SEO has so many misconceptions surrounding it that many people go the wrong path, causing their website(s) to plummet down the rankings. White Hat SEO strategies are the techniques Google recommends. This is slower than Black Hat SEO, but will get you long term, sustainable results. However, Black Hat SEO tactics might work for a short period, but can cause a site to get blacklisted when Google makes an update.
Quite simply, Google makes frequent changes to their algorithm. And at each update, forums and Facebook groups are filled with people complaining about a drop in rankings. On the other hand, any freelance SEO consultant, such as myself, who follows the right strategy won’t suffer this fate.
Before we delve deeply into what good White Hat SEO looks like, it is worth taking a look at the SEO techniques you should avoid.
1) Posting in forums and blog comments
This used to work; however, google shut this down many updates ago; therefore, if your SEO strategy involves plastering your website in as many forums and blog comments as possible, you would simply be wasting your time.
2) Copying and republishing content without attribution
Some people have taken the “Content is King” mantra to mean that they can simply copy other people’s content and publish it on their site. Some give attribution, but simply copying and pasting doesn’t bring long term SEO benefits. Moreover, it is a thin line as some webmaster might send a DMCA notice through Google in order to get the content de-indexed. Get too many DMCA notices and your site could get blacklisted.
Over the past few years, some people have resorted to using software which does this automatically, thinking that this makes their content “original”. Generally speaking, content written by software have poor grammar and are of poor quality. Grammar and spelling are SEO ranking factors. Moreover, if someone visits a poorly written piece of content, they are likely to quickly leave. Google records how long people spend on a site before going back to the search results.
3) Publishing ‘No News” press releases
Many years ago, publishing press releases and syndicating it to thousands of sites worked. But like with any “quick fix” Google shut down that loophole. However, some SEO “experts” are still using that strategy simply because it is easy, and it excites some clients to think that word of their website will go around the web. The simple fact is that most press releases never get read by journalists.
Therefore, the launch of a website, new products range etc isn’t news. However, if a company did something charitable in their community, it might get covered by local press.
4) Keyword stuffing
This is a technique that needs to die… because it no longer works. However, it is frankly shocking how many SEO “experts” try to hit a certain keyword percentage or fill up their text with certain keywords.
A good writer who is well versed on their topic will naturally include relevant words which Google will pick up on. For instance, a good article on diabetes might include words/phrases such as:
– Type 1 diabetes
– Type 2 diabetes
– Blood sugar
The more related phrases there are in the article and the more reputable websites link to it, the more Google sees it as relevant. As a result, the web page pushes up the rankings.
On the other hand, a bad article on diabetes would just be very vague and mention “diabetes” multiple times. The better your content is, the more likely it is that reputable websites would be willing to link to it.
5) Mass submission of website to directories
Some SEOs will tell you that they can submit your site to thousands of websites, thereby instantly giving you lots of backlinks. As one famous politician will say “Wrong!”. They will submit your site to thousands of directories that don’t matter and might even be blacklisted by Google. As a result, your site would suffer in the rankings.
Anyone who tells you that they can get you thousands of relevant, reputably backlinks in a few hours is a liar. Funnily enough, you might pay to have your site pushed down the rankings.
So which White Hat SEO tactics actually work?
After going through what doesn’t work, let’s look at the techniques which work if you execute them over a sustained period of time.
1) Optimise your website
Firstly, make sure that your website loads as quickly as possible. Speed is an search engine ranking factor. This might mean moving from a shared host to a dedicated host, resizing high resolution images or switching to a simpler theme.
Secondly, each page of your site should have its own meta tag, image should have file names relevant to the page. Moreover, the site structure should be well optimised. This makes it easier for Google to index the site and understand what it is about.
2) Create high quality content
You should definitely have a blog and post high quality content relevant to your target audience. Before you hit publish, ask yourself this question “Is this as good or better than other posts on the same topic?”. After hitting publish, manually reach out to relevant websites, find sites with relevant broken links, and reach out to relevant influencers explaining how your piece could be of benefit to their audience. The key to SEO is relevance.
3) Content should hit several sub niches
In any niche, there are several topics. What you want is to create content which people deeply care about. For instance, in the online business niche, here are some examples of topics people really care about:
– Converting traffic into sales
– Website design
– Social media
Therefore, if I was to create a site in the online business niche from scratch, I would make sure that each of the topics above was a separate category and create rich, detailed content. Combined with consistent manual outreach, the site would get high quality backlinks and shares. As a result, it would shoot up the rankings.
In conclusion, I hope you found this post useful. I have been getting my clients results for many years and have tried my best to make the process as simple as possible.
Amit Raj is a freelance SEO consultant based in the UK, who specialises in white hat link building techniques.