In the world of SEO, finding the right strategies to get your website noticed can be challenging.
It’s a competitive landscape, so you want to make sure you’re taking the right approach.
Without knowing, you could be using questionable tactics that result in your website being penalised or even banned from search engine results. So, it’s essential you understand and practice white hat SEO.
But what is white hat SEO?
White hat SEO focuses on building a website that follows search engine guidelines while providing relevant content for users. Ultimately, the goal is first to create quality content that offers value to readers, then make it easy for search engines to find and understand that content and eventually rank it.
White hat SEO uses ethical techniques and strategies to optimise websites for search engine algorithms.
What are white hat SEO techniques?
They are techniques designed to help improve the visibility of your website in search engine results without resorting to black hat practices, which we will discuss later.
Instead of attempting to trick the algorithm, they focus on appealing to a human audience.
While it’s easy to assume that white hat SEO only involves adding quality content, it’s actually a comprehensive approach that includes a variety of strategies. Strategies such as
- Optimising content
- Improving user experience
- Resolving technical problems
- Building healthy links through outreach
Why Does White Hat SEO Matter?
The co-founder of Google, Larry Page, said many years ago, “The perfect search engine would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want.”
This statement epitomises the goal that white hat SEO aims to achieve.
White hat SEO helps you build trust with search engines and establish credibility with those searching on them.
While you may think SEO is only about creating a good experience for your audience, it’s vital to remember that SEO is also about ensuring your website meets the search engine’s criteria.
White hat SEO also offers a long-term approach that helps your website to stay visible and relevant.
Here are a few reasons white hat SEO is safer for long-term growth.
- User experience. White hat SEO techniques prioritise the user experience. Making websites more engaging, informative, and easy to navigate leads to higher engagement and more traffic over time.
- Brand reputation. Through honest and ethical practices, white hat SEO builds a brand’s reputation over time. These practices increase the chances of building a loyal customer base and generating repeat business.
- Search engine trust. Search engines are improving at detecting black hat SEO tactics. White hat SEO is the only way to ensure that your website can stay in good standing with search engines for the long run.
On the other hand, you may have heard of black hat SEO techniques promising quick results.
Black hat SEO refers to unethical and illegitimate techniques that manipulate and trick search engines. Some examples of black hat SEO techniques include
- Keyword stuffing
- Hidden text
- Link spamming
These techniques can result in penalties from search engines, like a drop in rankings or even complete removal from search engine results pages.
Such penalties would affect your website’s visibility and damage its reputation with users.
If you’re considering using any of the above techniques, remember that they only offer short-term gains, which can be quickly reversed!
At the end of the day, the search engine is responsible for deciding which website reaches the top ranking.
As the years go on, they’re getting better and better at sniffing out black hat SEO techniques.
The clear winner will always be white hat SEO.
Not only does it have the potential to outrank competitors who use black hat tactics, but it also helps you build trust and credibility with your customers and search engines.
What Are Some Examples of White Hat SEO?
As the bread and butter of SEO, content optimisation involves optimising your website’s content to make it easier for search engines to find and index.
Such optimisation includes adding keywords in the right places like headings, image and meta descriptions, and the body of your writing.
Gone are the days when keyword stuffing was enough to get your website to the top of search engine rankings!
The latest search engine algorithm updates heavily focus on looking for quality, up-to-date content that provides valuable, helpful information for readers.
Content should also be easy to read and shouldn’t use any language that could be deemed spammy or misleading.
The last thing you want to do is try and manipulate users with bad content. They will leave your site faster than you can say “black hat SEO”!
Improving User Experience
Have you ever downloaded a particular application on your phone that didn’t work how you thought it would- maybe it was too difficult to use? It’s safe to say that app isn’t on your phone anymore!
The same goes for websites. If your website is difficult to navigate and not optimised for mobile use, it will not rank well on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Hence why, white hat SEO places such an emphasis on user experience.
