Writing by Nick Stamoulis in SEO
Google has thrown some major bombs at the world of SEO in the past year. When the Panda and Penguin updates a lot of websites found themselves on the wrong side of the search giant’s line in the sand. In my opinion and experience, black hat SEO tactics almost always catch up with a site sooner or later. And these updates make grey hat SEO even more complicated because site owners have to worry about staying one step ahead of the search engines. At the end of the day, white hat SEO is the safest way to go and will protect your site in the long run.
Here are 4 ways white hat SEO protects your site from search engine updates:
1. Focuses on quality link sources.
Yes, links are the bread and butter of SEO, but white hat SEO link building means you’re more focused on quality than quantity. Google’s Penguin update went after sites that had a lot of “unnatural” links in their profile including links from unrelated websites; links in bad neighborhoods, link exchanges, and hidden links and more. White hat SEO means you don’t engage in any link building activity that might send the wrong message to the search engines. Instead of going after every link, site owners should concentrate on building quality links from a variety of trusted sources.
2. Incorporates a variety of anchor text.
Penguin also targeted sites that relied too heavily on exact match anchor text. The goal of white hat SEO link building is to keep it as natural as possible, and this means varying up your anchor text to include branded keywords, priority keywords and multiple long-tail variations. Using the same anchor text again and again tells the search engines that you are actively trying to manipulate the search results in your favor for that particular phrase. It’s much better in the long run to broaden your anchor text list and use various keywords at random.
3. Ensures that “SEO friendly” content is still written for the human reader.
There are very few hard and fast rules of white hat SEO (other than don’t do anything considered black hat) but one of the most important things to making your white hat SEO campaign successful is to make sure that your SEO doesn’t overshadow the user-experience. Content needs to be written for a human reader, not a search spider. After all, the reader is the one you are trying to get to do business with you, not the search spider. Content optimization is important, but don’t overdo it.
4. Keeps your website clean and spam-free.
Believe it or not, the way your website is designed can have an impact on your SEO. Is your website ad heavy (especially above the fold)? That can have a negative impact on the performance of your site in the SERPs. How fast does your site load? Google freely admits that page load time is a ranking factor. Are there are lot of broken links? 404 errors stop both the visitor and search spider from effectively navigating your website. Is your content thin and stuffed with keywords? Then you better watch out for the next Panda update! White hat SEO is designed to keep your website both search engine and user-friendly, without going too far in any one direction.