Digital Marketing

White Hat Versus Black Hat SEO

The world of SEO was truly the Wild West around a decade ago. Tactics that worked at this point in time can cripple a company’s digital presence in today’s world. 

Black hat SEO is comprised of using tactics that violate the Terms of Service that Google or other search engines have put in place. Different people handle this at search engines as there is even a department that helps identify webspam. Matt Cutts was the head of this team for Google and implemented a few updates that decimated some site networks. 

White hat SEO follows the rules that are set out by search engines. The results generated might take a bit longer but these results will be important. A penalty due to using unethical tactics can drive down the leads a business receives from Google searches. 

Black Hat Tactics Have Been Used By Huge Brands

Expedia was a huge brand that incurred a penalty after the tactics they were using were revealed. The brand has paid links along with hidden links on certain websites. The truth is that this could have been done by contractors but the in-house marketing team should have noticed. Huge influxes of backlinks in a small period of time is a red flag to Google as backlinks should occur naturally in their eyes. In the eyes of marketers, backlinks can be generated through quality outreach and the creation of valuable content. 

Tactics that are frequently used by companies that practice black hat SEO are the following:

  • Writing content for the website that is overly stuffed with keywords. Optimizing content is far different than writing just for search engines. An example of this would be a sentence like the following,” Tampa digital marketing companies can help your Tampa business or improve your Tampa website design.” The sentence is not for consumers which it should be and can be clunky to read. A web design agency can be very helpful to its customers especially when it understands SEO. A quality agency would understand that it has been years since keyword stuffing drove any real results. 
  • Posting backlinks or profiles on websites that are not relevant to your business. Google might actually penalize a website for this if they do not disavow these backlinks. Posting ads on these sites is a good way to have a poor ROI and can actually hurt search engine rankings. 
  • Building fake social media followings and trying to game these algorithms is also frowned upon. 
  • Building backlinks on any and every site possible. These could be paid or free. 

Asking an agency that your business is considering hiring about their tactics is essential. The last thing you want is a penalty from Google or the search engine equivalent of the death penalty, having a site deindexed from the search giant. Deindexing will likely erase all organic search traffic as a majority of this traffic comes from Google. 

Agencies that might be using these tactics might try to avoid directly answering this question. Putting something into the contract about not contracting out the work you give them is also important. You don’t want the contractors that an agency uses to potentially impact your website negatively. 

White Hat SEO

Results can be generated via black hat marketing but they might not last for long. White hat SEO is going to be more expensive to implement as this strategy follows the TOS of major search engines. The following are ways that you can implement white hat SEO tactics that are not only ethical but effective:

  • Quality content matters as content that answers frequent questions on a topic can be valuable. Generic content simply is not going to attract readers as people consume more content via their smartphones than ever before. 
  • Submission of your website to relevant directories and websites. 
  • You need to create a Google Business listing for your organization. 
  • Finding relevant sites that will accept a backlink or be willing to sell backlinks (buying backlinks is against Google guidelines so be consult a professional before doing so) can take time and targeted email outreach. Links within the content are very important as they have a higher likelihood of being clicked on rather than a random link in the footer of a site. 

You are going to want your marketing spend to create results that will stick around. With these tactics, your company’s website will not risk being penalized. 

Creating a digital marketing strategy to improve the SEO of your company website is imperative. Consistency drives results rather than trying to revamp the marketing plan month after month. Base your marketing strategy on data that you have gathered from previous campaigns. 

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