Anyone trying to make a career online, whether it be through blogging, or creating your own business, knows that the way you advertise your content is incredibly important to getting people to your website, and as a result generating revenue. If you haven’t heard of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, don’t worry; it’s simple, and if you’re smart about the way you market yourself, you’re likely applying the strategy without even knowing it.
What Is It?
Essentially, search engine optimization is using keywords throughout your blog or site to get your page noticed by search engines, and hopefully make your way to the front of the search page. For instance, if your page is all about teaching people how to become an affiliate marketer, you’ll use keywords such as: affiliate marketing, beginner, affiliate marketing strategies, etc. The purpose here is to think as your potential customers or readers think. If you were searching for how to successfully build a website, how would you start your research? What would you put into the search bar to get the most relevant results?
There are two types of SEO: White hat, and black hat. Both have the same goal in mind, but extremely different strategies on how they go about it and though each has potential for success, white hat SEO is what you want to employ in order to build lasting success and trust among your readers. In this article, I’ll outline the basics of both, and explain why you should pick one over the other. We’ll start with the SEO baddie:
Black Hat SEO
Black hat SEO is all about exploiting the weaknesses within the web search algorithms used by search engines. It’s overly optimizing your page for visibility, and breaks many of the guidelines set in place by the search engines themselves. The focus tends to be more on getting the attention of the search engines rather than a real, human audience. Have you ever searched for something only to be met with loads of ads and spam websites on the front page? This would be the responsibility of black hat SEO. Rather than gaining a lasting customer base or audience, their focus is getting people to click on their site or advertisements to generate their revenue. It’s deceitful, breaks the rules, and is just downright annoying.
Black Hat SEO Techniques To Avoid
Irrelevant Keyword Use
Also known as keyword shuffling, this technique is used to fill a page with as many different keywords as possible to trick the search engine into thinking the site is relevant to the actual search. The keywords are typically randomly generated, and it does not matter whether they hold relevance to the post or page. This also includes a method called ‘cloaking’, wherein a page will use keywords completely irrelevant to the actual page to divert search engine scanners, and will typically show different content to the search engine than what they show to their users.
This refers to a group of websites that enable the use of hyperlinks to link to each other’s page for the sole purpose of increasing their rankings. While the links don’t ultimately provide traffic to your site, they show the search engines that your site links to other sites, and depending on the quality of the links, this can increase the rankings of your site, and get your page closer to the top of the search page.
This is basically the practice of showing the search engines one thing, and then directing people who click the link to a different page entirely. It’s designed to show the search engine scanners a legitimate website to avoid being banned, while still getting people to the page they ultimately want them to see, which is usually not relevant to what they were searching for in the first place.
These are certainly not the only black hat SEO strategies, but hopefully you get the idea. While using these strategies can gain your page a better ranking faster, black hat SEO is notorious for being a bogus and deceitful strategy and your page will always get banned in the long run if you employ them.
White Hat SEO
White hat SEO is all about utilizing SEO techniques that will gain not only a better ranking, but loyal customers or readers, all while following the guidelines set in place by the search engines. It’s optimizing your page for visibility using relevant keywords and phrases designed to bring attention to your page in an honest, up-front, and helpful way. Anyone who searches for something on Google or Bing or any of the other search engines available is looking for one thing and one thing only: a page that will help them in their search, or even better, give them what they are searching for. This is exactly what white hat SEO achieves.
White Hat SEO Techniques To Employ
Relevant Keyword Use
Keywords are important to increasing the visibility of your page, because when someone searches for something, the search engine will scan for those keywords and display pages in order or relevance. I provided an example of how to use keywords for becoming an affiliate marketer earlier on, but this strategy can be applied for any need and any niche, from starting your own online business to art, and all the little subcategories in between. The first step in finding the right keywords to use is knowing how your audience or customers think. If you’re still struggling with this, though, you can always use a keyword tool like this one from Google to help you see what keywords are most popular for your niche. You’ll need to sign up for a Google AdWords account to use it, but it’s free and can help you properly optimize your keywords to gain visibility and a lasting consumer base.
This is directly linked to you and the content you put out. In addition to scanning for relevant keywords, search engines also scan for relevance of the site itself to better recommend helpful websites to potential readers and customers. It sees which sites are generating honest revenue and pushes them to the front. You can do this by providing, helpful, honest, valuable content and products to visitors, effectively keeping them coming back continuously. This can be slow-going, but in the long-run will build a wonderful and trustworthy reputation, and lasting revenue for you and your site.
Think of the last time you searched for something and clicked on a link for a page. The first thing you noticed is the title of the page or article, right? Though black hat SEO strategies have made search engines hold titles in lower regard than they used to, a good title is still important because ultimately that is what is going to make potential readers and customers click your page. The title should represent what the page is going to be about, and while getting a keyword in there is important, it’s not more important than having a title that would make someone want to read what you have to say. Keep it relevant, catchy, and honest, and you’ll be just fine.
Getting higher rankings and revenue more quickly may seem important when you’re starting out; as a new blogger myself I know that it can seem like you’ll never get your page the visibility it needs to succeed. However, exercising patience and building that visibility and reputation in a way that speaks with honesty and integrity is the best way to build your page with the best reputation possible, and keep you there for the long-run. In the end, isn’t that what we all strive for?