White hat practices like web design and site speed optimisation mean users will have a positive experience while visiting your website.
And search engines can pick up on user experience. How?
When indexing your website, search engine algorithms now factor in user experience metrics like dwell time, bounce rate, and page views.
So if users spend a lot of time on your website or return to it often, this signals to search engines that your content is valuable.
They will then reward you by raising your rankings.
Resolving Technical Problems
Improving user experience and resolving technical problems go hand in hand.
It’s essential to fix any technical issues that could prevent users from engaging with your content, such as broken links, slow loading times, and redirects.
Technical issues can also prevent search engines from properly indexing your website.
It makes sense that websites with no technical problems will outrank those with unresolved technical issues.
There’s no point in working hard to build a fantastic website with excellent content that has technical problems!
Any credible SEO agency should run regular audits of your website to check no serious technical issues are preventing search engine crawlers from properly indexing your content.
Never overlook these audits, as they are a key component of white hat SEO.
Building Healthy Links Through Outreach
One of the most common black-hat SEO tactics is shady link building.
Link building involves creating links on other websites that lead back to your website.
This has become a popular way for spammy websites to get ahead of their competitors by buying cheap links from low-quality, non-relevant sites.
As an example, let’s say you wanted to rank for the keyword “dog beds”.
You could buy a bunch of backlinks from websites dedicated to cats or pet food.
While these would increase your backlink count, it doesn’t necessarily mean that users will click through and make a purchase on your website.
White hat SEO advocates link-building through content outreach.
Outreach involves pitching your content to relevant websites to be featured as a guest post or having them link back to you in an article of theirs.
It’s much more effective than just buying links from any website.
It helps build trust with search engines that your website provides quality content for users.
While reaching out to other websites takes effort and courage, it’s well worth it.
Building solid relationships with other sites in your niche and having those sites link to yours will do much more for your website’s SEO than any black-hat tactic ever would.
FAQs About White Hat SEO
What Is Grey Hat SEO?
Grey hat SEO is a combination of black and white hat SEO.
It uses elements from both practices, making it tricky to categorise.
Generally speaking, grey hat SEO involves taking risks with questionable tactics that aren’t specifically forbidden by search engines but don’t necessarily adhere to their guidelines.
Which SEO Technique Should Be Avoided?
Any SEO tactic that violates search engine guidelines should be avoided. Such tactics include
- Keyword stuffing. Filling your content with irrelevant or excessive keywords to trick search engines into ranking you higher.
- Cloaking. Presenting content to users that’s different to what is presented to search engines through unethical redirects or code that hides text from visitors.
- Duplicate content. Creating multiple pages or articles with identical or similar content. This spammy and manipulative tactic attempts to increase organic visibility, but search engines easily detect it.
What Are Toxic Backlinks?
Toxic backlinks are links from low-quality, spammy websites which can damage your website’s SEO.
These links are bought and sold for black hat SEO purposes. They’re often easy to spot as they’re usually entirely unrelated to your content.
Search engines consider these links when determining a website’s ranking and will penalise websites with too many of them.
For this reason, it’s important to regularly audit the backlinks pointing to your website to identify and remove any that may be damaging your SEO.
Do You Need a White Hat SEO Agency?
At Ignyt SEO, we understand that SEO is an ever-changing landscape.
We pride ourselves on staying up-to-date with the latest techniques and guidelines to provide our clients with high-quality and effective white hat SEO services.
We work on every aspect of your website’s SEO, including creating quality content, building relationships with other websites, and only using quality links.
We don’t take shortcuts! We only use proven strategies to help you achieve your goals without being penalised by search engines.
If you’re looking for an agency that can provide reliable white hat SEO services, Ignyt SEO has the experience and expertise to help you.
Are you still wondering- what is white hat SEO? Don’t worry; we have the answer!
Contact us today to learn more about white hat SEO and what it can do for your website.