There are many different opinions about how to approach website optimisation in an industry as large as SEO. There are numerous SEO strategies and tactics to choose from, and what is ‘best’ is subjective and dependent on personal preference and objectives. That said, there is Good SEO and Bad SEO, and knowing the difference is important to avoid being penalised by search engines for the latter.
What Is Good SEO?
Good SEO, also known as “White Hat SEO,” is the most ethical way to optimise a website.
It meets three essential criteria:
- It follows search engine guidelines and complies with industry standards, specifically, the rules that Google has set defining the appropriate way to optimise a website.
- It focuses on a human audience, making changes that benefit the website’s visitors, meeting Google’s ultimate goal of providing the best possible results to its users.
- It takes a long-term approach, as following Google’s guidelines and creating positive user experiences tends to take a lot of work and time.
Benefits Of White Hat SEO:
In general, White Hat SEO strategies offer many benefits, including:
- They are more cost-effective
- They build genuine excitement and positive relationships
- They are easily shared
- They are low risk
- They are simple and require less work
- They can help build multiple revenue streams
What Is Bad SEO?
To put it very simply, if an SEO strategy meets any of these criteria, it is Bad SEO or “Black Hat SEO”:
- It violates search engines’ guidelines. Often, Black Hat SEO strategies are specifically listed in Google’s guidelines as tactics you shouldn’t use.
- It’s manipulative, looking for any way possible to make Google falsely believe that a site is more valuable to a reader than it really is. It manipulates the algorithm to improve rankings rather than offering actual value.
- It prioritises quick results, exploiting the algorithm’s loopholes to improve rankings without doing the work. These strategies can see results, but they’re never long-lasting since Google’s algorithm updates often weed out Black Hat SEO strategies.
Cons Of Black Hat SEO
Though the results may be tempting, Black Hat SEO has several pitfalls, including:
- They can get your website banned from Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
- They can get your domain permanently blacklisted by search engines
- They often contain hidden text, which can have significant consequences with the algorithm
- They can damage your SERP rating
Different SEO Methods
Splitting SEO methods into two methods, namely Automated and Manual, can give further insight into the nature of White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO.
- Automated - Automation is often a good thing. For example, email automation is a very effective email marketing strategy. However, when we speak about automated SEO strategies, they are often connected with Black Hat SEO. Automated SEO strategies usually use programs, applications or bots that automatically generate links, content, processes, comments and queries. These typically go against Google’s guidelines and don’t offer any value to internet users.
- Manual - Manual SEO strategies are most often associated with White Hat SEO. They are strategies that have people actually taking the time and putting in the work to implement various on-page and off-page SEO strategies to a website. These strategies may seem laborious, but they pay off in the long term.
White Hat Strategies
Good SEO strategies that you can implement:
- Quality Content
- Content-relevant keywords
- Keyword-rich metadata and page titles
- Simple website design and navigation
- Fast loading pages
- Authoritative inbound links
Black Hat Strategies
Bad SEO strategies that you should avoid:
- Publishing bad content
- Link farming
- Content cloaking
- Keyword stuffing
- Meta keyword stuffing
Your Key Takeaway
In the end, Black Hat SEO strategies can be very tempting, especially if you’re looking for simplicity and fast results, but it’s literally too good to be true. Though you may see short-term results from Bad SEO strategies, they won’t last very long and you may actually suffer long-term penalties and consequences that will do more harm than any short-lived benefits you may have seen. It’s important to educate yourself about Black Hat SEO strategies so that you know how to spot and avoid them.
White Hat SEO strategies take time, effort, and sometimes money, but their results are real, significant and long-lasting. Investing in a 100% manual, Good SEO strategy is the only way you’ll achieve long-term SEO success without ever worrying about algorithm updates foiling your results. Following Good SEO methods will see your business growing consistently over time with solid results.
It’s certainly possible for business owners to learn how to perform White Hat SEO strategies themselves. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you’ll soon be reaping the benefits of Good SEO. Marketing Your Brand’s upcoming workshop, How To Get Found On Google, is the perfect place to learn.
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