When you start an online business, there’s one thing that people will talk nonstop about: SEO, or search engine optimization. There are a variety of different tactics you can use to improve your SEO, which in turn makes your site show up higher in the search engine results page. The higher you are on that list, the better—you’ll get considerably more exposure being on page two than you would appearing on page eleven.
Organic traffic that happens naturally from search engines is pretty great, too. With the right search engine optimization tips and tricks, you’ll end up paying $0 in advertising and have the opportunity to get tons of traffic. This is why people go crazy for making their site and priming their blog posts for SEO, hoping to get ranked higher and higher and to get more traffic. But sometimes they’re doing more harm than good.
There are two types of SEO out there: White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO. White Hat SEO is not only the most effective type of SEO out there, but it also helps to support a business that’s aiming for long-term success. Black Hat SEO utilizes pretty shady tactics and can actually hurt the business in the long run.
White Hat SEO
If you’re looking to make Google like you with White Hat SEO, then you’re in it for the long haul. Results from employing this type of SEO action plan can take a while to really produce any serious results, but it can be worth it by giving bloggers and online marketers lasting results. The goal with White Hat SEO is simply to create great content, run a legitimate site, and to beef it up with the strongest keywords, links, and other elements to improve it even more. If you play nice with Google, it will be nice to you.
White Hat SEO involves generating great content (like blog posts or articles) which signals to search engines that you are active in the community. You sprinkle keywords in your updated posts as well as on your About and Contact page, you participate in other blogs by writing posts for them, and you make your site easy to navigate. All of this means that search engines will see the value you are contributing and continue to rank you higher and higher.
While these are definitely the best ways to make a lasting impact in search engines, White Hat SEO might not yield you the most exciting or extreme results right away. Which is why many people resort to the tactics of Black Hat SEO instead.
Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO uses tips and tricks to try and get placed higher in search engines, but unfortunately it has incredibly negative effects on sites. Here are some common Black Hat SEO tactics and how they negatively impact your business:
- Hidden text. This is putting extra text into your post that is not visible to readers but is to search engines. People who are newbies to SEO hear the word “keywords” and simply look for as many ways as possible to cram their keywords into their site, without any regard to the fact that most search engines will recognize this as spam.
- Keyword stuffing. In the same vein, people seem to think that by throwing in their keywords into blog posts that they’ll rank higher in search engines. Maybe in the early days of the internet this was true, but no longer. Search engines are smart, and they can tell if a blog post is simply a jumble of words or if it’s actually got valuable information in it. Additionally, any visitors to the site will immediately sense the weird, forced way words are squeezed into the content, making it seem like it was written by a robot. It feels weird to read, so many people will close the tab and never return to the site again.
- Link farms. As entrepreneurs look for ways to make their site seem more legitimate to search engines, they decide to group together some websites that all link to each other internally. It can be done by hand or through a service, but it’s a wasted effort—Google will recognize this as spam and you won’t receive good rankings from doing this.
- Blog spam. Although this is incredibly annoying, there are people that think this is an effective way to get traffic and boost an SEO ranking. This involves posting random comments on wikis, other blogs, and forums. You know those comments that say something along the lines of, “I made $100,000.00 in three days doing this one simple thing”? Not only is this completely ineffective, but it’s downright annoying. Definitely don’t resort to this.
- Scraping. Scraping is a nicer way of saying “plagiarism,” but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s 100% unethical. Create your own content, plain and simple. If you steal from others, you could actually face serious consequences and legal action. Not only that, but it completely destroys your reputation in your chosen industry, so no one will care about visiting your site or business anyway.
- Parasite hosting. This involves hosting a website on a server that you don’t have permission to use, simply to get better rankings. You don’t have to be a total genius to figure out how to set up a website these days—in fact, most anyone can do it, and it’s not that expensive, either. But if you host on someone else’s server, you technically don’t own it. Instead of risking losing everything, make the small investment and set up a site in earnest (or hire someone to do it for you for a small fee).
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to avoid Black Hat SEO. Not only is it a shady practice altogether, but it doesn’t really benefit you in any way. If you’re starting your own affiliate site, you can’t expect immediate success. You need to plan for long-term success, and the best SEO tactics to employ are all White Hat SEO.