White Hat SEO: The Definition, Importance and Tactics!

In the brave new world of content marketing and post Panda, Hummingbird and Penguin algorithm updates, white hat SEO is really the only way to go if you want your site to come out on top in the SERPs. As seasoned SEO specialists, we are all too familiar with the dark art of unethical digital strategies such as keyword stuffing, spam content and bought links. They are dangerous and should be avoided at all costs!

In the evolving world of search engine optimisation, things don’t tend to stay best practice for long before Google swoops in with the latest curiously-named update…  we think a ‘Yeti’ update should be next! The difference between white and black hat SEO is quite substantial and could make or break the success of your online presence; get it right, and you’ll be sitting pretty on page one… get it wrong, and well, let’s just say you don’t want to go there.

What is White Hat SEO?

In simple terms, it’s the techniques used to ensure that your website performs well in SERPs without resorting to what people now consider to be cheating. The darker tactics used to effectively cheat your way to the top spot on Google (which in theory sounds pretty good) will now land you in a lot of trouble. These crafty tactics are known as black hat SEO and involve a number of spamming techniques, keyword stuffing and unnatural linking.

White hat SEO on the other hand, uses organic techniques and demands quality across all online platforms to ensure your website is found in search. Google will prioritise a website based on the following ranking factors:

– Meta information
– Content Marketing
– Technical SEO
– Site performance
– URLs

Keyword clear up… crucial or critical?  

We need to set the record straight before going any further with this post. Keywords are still incredibly important in SEO but should be used correctly. How does Google crawl your site? Keywords. What do people use to find your site? Keywords! Many SEO professionals don’t use keywords in fear of upsetting Google. We’ve seen the articles that are barely legible because every other word is a keyword. Good SEO practice is to focus on quality content that is natural and relevant to your audience.

These days it’s better to use keywords in natural formation in blog and news articles as well as in meta titles and descriptions. Don’t stuff them in every chance you get, but do make room for them if your content lends itself to a mention of ‘SEO Keyword Techniques’ for example. This is relevant to this article and provides clear instruction for both readers and SERPs.

The king of SEO: Content Marketing

You’ve all heard the saying “Content is King.” Well, this is no longer true… content is everything! If you take one thing from this article it should be the following:

– Publish original content that is not duplicated elsewhere
– Ensure content is of the highest standard and relevant to your industry sector
– Make use of internal linking to strengthen the overall structure and navigation of your site

Let’s talk Link Building…

Guest posts is still a valid white hat SEO technique but should be approached with care. You should contact websites that have some relevance to your own including a similar domain authority. If you suddenly start buying links from high authority sites, then Google will penalise your website. You should build up your backlink profile naturally and over time; nothing in SEO ever happens overnight!

We have just touched upon some of the essential white hat techniques used to improve your search engine rankings. The most important thing to remember is that content should be exceptional and remain the key driver of traffic to your website.

Got questions about SEO? Or want expert advice from a team of professional digital marketers? Get in touch with our specialists here.