White Hat SEO and Why It Pays to Be Good
The most successful brands opt for white hat techniques in their search efforts because the strategy focuses on making your site more visible through quality content and organic link building. Below are some ways you can earn a proverbial white hat:
- Quality content:
Creating valuable content for your target audience is typically both share-worthy and link-worthy – two key ingredients in driving traffic. Your content should also be original, highly relevant to your niche, and contains no spelling or grammar errors.
- Effective keyword research and use:
Although keyword stuffing is frowned upon, keywords still hold value when used correctly. Your site should be focused on a set of relevant keywords, and you can identify the most effective words by researching keywords or phrases you think people might use to find your site. Keep in mind that single words are not always the most effective target. Long-tail keywords can be much more specific to your product or service and thus be more effective in ranking higher.
- Relevant Backlinks:
Google likes to see links leading back to your site because it’s a vote of confidence. If other sites are linking to you, it means you have quality content and therefore will reap the reward with higher search rankings. Keep in mind, though, that there are good links and bad links, so you want to make sure any off-site links are relevant and offer similar high-quality content.
- Internal Links:
Linking to content within your own site is a great indicator that your site has value so long as you don’t overstuff them. A good rule of thumb is two or three links to deep-seeded pages within your site.
- Meta Description:
Your site’s meta description is the first couple of sentences that appear in the search results under your page title, and the best ones are actually written for people – not search engines. In other words, they shouldn’t be overstuffed with keywords.
Final Thoughts: Ranking Higher Takes Work and Google Rewards Long-Term Strategies
While white and black hat SEO strategies share a common goal to improve a site’s visibility, they use very different strategies. An advantage in taking a black hat approach is quick, short-term success through increased traffic, but Google penalties are becoming more and more sophisticated and can have devastating effects on your site. Considering “Google it” is a phrase most of us hear every day, can you really afford to be de-indexed?
This is why many marketers are opting for the white hat when entering the wild world of SEO. Although it will take longer to see results, the strategy focuses on improving your search performance through quality content while playing nice with Google – an ally no one can afford to lose.