It’s amazing how few people there are today who actually know exactly how search engines really work. Far be it for us to profess knowing these tightly guarded secrets either. But we do know one thing; search engines are smart, and they’re always getting better at knowing who is following the rules, and who isn’t. If you’ve employed service providers for SEO work on your website, and you’ve read this article, you may want to call them up and ask them exactly what they’re doing or you.
Our friends at 74by2 explain the difference between black hat and white hat, and give us some great commentary on what to look out for.
First things first, here’s a little gift from them. Read this if you want to know exactly what Google thinks about SEO and how it should be done; for the most part: READ BY CLICKING HERE
Search engines like Google have algorithms that are used to rank pages depending on the quality of SEO on a website and that site’s influence on visitors. However, some people like to try to fool them by trying what is known as Black Hat SEO tactics. One thing that’s true of all search engines is, if you’re using black hat, you’re going to get outranked, and possibly even banned!
But the Google’s of the world know what’s going on and frequently change their algorithms to adapt to the ever increasing need for companies to out rank others. Who said it was a measuring contest? For example, recent Google algorithm updates include Google Panda and Google Penguin.
“There are many ways search engines rank websites. Some of these are either by analyzing backlinks (links coming out of other websites to yours), great relevant content that is as close to or exactly matching what people search for, and bounce rates which shows how many visitors come to your site and whether they stay or they bounce right out because it wasn’t what they were looking for. Sites who score poorly on these categories tend not to rank very high”, says Elin Kilicarslan, Co-Founder of 74by2. How’s your SEO going and is your website findable?
Below is a list we compiled from our conversation with 74by2 on some of the main differences between Black Hat and White Hat SEO tactics. Some of this is going to sound like cyber-jargon but if you know what you’re supposed to be aware of, then who cares what it’s called.
Black Hat – the bad guys
- Keyword Stuffing: Too much repetition of keywords to the extent that they read like gibberish.
- Unrelated Keywords: Adding keywords that are irrelevant to your market niche for extra page hits.
- Hidden Text, Tiny Text and Hidden Links: Use of white text against a white background so that readers cannot see them but the text bots can crawl them or images that are not visually detectable as links.
- Cloaking: Presenting search engines with different content than from what readers are presented with.
- Gateway Pages or Doorway Pages: Haphazardly stuffing a page with keyword phrases with the objective of obtaining high rank and then automatically redirecting visitors to a different page.
- Page Swapping or Bait-and-Switch: This is getting a site indexed and ranked and then immediately changing the site entirely.
- Mirror Sites or Duplicate Content: Having a similar site in another location or copying a significant amount of content form other websites; will result s duplicate content to the search engine algorithm interpreting it.
- Splogs or Spam Blogs: Blogging using software that generates garbled text with keywords to get visitors to click on ads.
- Spam Pinging: notifying servers of new content numerous times per minute to make it seem like there is new content.
- Referrer Spam: Advertising a website by making repeated requests utilizing fake referrer URL’s to websites publicizing referrer statistics.
- Link Farms: Seeking links from or linking to sites with content that is unrelated to the target market niche.
- Domain or Cyber Squatting: Registering a domain with a word or a trademark with the aim of profiting form it off the association to that name.
- URL Hijacking or Typo-squatting: This is registering a domain that has a misspelled version of popular domain with an attempt to mislead visitors.
- Social Spamming: Targeting demographics on social networking sites like Facebook and messaging people with advertisements.
- Cookie Stuffing or Dropping: Stealthily placing affiliates’ cookies on computers.
When black-hat tactics are detected by the search engine algorithms, the results will be exactly the opposite of what they are meant to achieve. The search engine algorithms will lower the page rank or even ban the site where it is employed. We hate to say we told you so, but we’re telling you now in case you try these.
White Hat – the good guys
“White Hat tactics are really simple to be honest. You just follow the rules of engagement set out by the search engines themselves. You do the right thing, and it’s an easy win for the long-term. When the rules change, you simply modify the strategy to align it with the changes”, says Elin.
So how simple is it, we asked. Elin gave us one answer that probably underlines the true concept of SEO Marketing. She said, “get your audience organically through the internet and you know exactly what to do.” Pull marketing works extremely well when done correctly. No news there right? Here are some things you can do to increase traffic to your site, build relevant content, and raise your site’s profile.
- Get on social networks
- Create Inforgraphics
- Hold webinars and record them for embedding in your site
- Word of Mouth Marketing (you may have to leave your house for this one)
- Create White Papers
- Create Online Videos (check out www.SMEBiz.TV)
- Social Bookmarking
- Email marketing (still big and going strong)
There are so many more activities that SEO providers can be doing instead of trying to fool the search engines. But nothing beats quality content that people can rely on. When visitors come to your site, do they really find what they’re looking for? Can they consume it easily? Do they refer your site to others?
What we’re saying isn’t news. It’s just good news that needs to settle in as the standard operating procedures. Anything else is slowly killing the reputation of good, hardworking, honest businesses that provide real SEO.