If you’re trying to make your career through online marketing, whether it be through blogging or creating your own business from scratch, you likely know that the way to advertise your content is important. It helps you get people to your website, it helps you to market your products and services, and it helps you to generate revenue. If you haven’t heard of SEO – Search Engine Optimization – don’t worry; we’re here to help.
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What Is SEO?
Put simply, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a method of marketing using keywords. These keywords may be used throughout your blog posts or site to get your page noticed by search engines to hopefully make your way to the front page, because that’s what people notice the most. For instance, if your page offers courses on affiliate marketing, your SEO keywords would be things like: Affiliate marketing, beginners, beginner affiliate marketing, affiliate marketing strategies, etc. The idea behind these is simple: You use the words you think potential customers or readers would use to get to your site. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. If you were looking for tips on building an online business, what would you type into the search bar to get the results you need?
Types Of SEO
There are two types of search engine optimization: White Hat and Black Hat. Both have the same end goal, but each is extremely different on strategies to get there, and although each has potential for success, White Hat SEO is the best strategy for building lasting success among your readers and for your website. I’ll be outlining the basics of both, as well as explaining why White Hat is the more successful of the two. We’ll start with Black Hat.
Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO is all about exploiting the weaknesses of the world wide web. See, search engines use algorithms for their searches to bring up relevant results, and Black Hat SEO strategies are made to take advantage of the flaws in those algorithms. Basically, it’s over-optimizing your page for visibility purposes, and actually breaks a lot of the guidelines put into place by the search engines themselves. The focus for Black Hat SEO tends to lean more toward getting the attention of the search engines themselves rather than real people, and causes a lot of problems with spam, in the long run. Think about it: Have you ever searched for something and been met with a lot of ads and spam websites on the front page, rather than what you were actually looking for? While they gain attention from the search engine by doing this, they don’t typically gain a lasting audience, and to be honest, it’s just annoying.
Techniques To Avoid
- Keyword Shuffling
This technique is all about filling a page with as many keywords as possible to trick the search engine into thinking the site is relevant to whatever you’re searching…and the keywords don’t have to be relevant to the site itself. The keywords used are typically randomly generated, and it doesn’t matter whether they hold actual relevance to the post or page they’re on. In addition to this, keyword shuffling also uses a technique called ‘cloaking’, wherein a page will use irrelevant keywords to divert search engine scanners to show different content to the search engine than what users see.
- Link Farming
This technique refers to a group of websites that enable the use of hyperlinks to each other’s page for the sole purpose of increasing their rankings. While the links ultimately don’t provide traffic to your site, they show just enough evidence to the search engines that your site links to other sites, and depending on the quality of the links, this increases your ratings and gets your page that much closer to the top of the search engine front page.
- Gateway Pages
Gateway pages are used to show the search engine one thing, then direct people who click the link something else entirely. It’s designed to show the search engine scanners a legitimate website to avoid being banned, while still getting poor, unsuspecting people to click on the page they want them to see…which usually holds no relevance to what they were actually searching for.
White Hat SEO
On the flip side of Black Hat SEO, White Hat SEO uses techniques that will not only gain a better ranking for your page, but also loyal customers or readers, all while following the guidelines set by search engines. The techniques used optimize your page for visibility using relevant keywords and phrases designed to bring attention to the page in the most honest and up front way possible, which ultimately helps your readers find what they’re looking for.
Techniques For Success
Relevant keywords are important to increasing visibility to your page. When people search for something, the search engine scans for the words used, and orders them by relevance. This strategy can be applied for any niche, not just the one mentioned earlier. The first step in finding the right keywords for your business is knowing how your target audience or customers think, and there are many different websites that allow you to search for popular keywords by niche, so you can figure out what keywords will help you.
- Value In Content
It’s simple – if the content you put out into the world is helpful to the people who need it, they will continue to come to your website, as well as refer others to it as well. Search engines don’t just scan for relevant keyword use; they scan for relevance from the site itself to better recommend helpful websites to potential readers. Used properly, it sees which sites are generating honest revenue and pushes them to the front page for better visibility. Providing valuable content is easy – all you have to do is post helpful, honest, and thorough content and products to visitors, effectively keeping them coming back for more. This builds a lasting customers base and a trustworthy reputation for your and your site, and will keep the revenue lasting in the long-run.
- Engaging Titles
Think for a moment about the last time you search for something, only to click on a link for a page. Likely the first thing you noticed is the title of the page, correct? Good titles are a great first step in engaging your readers and potential customers because that is what is going to make them stay on your page, or click on your page in the first place. The title should be attention-grabbing, relevant to what the subject or page is about, and if possible, include a keyword as well, though this last is not quite as important. Keep it honest, relevant, and catchy, and you’ll be on your way to success!