Is White Hat SEO Still a Valid Strategy?

If you run a site that promotes a product or service, one of the major goals is to be as visible to your target audience as possible. Websites that aren’t easily found by the target market, end up losing so much in traffic and potential sales. For this reason, search engine optimization has grown as a discipline in online marketing to help websites become visible on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

What is White Hat SEO

In a bid to rocket their client sites to Google’s first page, most SEO experts employ a variety of techniques ranging from ethical to unethical practices. White Hat SEO refers to a collection of search optimization tactics that comply with the best practices as outlined by the major search engines notably Google. The opposite of White Hat SEO is Black Hat SEO practice which as the name suggests, violates search engines terms and conditions of service.

Some of the White Hat SEO practices include:

  • Developing and promoting informative content that adds value to the target market
  • Mobile optimization of websites
  • Boosting website loading speeds
  • Updating meta-tag descriptions to define what’s exactly on a page
  • Enhancing the navigability of websites

Likewise, Black Hat SEO though not recommended, has its set of strategies as well, mostly aimed as bypassing and tricking search engines to rank sites higher than they realistically should. Practices here include:

  • Link purchases instead of building backlinks naturally
  • Website cloaking
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Sneaky redirects

Are White Hat SEO Techniques Important?

Google is the master search engine with so much influence and success potential for site owners. With billions of people visiting websites through Google each day, every visit carries immense potential for websites to be discovered by a new user.

Therefore, failure to observe Google’s best practices may lead to your site being banned not just by the biggest search engine, but also by the rest of them all. This means lost sales and jeopardized chances of your site to ever be found by your target users again.

The worst of it all is that once banned from Google, chances of being re-listed are very minimal if at all existent. Think about all the content you have written and all the other work and moneys you have put into your site, a ban can mean more than a death sentence for your website.

The best place to learn about White Hat SEO practices as approved by Google is the Webmaster Guidelines. Here, you will find General Guidelines, Specific Guidelines, Quality Guidelines and Basic Principles to help your site rank high on search engine result pages.

How to Implement White Hat SEO Techniques

Having gone through the magnitude of risk Black Hat SEO imposes on your website investment, it helps to now turn your focus onto what it takes to implement a sound White Hat SEO strategy. Below are some tips to start you off.

Strategic Keyword Targeting

In keyword research, the goal is to come up with keywords that your customers search for daily. There are simple techniques you can use to get quality keywords:

  • Use Google Suggest for longtail keyword ideas
  • Check out the keywords your competitor is using
  • Take note of the phrases your audience uses in online communities like Quora
  • Use Google Search Console and sort out your keywords by impressions

Leverage Quality Content

When it comes to search engine optimization, content is king. Being consistent in content generation and publishing can give you an edge over your competition. Below are some tactics to implement.

  • Publish long, detailed content instead of short, thin listicles
  • Ensure your content is primarily user-targeted and not manipulated for search engines
  • Capitalize on user experience and readability of your content

 

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO is not just about meta tags, there are lots of avenues you can use this strategy to boost your White Hat approach some of which are listed below.

  • Make your URLs descriptive enough for Google to know what your content is all about
  • Structure your internal linking to improve site navigability, smooth crawling by Google bots and general understandability by Google.
  • Optimize your images using Alt tags
  • Use keywords naturally instead of stuffing them

Link Building

This is another super White Hat SEO technique that has of late come under heavy criticism due to its misuse by low quality link builders. Th at being said, link building still works, and the following practices can easily catapult your site to top position.

  • Skycrapers techniques- Here you look for content related sites that ranks first on Google and get ideas on what the content is addressing and write similar posts.
  • Broken Link Building- Use a tool to scan a target site that you want to link to for broken links and let the site owner know about the affected links and then offer your content for linking as replacement for the broken links.
  • Publish industry studies and scientifically generated research work. This may get you lots of backlinks.
  • You can also build on guest positing on quality sites in exchange for link juice.

In addition to the above techniques, you can hire SEO experts to help you in technical SEO work. This involves tasks such as site evaluation, fixing of errors, developing of site maps, site architecture and other complex actions. Whatever you do, ensure you stick on the White Hat lane lest it cost you the entire investment you’ve made in your website.