Although a misnomer, the term ‘White Hat SEO’ is often used to describe the ethical practices undertaken for optimizing a website. The concept hit the mainstream when Search Engines like Google started penalizing websites that relied on unruly and unethical SEO practices such as link farming, link spamming, keyword stuffing, plagiarizing content, creating doorway pages, etc.
WordStream.com defines it as
It is the opposite of Black Hat SEO. Generally, white hat SEO refers to any practice that improves your search rankings on a search engine results page (SERP) while maintaining the integrity of your website and staying within the search engines' terms of service.
What is a White-Hat SEO?
Marketers who have practiced White-hat SEO advocate that:
- Play by Google’s rules (they’re pretty clear about these in their guidelines);
- Optimize for humans not search engines;
- Create quality content that people actively want to read and share;
- Create a website that stands out from others in your niche (for the right reasons!)
It is entirely true, mainly because the search results are meant for humans. They are meant to help us find relevant information. For example, if a person searching for DIY tips on how to fix a broken chair finds information only about different kinds of chairs, newly branded chairs, or cheap re-sale sales in the search results, and then it would be an irrelevant and irritating experience for them. They are likely to lose their trust in search engine results; hence it’s bad for business.
Google introduced PageRank, an algorithm to rank a webpage based on the quality and quantity of backlinks it contains. The more backlinks you have, the higher your website will rank.
Unethical marketers started taking advantage of this by creating link farm websites where people could buy bulks of backlinks for their website. Although it helped them rank higher in search engine results, they ultimately lost visitors due to a lack of relevant content on their website.
3 Reasons to Avoid Black-Hat SEO Techniques
Black-hat SEO is more expensive than ever before
Although black hat SEO techniques offered good rankings in its initial phase, it cost more to eliminate the risks which were hard to mitigate.
Google is getting smarter every day. It doesn’t only remove the webpages from search engine results but outright bans them. Once your website gets banned, it can be way too costly to get it back up again. It takes more effort to get the black hat SEOs done right. So, Black-Hat SEO is a big No-No!
Black-hat SEO is full of Risks
Nobody wants to get penalized by Google. If you follow Black-hat SEO practices, you’re more likely to get penalized at one point in time. Why risk everything you have worked to get washed off? Say no to Black-hat SEO.
Black-hat SEO requires some level of “technical knowledge
Getting Black-hat SEO right is getting difficult each day because the old techniques are dying and Google is getting smarter! You won’t get too far unless you have a profound and detailed understanding of how the web works and how you can exploit that knowledge to your advantage.
How to achieve organic traffic by White Hat SEO techniques?
Most website traffic comes from organic visits compared to paid traffic. Although the visits generated by paid traffic covert into more customers than the organic traffic, organic traffic still remains the source of most website visits.
The process of optimizing a website begins at an early stage. Although you optimize your website to suit Google’s search engine algorithm, you’re ultimately doing it for your customers who are humans. From choosing a relevant domain and website design to creating original content through blogging and building quality backlinks over time, all of these processes count as white-hat SEO techniques which helps you rank higher in the search engines.
Moving up in the rankings is difficult and takes time, but once you're there you get to reap the benefits for a long time.
DID YOU KNOW? - Results on the first page of Google (The Top 10) receive 92% off all search traffic on Google. Traffic drops by 95% on the second page.
Some of the best White-Hat SEO Techniques
- Develop and promote one website
Black-hat SEO marketers often launch a dozen websites in quick succession with the agenda to get at least one of the sites to the top. This undermines your SEO approach by dividing the time, effort, and keywords to multiple sites.
If you want to create multiple websites as possible with the least amount of time and effort, it's unlikely that they'll look particularly pretty.
It's practically redundant to own a website that suffers from a huge bounce rate. Higher bounce-rates are often caused by poor UI and UX of the website. Make sure your website looks equally good and functions well on mobile devices. It's likely that 8 out of 10 people who visit your website are surfing it through their smartphone.
Consider making a single website better by prioritizing UI/UX. A better user interface and user experience will give you positive results in both search engine result pages and visitor conversion. Avoid creating doorway pages and multiples websites to get a better ranking.
- Create unique and valuable content
Stop plagiarizing! Stop doing it immediately, if you're copying someone else's material and posting it on your website. Google has a strict policy regarding plagiarism. Google's Panda algorithm looks for suspicious webpages by checking for plagiarism. If your website is found to have posted a large amount of copied content, you're likely to be penalized or removed from the search result pages altogether.
This is how Black-Hat SEO generally works when it comes to copying content
Republishing existing posts (without attribution): Although republishing posts with attribution is perfectly fine, taking them from other sites without attribution and re-posting is not;
Rewritten/spun content: This might work to a degree for low-competition keywords, but it’s hardly offering any unique value. Chances are your rewritten content won’t read as well as the original and visitors won’t trust it.
Create unique and original content, even if you have to pay a large sum for it. Along with it, consider adding a captivating headline, readability, structure, keywords in strategic places, compelling meta description to make your content stand out.
- Link Building
Black-Hat SEO followed the usual technique of link spamming where most of such links were obtained by purchasing backlinks from link farms. It was easier to receive backlinks by commenting on different blog posts, articles, and forums.
Later Google realized the danger of link spamming and brought a halt to all the link farms by penalizing them. Most such link spams were neutralized by reducing their PageRank.
It is realized by each marketer that buying links is risky mainly because many backlinks from link farms are already penalized by Google. It is also an expensive affair to buy backlinks, that too of the best quality.
White-Hat SEO follows the safe practice of creating backlinks by publishing third-party blog posts, guest blogging, and link sharing.
- Outreach vs. Spam
Outreach or email marketing is one of the most common ways of networking. Although it helps to build receive website visits in a short time, it can be considered spam if it seems suspicious.
Here’s a typical process for black-hat spam:
- Scrape a bunch of sites (often tens of thousands);
- Blast the same template out to all of them with no personalization;
- Sit back and wait for people to get annoyed;
- Spam them again.
An email blast is considered highly risky mainly because thousands of unintended users can report the email address and the sender for spamming their inboxes.
Instead, you can create a trusty group of readers by creating highly-targeted emails to users who are more willing to receive your email. Consider customizing and personalizing the email templates before you send them out.
Don't forget that email marketing is still one of the most effective forms of digital marketing. If you do it properly, you reap the benefits.
Marketers have realized the potential of White-Hat SEO techniques in the long-run; hence many marketers are stepping up by expanding different White-Hat SEO techniques for others to follow.