For any type and size of business, particularly start-ups and small businesses, it is never advised or recommended to resort to black hat SEO to achieve the targeted site ranking. Truth be told, search engines have been tricked too many times by black hat SEO tactics and despite some efforts geared towards curbing the practice, some webmasters still got away with it. Google spent years in warning site owners about the penalties that go with black hat tactics and recently stepped up their enforcement policies through Panda and Penguin.
Black hat, white hat SEO – they sound the same except for the color overtones. There shouldn’t have been any black hats if everyone wore the white hat, right? Well, in search engine optimization, the colors actually matter. And since Google is stepping up its campaign against black hat tactics, it’s time to be SEO educated and understand how these colored tactics differ.
Black Hat SEO tactics
Keyword stuffing, hidden text, cloaking, doorway pages, redirects – all of these are the tactics used by some SEO to trick the search engines into putting a site or a page high in the ranking through dishonest means.
A webpage with too many keyword phrases inserted into the content is one way to trick the search engine into thinking those words were relevant. These are usually found at the bottom page in very small font size. This is keyword stuffing.
Similarly, using same text color as the background is spammy. It’s like hiding the text from full view because the background color shares the same color and as the methodology employed says it all, this is hidden text tactic.
Cloaking is a technique of presenting a page for a search engine to index while giving an entirely different page to all the users. It’s like a hidden text, only this involves the whole page or content.
Some webmasters use software to automatically generate doorway pages – these are pages added to your site as a passageway for users to land in the pages, even with very little value that doorway pages give to the users. Redirects complement doorway pages and they are applied to move a user to a page with actual content like the homepage of your website
White Hat SEO tactics
These tactics maintain the integrity and authenticity of your website. These are practices normally used by reputable SEO companies or individuals.
Internal linking, reciprocal linking to relevant websites, quality content creation, site optimization – these are all common techniques used to get your website detected by search engines based on their relevant content.
Adding text links or sitemap to your website’s internal pages to link to all the pages of the site will allow search engine spiders to crawl into your site for proper indexing. Building reciprocal links with other webmasters is a legitimate and allowed practice. Reciprocal linking should be done with sites relevant to yours. Your site content should be of valuable information for the users and not just a block of keyword phrases which make no sense to the user. Good quality content can more than get your site ranked well by search engines.
Optimizing your site through good quality content, use of appropriate wording, site structure is the right way of getting the site ranked properly by search engines. In fact, these are the acceptable practices in search engine optimization, not the tricky methods which will get you overnight results but when detected or reported, your site will be banned and will never see the search engine result page ever again. A piece of advice – don’t take any shortcuts in making your site optimized for search engines. Take the legitimate and designated roadway to search engine ranking. It’s the white hat that you should be wearing.