Have you found yourself constantly trying to think of ways to develop your company’s online presence? If you answered yes, then you’re in the same boat as majority of the business owners in today’s digital-centric world.
In this context, being similar isn’t a bad thing. It’s true that you need to rank up on the results on search engines to reach more people. But if everyone has the same goal, what strategies should you use to come on Google’s top results? This is a question discussed in the debate between White Hat and Black Hat SEO.
Search Engine Optimization
Before learning about the existing debacle, let’s first recall what SEO is and why it matters. With the rise of internet usage, SEO or Search Engine Optimization has been famous in marketing and advertising. It’s defined as different techniques and strategies that companies utilize to improve their websites’ visibility.
SEO’s main purpose is to attract organic viewers to their respective websites. And by organic, we don’t mean the vegetable. It means people should naturally flock to your pages without being paid or forced. This is ideal since it provides consistent website traffic and product / service advertisement without needing to shell out money just to reach potential customers.
So to advertise your business, it’s not enough to just create a website with your company name displayed in big, flashy letters. You also need to consider different strategies and practices that’ll have visitors flocking to your site.
SEO Wars: Black Hat vs White Hat
Since the internet can easily be accessed, almost anyone can create a website for their business. But this also means there are other online sites out there that can offer the same products or services you’re advertising.
We get it, it’s difficult to make your website stand out from the crowd. And this is where the debate between White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO come into play. People are arguing whether organizations should stick to the good, old ethical ways of SEO or if they need to get ‘creative’ in improving their rankings in searching engines. ¹
To fully understand this debacle, try to think about a video game. Gamers who play games without any cheats tend to play longer hours and dedicate more effort to beat different levels. It’s similar to White Hat SEO! They explain that they gain a sense of pride and fulfillment when finishing a hard level with only their skills and strategical thinking.
On the flip side, there are gamers who argue they don’t want to exert effort and but they still want to beat the game. And that’s when they resort to unethical practices like buying and using in-game cheats. This side of the argument represents Black Hat SEO.
Black Hat SEO
This type of tactic uses manipulation to trick search engine in making their website rank higher despite not following any of the rules set. Even if their pages have no relevant information to offer, they’re still using strategies that’ll artificially create more online traction and traffic. Below is a rundown of the strategies Black Hat SEO utilizes to trick viewers.
List of Common Tactics
- Duplicated Content. One of the most important thing a company website should prioritize is the content they offer within their pages. Viewers and potential customers browse online trying to gain more knowledge about the topic they’re interested in. If they’ve already read the content you’re showing them, they won’t hesitate to close the tab. Moreover, if you just copy and paste articles from other websites, you could face legal repercussions because of plagiarism. Yikes!
- Key Word Stuffing. SEO often considers the key words mentioned in an article when creating rank results. When compared to other words, key terminologies are usually mentioned more often but this shouldn’t mean that you should stuff your content with the key words. For example, “including SEO key terms after SEO every three words SEO.” Although it’s not usually that over the top, actual key word stuffing can still look and sound as awkward as the exaggerated example.
- Hidden Text. Like the name suggests, this is a tactic done by writing words on the website and changing their font color as the background color. This is usually done to meet word counts or insert key words without needed to think of authentic or more natural ways to do so.
Aftermath of Manipulation
Although these tactics can produce short-term success, they can actually ruin your website’s long-term engagement. Check out the two main reasons:
- Automated Penalties – Searching engines like Google have set in place ways to counter Black Hat SEO. When the engines recognize unethical practices, the pinpointed websites are automatically ranked lower or even removed from the list of results. So even if you see a sudden increase in viewers, it will definitely not last long thanks to the preventive measure programmed by different searching engines.
- Damaged Reputation – If a viewer clicks your pages and sees no reliable or relevant content, there’s a high chance that they’ll consider your website and your company as untrustworthy. This could then lead to less online traffic and more negative opinions about your business.
White Hat SEO
On the other side of the SEO Wars, companies utilize ethical strategies to help their websites of even social media accounts to rank higher on search results. Although these tactics are admittedly more effortful to maintain, they still show many benefits for the businesses that use them. To ensure you’re on team White Hat SEO, you can follow these three essential rules when developing your own search engine optimization.
The Three Musketeers
- Create Valuable Content – As mentioned before, people research online to learn something, otherwise they wouldn’t be searching at all. So, you need to make sure your pages are actually offering something new your viewers could benefit from. Include facts and expert opinions that’s beneficial for them to know or think about.
- Meet Viewer Expectations – Other than your articles’ content, pay attention to other factors like titles and links. It’s tempting to use clickbait titles but make sure it’s relevant to your content. Remember, people open your website for a reason. If they clicked on your URL because they read “3 best marketing tips”, then they should read about those three strategies. A mismatch between content and titles can make you less trustworthy and less popular to potential customers or clients.
- Make Sites User-Friendly – According to a comparative study made from 2011 to today, the usage of mobile phones have multiplied ten times from 6 percent to a whooping 60 percent.2 This means people use mobile regularly used when searching online. So to ensure good viewer experience, make your website user-friendly too! Admittedly, this can take more time since you need to customize the visual presentation of two different layouts. But, it gives you an edge especially if your website is the only mobile-friendly page among results from search engines!
Afterglow of the Ethical Path
Overall, sticking to White Hat SEO can help you sustain long-term online traffic thanks to the positive user experience it generates. These basic strategies also give you a leg up in making your name more trustworthy for the people who matter – your target audience!
Read More: Get Googleable – SEO PRO-Tips for Staffing
IMPROVE YOUR SEO RANKING WITH FAIR AND ETHICAL SOLUTIONS
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We believe every company can develop one ethical marketing tactic at a time. Personalize your solutions by allowing us to track your performance and pin point ways to improve. With us, you can always expect ethical and transparent marketing strategies that can utilize your business’ strengths Contact us today to improve your own SEO ranking!
1 Actual SEO Media, Inc. “SEO Wars: Rise of the White Hat Heroes with Actual SEO Media, Inc.’s Expert Guidance!” NewsWires, 8 Jun. 2023, www.einnews.com/pr_news/638239416/seo-wars-rise-of-the-white-hat-heroes-with-actual-seo-media-inc-s-expert-guidance.
2 “Mobile Vs. Desktop Internet Usage.” Broadband Search, July 2022, www.broadbandsearch.net/blog/mobile-desktop-internet-usage-statistics.