Writing by Nick Stamoulis in SEO
There are two primary schools of thought when it comes to SEO. The first is white hat SEO, in which the SEO Specialist, agency, consultant, etc. carries out SEO activities that are deemed appropriate in the eyes of the search engines. The second is black hat SEO. This involves using tactics that aren’t approved by the search engines in order to attempt to gain a quick improvement in rank and SERP (search engine results page) presence. The search engines continue to get more sophisticated as time goes on and Google has been making some huge tweaks to the algorithm in the last few years (Panda, Penguin). Conducting black hat SEO activities will catch up with the site owner sooner or later and they will receive a penalty or get de-indexed completely. In order to protect your site in the long run, white hat SEO is the way to go.
Follow these 4 white hat SEO guidelines:
Quality links trump quantity of links
The Penguin update made it clear that not all links are created equal. There is a big difference between good links and bad links. Penguin went after sites that had links that were considered to be “unnatural” including links from unrelated websites, link exchanges, hidden links, and more. If you practice white hat SEO you won’t engage in any of these link building activities that are questionable. Instead, you will focus on building quality links from a variety of trusted sources. In addition to getting a link to build the link portfolio, focus on locations where the link can also help to generate website traffic.
Use a variety of anchor text
Another target of Penguin were sites that relied too heavily on exact match anchor text. Using the same anchor text over and over again isn’t natural. Think about how an outsider would link to your content. It’s doubtful that they would link to one of your “money” keywords. They’d probably link to the name of the business, “click here”, or even include the full URL. To keep things natural when link building, keep this in mind. Vary the anchor text so that it includes branded keywords, some priority keywords, and many long-tail variations. You don’t want to make it look like you are trying to manipulate the search results for a particular phrase.
Write for the reader
Content is a huge component of SEO. Without content there is nothing for the search engine spiders to “see” and rank. However, you don’t want to make the mistake of writing content specifically for the search engines. This kind of content is usually stuffed with keywords and is useless for a human reader. Instead, focus on the person that actually may click over to your website and buy from you. If your content doesn’t consider the user-experience it will be rejected by the search engine spiders and your target audience.
Keep the back end of the website clean
When practicing white hat SEO, it’s also important to consider what is going on on the back end of your website from a technical perspective. Sometimes during the website design and development process things can slip through the cracks that unknowingly are affecting your SEO success. Analyze the site and check for broken links, consider the load time, and make sure that content isn’t being duplicated. The user experience and internal linking structure of your site are also considered by the search engines.