White-Hat SEO: How Playing by the Rules Can Help You Win

If you want to make sure that your website ranks well on Google without facing any potential penalties that could end up hurting your brand, then you need to look take a close look at white-hat SEO. If you are unsure about what white-hat SEO really is and want more information about how this approach can help take your business to the next level, then don’t worry because we at LinkNow Media are here to help explain everything you need to know.

The first thing that you need to understand about white-hat SEO techniques is that they are the most legitimate means of increasing your business’s visibility, and any dividend that you obtain from this endeavour will enhance your site’s online ranking capabilities without the risk of any penalties being incurred.

One of the biggest concerns that many business owners have about adopting white-hat SEO techniques is that if they do so, they will be unable to compete with their rivals who operate exclusively in black-hat SEO techniques. And while it is true that this is a legitimate concern, the fact of the matter is that in most industries, businesses that adopt white-hat techniques should be able to match if not exceed the dividend versus those who only follow the black-hat based approach. But crucially, this can be achieved without any major ranking-related penalties being imposed on your site by Google. However, before we address the advantages of white-hat SEO over black-hat, it is necessary to look at the differences between both approaches to SEO.

Black-Hat SEO vs. White-Hat SEO: What You Need to Know

When it’s boiled down to its most simple terms all SEO has the same aim, which is to improve your website’s ranking in search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. However, not all SEO is created equally and that is why it is vitally important that you as a business owner understand the differences between black and white-hat SEO. With that in mind, here is a quick breakdown of the differences between these two approaches:

Black-Hat SEO

In essence, black-hat SEO is SEO that goes against Google’s rules and best practices on how to increase your site’s ranking and visibility. The unfortunate reality is that many business owners are seduced by the short-term gains that black-hat SEO can provide their business but in the long-run it’s a big mistake because Google, or other search engines for that matter, will not want to promote a site that breaks its rules. And, the less that Google promotes and authenticates your site, the lower the chance there is of new clients finding your site and reading your business’s valuable content. If you are unsure whether or not you are at risk of implementing black-hat SEO techniques, then a quick glance through the following list should point you in the right direction:

  • Paying another site to link to yours is a shortcut that you need to avoid at all costs.
  • Creating keyword-rich links using unapproved techniques, such as backtrack spam is another short-sighted approach to SEO.
  • Participating in link exchanges with sites that have nothing to do with yours, you are running the risk of facing Google’s wrath.
  • If you ‘scrape’ or take content from other websites to use exclusively on your own site, then you are also running the risk of hurting the SEO ranking of your business’s website.
  • Another trick that some businesses and web design teams use to increase their SEO through black-hat techniques is using hidden text that readers can’t see but search engines can. For instance, by putting lots of keywords in white text on a white background, you are attempting to cheat Google, but you will most likely end up cheating yourself.
  • Getting your site linked to and from link farms is another shortcut that some businesses think is a good idea. However, in the long-run, it is a risk that you just shouldn’t take.

In essence, if an SEO technique sounds too good to be true, then it probably is! The simple fact of the matter is that you can’t cheat your way to the top of Google. Instead, you need to focus on making sure that your business follows these important SEO guidelines to make sure that you get all the pleasure without any of the pain. With that in mind, here is what you need to know about white-hat SEO:

White-Hat SEO

The most important thing you need to know about white-hat SEO is that it plays by the rules. White-hat SEO results in a website that Google naturally wants to promote, because, A) it is full of great content, and B) is easy for your readers to engage with, and C) it is optimized with relevant keywords, etc. If you are looking to make sure that your site has as much white-hat SEO-driven content as possible, then you may want to pay attention to the following list of white-hat practices:

  • Making sure that your site is filled with keyword-rich, high-quality content for your blog is a guaranteed way of ensuring that your site will be filled with the best white-hat practices.
  • If you want to make sure that your site contains as much white-hat SEO as possible, then using a content management system like WordPress is a great way of doing it.
  • By writing high-quality guest posts for other blogs, forging organic relationships this way is a far better way of doing things than merely looking to push backlinks that simply don’t work.
  • By using Google Webmaster Tools to fix any problems with your site, you are ensuring that you can detect any small issues before it becomes something bigger and more problematic for you to address.
  • The use of clear and direct headlines and titles will help your site get to the next level quickly.

