When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), the landscape of Google and other prominent search engines has been in a state of constant change over the last few years. As Google moves closer towards its goal of a secure web, it’s following an agenda to implement specific changes. That means when it comes to applying SEO tactics and techniques, it’s very important to not only keep up with all of the changes but also to understand and properly implement them.
What is SEO?
SEO is a set of tactics and techniques used to help a website achieve a higher ranking in the search engines, increasing its visibility and widening its audience. With an understanding of how the search engines determine what is relevant for user searches, the site’s content can be tailored in a way that will help boost their position in search results. Using SEO techniques effectively requires time, effort, and the ability to be a perpetual student.
What is White Hat SEO?
While there are many techniques that can be used to help boost the rank of a website in the search engines, it’s important to know what you specifically can do within their rules.
White Hat SEO simply means the SEO tactics and techniques used are allowable within the rules of the search engine. White Hat SEO appropriately targets the human search engine users and attempts to appeal to them. This type of SEO might use techniques like keywords, keyword analysis, monitoring meta tags for changing relevancy, backlinking strategies, and more.
Black Hat SEO tactics break the rules in an effort to “trick” the search engines, often with little regard to the human audience. The penalties for the use of such tactics can be severe, including being banned on a given search engine or being removed from the search engine’s index.
White Hat SEO Strategies That Work
Understanding and using White Hat SEO techniques is important. Google alone is utilized by millions of people each day. Every visit is a new chance that a new user will find your website.
In harnessing the power of White Hat SEO, you increase your website’s visibility and audience, boost your conversions, and have an edge over your competition using proven techniques.
If you were to begin a diet plan to lose weight, there is certain information you’d need to know at the beginning, and as you go along, to see if your efforts are working or not. Here you’d need a way to keep track of your weight at any given time, what your daily calorie intake was, and where those calories came from.
Measuring results for SEO marketing efforts work the same. You’d want to know and track items like
- Average page loading times
- Backlinks and referring domains
- Bounce rate
- Click through rate
- Conversion rate
- Keyword ranking results
- Organic traffic
- Pages per session
- Top exit pages
There are many tools you can use to obtain and monitor these metrics. They offer a variety of useful reports that let you know which of your SEO marketing efforts are proving successful and which aren’t to your website’s benefit.
Keywords are still an important factor when it comes to ranking in the search engines. While Google itself doesn’t provide much information about keywords, there are some great tools, like DevLab Creative, that can be of tremendous help. These tools can help you find keywords. How you use the keywords you identify is another matter.
Google confirmed the use the of the RankBrain algorithm in late 2016. It changed how SEO was done as now indexed data is put into context instead of metadata strings, prompted in no small part by the rise of voice search on mobile devices. Smart use of keywords in dynamic content that includes contextually relevant phrases is a great way to boost your website in search engine results.
Fresh Relevant Content
You may hear or read often of how important quality content is to SEO. What many don’t realize is that it’s not a one and done sort of element in this process. Your website needs new, relevant, quality content on an ongoing basis, not only for SEO marketing but to build an audience as well. New content not only invites the search engines to come and check it out, but it draws your audience too. You get bonus points for wisely incorporating keywords and keyword phrases into your content.
While you may not normally think of reviews as part of your SEO, they play a large part in local searches. It is important to not only have reviews, but to have positive reviews from your customers. Customers reviews are one of the biggest influencers for potential customers.
Because of this, you may be tempted to buy reviews, but this is a bad idea. Sites like Yelp will place a warning on your site if you they catch you and Google will remove these reviews. If you find that you are getting negative reviews, you can put a more positive spin on them by responding to the review and trying to resolve the problem.
Backlinks are links to your website from other websites. The search engines take these to mean a site is popular. It should also be noted that the search engines give more weight or authority to a link from an older, relevant, highly-ranked website than it would to a brand new unrelated website with little to no clout. Backlinks are one of the most important SEO factors you can obtain and must be earned.
There are advanced backlink strategies that work, from guest posting at related sites; finding popular, highly-ranked articles on a given subject and writing a better one; to creating resource centers on a given website for your area of expertise. Smart use of keywords also comes in handy here. You could have the most wonderful content on a given subject that many would be pleased to link to, but if they can’t find it, they can’t link to it.
Not too long ago, having a mobile-friendly website or a mobile version of a website was nice to have, and Google offered an incentive boost to sites who had such. In one of their latest algorithm changes, Google will no longer be rewarding sites that are mobile-friendly. Google will begin penalizing sites that aren’t optimized for mobile and the impact on the SEO efforts of those without could be disastrous.
Having a website that is mobile-friendly, responsive so it looks and functions well across all devices, is no longer nice to have. It’s the norm, and it’s expected. Ensuring your site is optimized for mobile often gives the additional benefit of faster loading times. Speed not only drops your bounce rate and increases your conversions, but it is also a crucial factor in search engine rankings. The faster your site, the higher it will rank.
If you wish to build your brand or company on the internet, the smart use of White Hat SEO is one great way to meet that goal. Remember that this form of SEO is tailored for the human audience you wish to draw. Do the same with all of your content and marketing efforts online, and you won’t be disappointed.