SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the term given to practices designed to get websites and individual pages better rankings in search engines; especially the major players like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Without good SEO the chances of getting high rankings are virtually non-existent with all the competition out there competing for eyeballs.
Organic SEO is about creating sites with quality content designed for the benefit of human readers and not just to please search engine robots. Your sites are set up in such a way that search engines find your content useful to a human audience and therefore give your pages higher rankings when keywords are typed in for a search for a particular term.
White Hat SEO
White hat SEO is very much like organic SEO. This is where the optimisation strategies and techniques employed to get sites ranked in Google is done in a way that’s targeted at a human audience and not the search engine robots. It is ethical and done in a manner that follows search engine rules and policies. Everything is focused on relevancy and a good experience for the end user. In other words, when a user finds your site in search results after searching a particular keyword phrase, when they arrive at your page they are met with content relevant to their search.
Some white hat SEO includes careful selection of keywords and constructing content relevant to those chosen keywords. Also there are backlinks pointing to your site and link building within your site.
Maintaining a white hat SEO practice is vitally important to ensure the long-term success of your website.
Black Hat SEO
This is the bad boy of SEO, the rebel living on the edge.
Black hat SEO employs the use of aggressive SEO tactics in a bid to manipulate search results and get ranked quickly. These tactics are targeted at the search engine robots and not the end-user. Black hat practices tend to fly against the wind, ignoring the rules and best practices that search engines put in place to improve the quality of their search results.
Some examples may include invisible text, where the text is the same colour as the background in a bid to employ keywords that are not relevant to the content. Another tactic is keyword stuffing, trying to jam as many keywords into the content as possible, often in a non-uniform way, leaving the content rather lumpy and jumbled and not pleasant to read, nor comprehend.
Those seeking a fast financial gain will often employ black hat practices in a bid to make some quick cash. These tactics are definitely not recommended if you care about the longevity of your website. Black hat practices will soon get your site banned from search engines like Google and Bing, leaving you with next to no organic traffic.
These are companies that specialise in setting up SEO for your site or sites. Generally they will perform white hat SEO and strictly follow best practices. It’s assumed that most are experts when it comes to SEO and it may be worth employing their services for optimum search engine rankings. There are a lot of plug-ins available for websites – particularly Word Press sites – that automatically handle most of the back end SEO for you; like keywords, descriptions and the like. However, these plug-ins don’t do everything. An SEO specialist will be aware of many ways to improve and increase the traffic to your site.
In addition there are lots of software programs on the market that are designed to help you improve your site's overall SEO score.
If in doubt about any tactic you might be inclined to employ to get more traffic, research it thoroughly first to make sure that it follows white hat SEO guidelines. If you care about your site’s future, then don’t indulge – or allow a third party SEO company to indulge – in any dodgy SEO practices, including tactics that fall into the grey zone.
I’ve learnt quite a lot about SEO and the right ways to go about it through my in-depth training at Wealthy Affiliate. Through step-by-step courses the tutors at Wealthy Affiliate guide you every step of the way with setting up an online business, and the training includes how to employ SEO the proper way, following the guidelines set out by the major search engines.
If you are interested in learning more about Wealthy Affiliate and SEO, then watch this very informative video below.
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