Are You Following the Rules?
When I explain White Hat SEO in a presentation, most prospects nod and agree with the theory of playing within the search engine optimization rules. Until the discussion turns toward results. Can you guarantee that I’ll be on page one for most of my keywords? How long will it take to rank better than my competitors? What’s the fastest way to show up in Google searches?
Let me tell you the truth about White Hat SEO and why many online marketers stray to the dark side.
What Is White Hat SEO Anyway?
In its simplistic definition, White Hat SEO techniques follow the ground rules that Google and other Search Engines set forth about structuring information on the Web. Google and Bing are in the business of answering human questions; they try to serve up the best matches to the queries or keywords posed. The search engine’s job is to scour all possible pages contained on the Web and deliver the most recent, relevant, and useful content.
How well they perform that function determines if searchers keep coming back because they have a positive search experience. They find what they want. Easily and accurately. Webmasters, who use SEO techniques
Webmasters, who use SEO techniques that try to trick or manipulate a search engine for results they don’t deserve, are Grey/Black Hat. On the flip side, White Hat requires managing a website by following search engine quality guidelines that inherently support the human searcher. Does it help answer a question (useful content)? Do other websites link back to the content because it’s credible (relevant links)? If the answer is yes, then you’re following White Hat SEO guidelines to produce results.
When You Don’t Follow the Rules
Setting aside ethics for the moment, using Black or Grey Hat techniques can get you into serious trouble. Google algorithm changes are routine (39 were launched in May alone) as part of their quest to improve search quality. Google rewards high-quality sites, and specifically targets webspam. They define webspam as techniques that “don’t benefit users, where the intent is to look for shortcuts or loopholes that would rank pages higher than they deserve.” When abusers are caught, punishment can range from lost ranking (the most lenient outcome) to complete banishment from search.
The Rules Continue To Change & Evolve
And search engine algorithms continue to evolve. At a rapid pace. If you follow MozCast, you see the volatility in organic search. We’ve had a record number of days this year with significant fluctuations to Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) rankings. Perhaps this is the new normal. Google’s algorithm now has artificial intelligence; basically, this is machine learning. It has to learn fast because 15% of searches every day are new and never been searched before.
In a recent Search Engine Land article entitled “How to stop worrying about Google updates,” the author chronicles the slew of no-name updates unleashed by Google this year. It includes good ole fashioned White Hat SEO advice, things we’ve been saying for years. Like:
- Honor your website visitors by creating quality content they actually want to read and share
- Review your link profile — the websites that link to you — frequently and keep it clean (remove spammy domains)
- Fix any technical problems on your site like broken links and confusing navigation to improve user experience
- Use to analytics to make improvements. Google Analytics and Search Console provides insightful data on how your site is performing
- Stay educated on quality guidelines so you ensure that your Webmaster and/or digital marketing agency is following the rules.
No Guarantees Allowed
If your SEO firm or digital Marketing agency guarantees results, then they are most likely not wearing a white hat. If the competition is high for your keywords, then legitimate and targeted SEO efforts are going to take time. Due to competition, it’s not uncommon for organic visibility to take years, not months.If your competition has deeper pockets and are spending it on SEO, then achieving slot #1 on page #1 may not be realistic. Want fast results that are ethical? We suggest AdWords.
If your competition has deeper pockets and are spending it on SEO, then achieving spot #1 on page #1 may not be realistic. Want fast results that are ethical? We suggest AdWords.
Our clients are looking to improve visibility and protect their reputation. In our mind, it’s a no-brainer to keep our White Hat squeaky clean.
How can we help?
Launching a website and need help with keyword research? Or, are you tweaking your landing pages to improve sales conversion?
We are the spectrum group online, and we offer strategic and tactical consulting so you can monetize your online presence. Call us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your website’s user experience and translate that into sales.