In the past, having a beautifully designed website would have worked magic, but you need to do much more today. For you to surpass the stiff competition that exists online, you must be fully equipped. Optimizing your website for the search engines is one way that you can stay ahead of your competition. The secret to successful and meaningful internet marketing is SEO or search engine optimization.
Whether you are just using the internet to build a strong brand or are running a profit based online store, a high ranking on the search engine results pages is of great importance. You need to employ the right SEO campaigns that will help you rank highly on the SERPs, attract your target audience, and increase conversion rates. A Search Engine Journal report indicates that more than 75% of online users will never scroll past the first page of the SERPs. You need to employ different SEO techniques to make sure that your website is ranking best on SERPs for your target keywords.
White Hat versus Black Hat SEO
During the inception years of search engine optimization (SEO), website owners were free to use all SEO techniques to improve their rankings on the search engines. This is the period where countless techniques were invented and a division of these strategies emerged.
Black hat techniques are Search Engine Optimization strategies that involve manipulation of the search engines. The main objective of these techniques is to play with the systems and make a specific website to appear more relevant to the search engines leading to better rankings. This results in a poor user experience because most of the content on the website is never relevant or useful.
White hat SEO techniques strive to provide users with premium quality materials that are related to what they are exactly looking for from the websites. Such content can only be created by experts and there are no techniques that can manipulate the search engines. White hat strategies will adhere to all the search engine guidelines that are stipulated in the terms of service and user will always relish in their experience with such content.
Black Hat SEO techniques that you should Avoid
White hat techniques usually need one to invest resources and time for them to bear result and this is one factor that attributes to the current use of black hat techniques. When you hire an SEO expert to work on your website, you must ensure that he/she will only apply white hat SEO strategies that cannot result in any algorithmic penalties. With the ever-changing search engine algorithm updates, understanding the tools that should be avoided is important.
Below are some strategies that should never be used by your SEO consultant:
Keyword stuffing: For many years, keywords have been one of the most abused SEO tools. Professionals may try to trick the search engines by randomly adding keywords to show the relevance of the pages to the targeted search. However, keyword staffing will ultimately affect the ranking of your website on the SERPs and it will also affect the conversion rates because of poor user experience.
Link Buying and exchange: Even today, link building is one of the most misapprehended techniques. When it comes to link building, the quality matters more than the quantity of the links. With Google Penguin and other types of algorithm updates, it will take a very short time before any spam links that are procured are detected. Link buying can lead to immediate penalties that can greatly affect your business website.
Hidden text: This is a form of keyword abuse and it involves the use of an invisible text on a page which the search engines can detect but users cannot see. The main objective of these hidden texts is to manipulate the search engine crawlers and also avoid bounce rates.
Cloaking: This is one of widely used black hat SEO methodologies and you must inform your SEO specialist to avoid it from the start. Cloaking involves coding of the web pages in a manner that it portrays two different sets of content, one for the users, and one for the search engine crawlers. With this technique, an SEO specialist will hope to present keyword-rich content to manipulate the search engines and get better ranking. On the other hand, website visitors just find more readable and less relevant text.
Article spinning: There are countless article spinning tools that are used by some webmasters. This will result in publishing new content that will not add value to your website because the information already exists.
There are other black hat SEO techniques that should be avoided like spam comments, link bait, doorway pages, duplicate content, link farms, and many more. Irrespective of what your SEO strategist tells you about them keep in mind the risk is never worth it.