Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important part of creating a successful website and driving traffic to your domain. When developing a strong SEO strategy, it’s important to understand different tactics such as whitehat SEO, greyhat SEO and blackhat SEO and the impact and consequences each can have on your site’s performance.
If you’re like many businesses online, you’ll want to stick to Google’s guidelines of acceptable ways to optimize your site for search engines. In other words, you’d want to adhere to whitehat seo tactics and avoid detrimental blackhat strategies.
You might be wondering, what is whitehat seo and why is it important? What are the differences between whitehat and blackhat seo and what strategies can you use to ensure you’re sticking to Google’s rules?
Together, we’ll explore what whitehat seo, blackhat seo and greyhat seo are all about and discuss the differences between each strategy. We’ll also take a look at why it’s important to stick to whitehat tactics and what whitehat seo strategies you can use to attract quality traffic to your website.
What is Whitehat SEO?
Search engine optimization is focused on improving a website’s rank in organic search returns. Whitehat SEO focuses on tactics and strategies that follow Google’s (and other search engines’) rules and regulations for improving a website’s standing in search results.
Whitehat SEO focuses on developing a high-quality website and content that is created and optimized for users, not just search engines.
The Differences Between Greyhat SEO and Blackhat SEO
As the complete opposite of whitehat SEO, blackhat SEO is a strategy where optimization tactics do not always follow Google’s (and other search engines’) guidelines.
Blackhat SEO strategies may include tactics that are unethical – for example, page swapping and redirecting pages.
Regardless of the ethics, blackhat SEO is still used by some businesses and can be effective in improving rankings. Taking advantage of loopholes in the rules and algorithms of search engines and focusing on developing a website and content with a focus on higher ranking is common in blackhat SEO strategies.
While blackhat seo may work to improve rankings in some cases, it is a very risky strategy.
Greyhat SEO, on the other hand, is just that – a grey area. Greyhat refers to a SEO strategy that doesn’t entirely adhere to search engine guidelines but also is not as unethical as blackhat practices.
Clickbait, for example, falls under greyhat seo. Clickbait is developed and used by marketers to encourage viewers to click through to a site of their choosing through snappy headlines and low-quality content.
While this strategy is not against the rules in Google’s eyes, purposefully enhancing content to get clicks it is a sneaky and insincere way of drawing traffic to a website.
Why is Whitehat SEO important?
Sticking to Google’s guidelines when working to improve your search rankings is suggested for several reasons.
1. Google’s EAT guidelines
Google’s EAT guidelines stands for
- Expertise – the content was created by someone who is an expert on the topic
- Authoritativeness – the source of the content is an authority in their field, while the content and the site on which it is published is of the highest quality
- Trustworthiness – the creator, content and website are trustworthy sources of information.
This acronym refers to factors that contribute to a page’s quality and how Google ranks your site. If you want your site to rank well, it is important that you demonstrate these qualities in your content and website.
It’s important to adhere to these whitehat SEO guidelines in order to demonstrate these factors. Blackhat tactics can negatively impact all of these ranking factors and can cause your site to be penalized.
2. Search engine penalties
Following Google’s guidelines when trying to improve search rankings is important in order to avoid being penalized. Blackhat SEO tactics are risky because if Google or other search engines find that you are breaking their rules they have the ability to remove your from showing up in search results,
Sticking to whitehat SEO tactics will ensure you are not penalized.
3. Customer relationship
Engaging in whitehat SEO builds a strong and trust-worthy reputation with your customers and potential clients. Trust and reputation go a long way to building a successful and sustainable business, especially considering the many options available to consumers today.
A SEO strategy that follows whitehat SEO guidelines results in an effective and sustainable website, quality traffic and great client-customer rapport.
5 Whitehat SEO Strategies for Quality Traffic
Ready to get started with some whitehat seo? Here are 5 strategies that adhere to Google’s guidelines that you can use to help your website rank better.
1. Create valuable, entertaining, share-worthy content
By focusing on creating great content that people want to read and share, you can ensure traffic to your site and eventually a strong ranking in the search results.
2. Focus on your readers, not search engines
The UX design of a website, or user experience, is very important to Google.
By providing users with a good experience, you can promote return visitors and more traffic. Algorithms continue to get better at identifying sites with great UX design.
The best way to ensure a good user experience is to test different versions of your webpage with your audience and to continue to ask your viewers for their input, adjusting accordingly.
3. Make sure your website and content are mobile friendly
Google has increasingly focused on the importance of mobile-friendly sites and optimization for mobile platforms such as cellphones and tablets.
In fact, if your website is not easily accessed and used on a mobile device it’s possible that Google may “demote” your site to a lower spot on its rankings.For details on how your site is doing when it comes to mobile optimization, you can check out Google’s Mobile Usability Report in your Search Console account.
4. Conduct keyword research
Discovering popular keywords that users search for to guide your content creation is a great way to improve search rankings.
By creating content that uses these valuable keywords you can ensure that you are providing material that is sought after by your audience and generate more traffic.
Search algorithms have come a long way and are even equipped with the ability to understand natural language usage. Content can be created that focuses on related topics and secondary keywords.
Unsure where to start? Read our complete beginner’s guide to keyword research!
5. Build links
Link building is currently very important to a successful seo campaign. However, you must ensure that the right links are built – these include earned links from sites that are relevant to your content.
The best way to go about getting authentic and natural links is by creating quality content that is trustworthy, educational and entertaining.
Key Takeaways On Whitehat SEO
Knowing the techniques that make your SEO strategy whitehat, greyhat or blackhat is important in order to increase your website’s ranking.
By adhering to Google’s whitehat SEO rules and regulations, you can ensure your ranking improvements will be sustainable and long-lived.
Sticking with whitehat SEO will prevent you from sustaining any penalties from Google (and other search engines) and help you build trust with your audience.
Blackhat SEO, or SEO tactics that do not adhere to Google’s rules and regulations is an option and can be hugely successful. However, this form of SEO is most often frowned upon due to the risky and slightly unethical nature of its tactics.
When employing greyhat tactics, or tactics that fall outside of whitehat SEO but are not quite within the realm of blackhat SEO, it’s important to keep in mind Google’s regulations to ensure you don’t go too outside of the box in order to avoid penalties.
Common whitehat tactics include:
- Creating valuable, entertaining, share-worthy content
- Focusing on your readers, not search engines
- Making sure your website and your content are mobile friendly
- Conducting keyword research
- Building links