The battle of good versus “evil”. Day versus night. Dark versus light. White hat versus black hat seo. I know we may seem a little over dramatic about this topic right now, but the importance of the issue allows it. There has been case studies of big online companies losing all their traffic overnight because the riskiness of dangerous seo tactics. This is why we decided to save you a lot of trouble and let you know some techniques that work and abide by search engine policies.
“In search engine optimization (SEO) terminology, white hat SEO refers to the usage of optimization strategies, techniques and tactics that focus on a human audience opposed to search engines and completely follows search engine rules and policies.”
Google classifies it as “legitimate” search engine optimization techniques to focus on visitors rather than rankings.
Both describe white hat seo as simply doing things organically. Building an audience base through creating great content that is shareable and informational.
So what is the real reason that we prefer white hat techniques? It’s because we love longevity. We’re in it for the long haul as every company should be.
Why should you use only white hat seo techniques for local businesses? Because you want to always be on the good side of organic traffic. Why even put a local company at risk of losing all of their leads online by using unnatural link building techniques? The black hat techniques are here today and gone tomorrow, even though there are some good uses to black hat seo (which we get into at the end of the article). Unlike white hat techniques, black hat seo has been known to give websites a quick boost in rankings followed by a penalty that most sites cannot recover from. Black hat seo (as you may have guessed) is the opposite of white hat seo. Black hat uses automated processes that are not humanlike to build links to a site quickly. Because it is automated, it leaves a pattern that the search engine crawling bots can pick up. You have to be very careful when setting up these processes and update them regularly. That is why if you plan on having a site up for more than a year, it is best to focus on the white hat tactics that follow the guidelines.
The ever changing search engine algorithms are constantly adapting to the web in order to produce the best results for their consumer bases. So, what does this mean for local businesses and why should they stay current with search algorithm updates? Well it means that because people as a whole are (continuously) changing their search habits, the search engines will directly change the standards of what websites should be online. Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines are the deciding factor on which sites appear on the front page(s) of search results. In order for them to provide the best information for the searcher, they need to first collect the information fast and efficiently from the websites. So that would mean your site would need to follow the suggested coding/content of whichever search engine you are trying to please. Google is the search engine we suggest being that it has the most searchers out of all search engines currently. In a nutshell, the standards have changed and many websites that were at the top are no longer in sight.
So, how do you avoid getting penalized and having to start all the way over in the online rat race?
Continuously focus on UX (User Experience)
User Experience is becoming the most important aspect in ranking. Focusing on overall UX will allow visitors to gain more trust with you. You will do better than most of your competitors if you concentrate on making your visitors happy enough to interact with you and come back to your site. For example, Google looks for signs like ‘bounce rate’ and ‘time on site’ to determine how effective the content is on the page. Therefore, page rankings will go up if you have a steady flow of people coming back to your site and staying for a long time.
Mobile is a huge part of online UX. A few big things to concentrate on are:
These have everything to do with a searcher being able to interact and consume content online from their electronic devices. One of the main focuses of the search engines is making sure companies know to have mobile responsive sites (sites made for mobile phones and tablets). In 2017, Google is still focusing on mobile optimization and is making strides to adopt specific coding that makes visiting a site more pleasurable. One of the new coding techniques is known as AMP Pages. This open source initiative aims to make the web better by allowing websites/ads to be created with this specific coding in mind. The search engines have grown fond to this coding, so make sure to receive updates on this particular topic.
As we were saying, white hat seo is definitely the best route for local companies but there is still some room for black hat seo as well. We don’t want to give out too many bad habits but there are programs that automatically build web 2.0s for your company. Imagine shortening the time it takes to create all these profiles with the press of a button. If you have multiple businesses, all you have to do is set up a template and these programs will add all your information to 100+ sites. After you have set up the template, the online property creating can be done without you being present. Another black hat tactic is creating specific citation profiles. Citations are similar to web 2.0’s but they focus mainly on map listings. There are many more ways to cheat the system, but the search engines will catch up to you eventually.
The moral of the story, just create good content your audience can view easily. Make sure to subscribe for more online marketing updates!