It may seem like somewhat of a no-brainer, but we at LinkNow Media are big proponents of white-hat SEO. So, even though it is true that black-hat SEO may lead to quick results, if you want sustained SEO success for your website then you need to take the time to enhance your white-hat SEO techniques today.

The Dangers of Keyword Stuffing

When it comes to keywords, there is a risk of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Sure, they do not hold the same weight as they once did in the world of SEO, but that does not mean that they are completely obsolete now. In fact, they still hold value and if used sparingly can help increase your site’s SEO strength considerably. However, one thing you simply can’t do is to attempt to stuff the content on your page with keywords that simply are there to try and make short-term SEO gains at the expense of all else.

In the past, keyword stuffing was a very common practice and was one of the most common black-hat methods of doing SEO well. The thinking in applying this approach was that by ensuring that the word associated with the company was picked up, you could enhance your site’s ranking position. However, as Google has evolved, it is now seen as a pretty useless tactic to try and fill your content with forced-in keywords that don’t fit the overall tone of your page. After all, we’ve all seen those articles which are barely legible as every second word is a keyword that is forced into the text simply for SEO purposes.

Nowadays, most good SEO content writers (like the ones at LinkNow Media) will simply refuse to create content where there is a request for a keyword density of more than 7% because it will simply reduce the quality of the piece considerably. However, just because keyword stuffing is something that should be avoided, that doesn’t mean that keywords no longer fulfil a role when it comes to creating keyword-rich SEO for your site. In fact, the truth is that keywords still have their place in strong SEO-based content and can enhance everything from blogs to videos and PPC and AdWords. In 2018, best practice involves using similar words throughout a piece rather than simply repeating the keyword over and over.

Content—More Than King?

In the past, the term ‘content is king’ was widely used to describe the importance of strong SEO. However, nowadays content is much more than king, it is pretty close to everything. As a result, it is no longer enough to stick a hurried blog post online once a month and expect to receive high-quality results. Worse still, you simply cannot reheat an old blog piece and expect anything other than sub-standard results. For your site to be a success, the following needs to be taken into account:

  • Your site needs to be original and not taken from other sites.
  • Your site should be extremely relevant and useful to your specific industry and audience.
  • Your site should be very well-written, with good-grammar and spelling.
  • If you are using image or video content, the you need to make sure to include a title, ALT tag and if needed, make sure that the original artist is credited in the piece
  • Where possible, it is also important to point to the source of the research and relevant quotes where applicable.

Why White-Hat Should Be the Only Way You Do SEO

Like anything in life, there is a right way and wrong way of doing SEO research. If you want a quick fix to get your business some unsustainable short-term gains, then maybe you should stick to the black-hat approach. However, if you are serious about increasing your website’s SEO strength and want to make sure that as many people as possible have access to it, then you need to focus your attention on white-hat techniques.

At the end of the day, every business wants to be on top of Google’s search results because it should result in more traffic and resultantly, more sales. And yes, it is true that white-hat SEO requires more elbow grease than black-hat techniques, the fact of the matter is that putting the hard work in at the beginning can yield a massive pay-out further down the line. What you need to know about SEO is that every business, no matter if they are a small start-up or a multinational industry leader, is playing to Google’s rules and taking shortcuts with your SEO is just not what Google wants.

By operating exclusively with white-hat techniques, you can rest assured that you will have access to a sustainable SEO strategy that will deliver optimal results without any of the potential penalties from taking the easier option. The other advantage of white-hat SEO is that it makes sure that the right type of visitor is visiting your site—visitors that will convert into real-life sales opportunities for your business. On top of that, you will receive the exposure that often equates to success. Finally, white-hat SEO is great because it is one of the easiest ways of ranking well on Google and other search engines without having to jump through a range of unnecessary hoops to get there.

That being said, it is important to remember that white-hat SEO is a slow process and not something that happens overnight. However, once you start on the white-hat path, you can rest assured that you’re headed in the right direction. You won’t have to be concerned with complex algorithm updates that will lose your site its top-place ranking if you choose to take the white-hat route.

Let Us Lead the Way

At LinkNow Media, we are extremely proud of the fact that we craft keyword rich content that enhances the SEO of the websites that we work on. However, what we are most happy about is the fact that we will always strive to use white-hat SEO techniques. We do this because it is more sustainable in the long-term but also because it ensure that our commercial clients are left with a clear understanding of the right and wrong way to approach this important part of web design success.

Eve Mendelovitch

Author: Eve Mendelovitch

About Eve Mendelovitch