Even the most reprehensible fictional character usually has some redeeming feature to offset the evil – we’re talking Darth Vader saving Luke Skywalker, or Ebenezer Scrooge and his festive epiphany. But not so in the world of SEO. Here there are only two sides – good and bad. These competing forces are known as White Hat SEO, and Black Hat SEO. And choosing the right path for your Content SEO strategy is vital.
White Hat SEO covers techniques which are ethical and work within the rules or terms of service of search engines.
Black Hat SEO techniques violate these terms of service, seeking to cut corners and trick search engines into giving a website a SERP ranking that it might not deserve.
So now you know the territory, how can you spot warning signs that your Content SEO is straying into the realm of the Black Hat? And how can you ensure that you’re using best practice White Hat SEO techniques?
Black Hat SEO – Red Flags
Some unscrupulous SEO consultants might promise you great SERP positioning using Black Hat techniques, but this will backfire horribly if Google spots what you’re up to. Even if it doesn’t, you end up with a site that offers a bad user experience, resulting in bounces and poor conversion rates.
Here are some of the Black Hat Content SEO techniques you should avoid.
Poor Quality Content
Badly written copy, or duplicate content “borrowed’ from another site are unforgivable sins – not only will they repel visitors, but Google can detect both duplication and substandard writing. The ultimate literary critic.
Keyword and Content Stuffing
Shoving keywords and jargon haphazardly into content, page titles, backlinks or metatags, using code to hide content stuffed with keywords so it’s only visible to search engine crawlers… these may temporarily boost your visibility, but algorithms have got wise to these dodgy dealings. Crawler will actually turn away from your page, and other consequences include automatic down-ranking, hefty fines and blocks.
Link farms gather unrelated links to drive more traffic to websites. However, using one of these pages is a quick way to get your site flagged. Google is fully aware of these hacks and does not look kindly on them.
So that’s how the bad guys do it. You end up spending an absolute fortune on the kind of Content SEO that alienates your customers, ranks you badly and leaves you liable to fines and bans.
Wearing the White Hat will get you a lot further.
White Hat Content SEO – How the Goodies Get It Done
Here are some elements that make up a winning and law-abiding White Hat Content SEO strategy.
The best tool to achieve the results you want from today’s sophisticated search engine algorithms is excellent content. Google now searches for readability. It can tell the difference between a fluently written blog, for example, and one that’s been cobbled together to include as many keywords as possible.
Clever Keyword Research
Thoroughly conducted keyword research, taking into account visitors’ various intents, will optimise your ranking, as long as you also have the useful content that search engines are looking for.
An intuitive, easily navigable website structure is essential. Internally linked content keeps your visitor there, improving conversion rates. Also, organic links to the site, rather than paid-for and spammy backlinks, have a massive impact on SERP results. Building them up takes time and effort, but they are much more valuable than the alternative.
Talk to Tippy Tap
To discuss any aspect of Content SEO, dodge the baddies and chat with us. We are ethical content providers who never cut corners.