In a few words, SEO is Optimistion of your website to tell Search Engines such as Google and Bing what it is all about, thereby ensuring that your website appears high in the search results (page 1 at least, ideally number 1 on page 1), for any relevant searches connected with your website’s offering.
White Hat SEO
‘Good’ SEO, also known as ‘White Hat SEO‘, focuses on making the website the best and most helpful website for relevant search terms, and Google will quickly reward such websites with high rankings, normally within a few weeks, although it may take several months until the improvements to the website pull it to the highest ranking position.
Google now uses ‘machine learning’ to assess how relevant and helpful and engaging a website is, by observing the behavior of visitors to the website, so over time, if your website is excellent, they will steadily improve your rankings accordingly until you’re ranked high alongside similarly good websites.
Black Hat SEO
‘Bad’ SEO, often referred to as ‘Black Hat SEO‘, is where artificial methods are used to try and ‘trick’ Google into ranking a website that is not particularly good or helpful or engaging. Black Hat SEO is now increasingly uncommon thanks to Google becoming so smart and punishing the techniques that used to work; so even if rankings improve in the short term, the website may then suddenly drop from page 1 to page 10, or even be ‘blacklisted’ and removed from the search results altogether!
White Hat SEO by contrast, works in sympathy with Google’s idea of best practice, and results obtained, whilst sometimes slightly slower, are ‘evergreen’ or long-lasting – your ranking position will stay high until your competitors improve their websites yet further and get ahead of you again.
Being ‘number one on google’ for relevant search terms has massive commercial benefits, due to the fact that you will then on average receive around 30% of all clicks from people searching for that term. This has led companies to try and ‘manipulate’ the search results, getting Google to display a less relevant websites ahead of truly helpful websites.
However, Google are finding ways to make search results continually more and more relevant, they have large teams of highly intelligent people working on their ‘relevance’ mission every single day! So increasingly, the only way to maintain your commercial advantage from high search rankings it so make your website genuinely helpful and engaging.
Link building is still a relevant SEO technique, even though it has been badly abused in the past and is therefore often thought of as a Black Hat practice.
The key thing with link building for White Hat SEO experts, is to ensure that they come from truly relevant web pages. And to obtain a link from a truly relevant web-page you usually have to have some unique, engaging, and highly relevant content to link to.
‘Buying Links’ from spammy directories etc. is a Black Hat technique that used to work but will now quickly lead to a Google penalty and drop in rank or even de-listing.
Good content is a Key Cornerstone of a long-lasting evergreen SEO strategy. An added ‘side-effect’ is that good content will also ‘convert‘ – that is: visitors to your website will take further desired action instead of leaving quickly.
Google is on the lookout for new and unique content, it is important that you don’t copy other information already on the web, this is bad practice and can quickly lead to a penalty.
Studies have shown that Google’s advanced algorithms now even strive to present a range of content types on the first page of search results – so if the first page is currently dominated by ‘commercial’ search results selling a product or service, then writing helpful content such as ‘how to…’ or ‘what is…’ will often ensure you a top spot alongside 9 of the 10 current occupiers of the first page. Google loves to present a variety of different search results, not clones of the same information.