognize this as spam.
- Link farms. A link farm is basically a group of websites that all link to each other. Most sites get involved in this because of a service that will group sites together, although it can be done by hand. This, too, is recognized as spam.
- Keyword stuffing. This offense is one that many newbie bloggers make, thinking that putting the keywords anywhere in their posts will get them higher rankings. What it ends up doing is make content seem like it was written for a robot.
- Blog spam. This is a form of spam that involves a site posting on wikis, other blogs, and forums and simply posting random comments or commercial services. You’ve likely seen these before in the comments section of an article you read online: a comment that has nothing to do with the content of the post and simply promotes a product or service.
- Scraping. Scraping is plagiarism, plain and simple. It involves taking other people’s content and passing it off as your own.
- Parasite hosting. Some people try to host websites on a server that isn’t theirs, and without the other person’s knowledge. This is done to simply get better rankings.
Well, if you couldn’t already guess, White Hat SEO is definitely the best choice for overall, long-lasting results. Black Hat SEO is more of a flash-in-the-pan approach that rarely works for affiliate marketers, if at all. White Hat SEO is a method that can actually really work for you in the long run, getting you better rankings in Google.
Affiliate marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re looking to get rich quick, Black Hat SEO won’t help you, and affiliate marketing is definitely not for you. If, however, you’re wanting to launch a career that could be something you enjoy doing the rest of your life, employ White Hat SEO methods and you’ll see progress.