“SEO is a ship that can sail your content across the world” – Your Highness “Aditya”
SEO is abbreviated as Search Engine Optimization. It is an acronym with three alphabets but it is one of the most powerful weapons in the world of internet. If you are a blogger, content writer or anyone related to the content world, then SEO is the most crucial thing for you because it leads to the first page of search engines and results in a lot of traffic to the website.
You must have heard that “Every coin has two faces”. SEO is also the same coin that has two faces. There are two ways to get your website and content ranked higher on search engines. One is White Hat SEO(the ethical way) and the other is Black Hat SEO(exploiting the weaknesses in search engine algorithm).
You must be wondering what’s the difference between them? Although both of them will get you the desired result, the White Hat SEO will require a lot of hard work whereas Black Hat SEO does it easily for you. But one can carry penalties from search engines that can really set you back in terms of rank and traffic—despite their instant gratification-style results. And while SEO is continually changing and methods are evolving to keep up with new algorithms, knowing the difference between these two approaches to SEO can keep you from falling into a trap and seeing your SEO efforts quickly backfire. Without further ado, let’s dive deep into the world of these SEOs.
Also, I have a bonus content in the end for my readers. So don’t forget to read it till the end.
White Hat SEO(Following the Rules like a Good Kid)
White Hat SEO is basically doing things in accordance with guidelines from the search engines. It can be difficult to know where to start with search engine optimization, as most experts have an opinion on what works, and what doesn’t work. But I can make it easy for you. Let me list a few guidelines and you can make a checklist and tick them off one by one. They might take time but the results are quite fruitful in the long run.
Quality of Content
“Content is the King”, Gary Vaynerchuk has been repeating this sentence since ever. And believe it or not, the relevance of this sentence is a lot.
If you are working hard and striving to deliver content that brings value to your reader then they will respond positively to your content and that will improve your ranking. Think it this way, if people don’t want to read and share your content then why will search engine take the pain of ranking your website higher?
In Google’s ideal world, you will create content that is absolutely amazing, it adheres to all of Google’s Guidelines, and people read it and share it like mad. This is the gist of white hat SEO. People forget that they’re writing for their readers and not for pleasing search engines. Don’t write solely for ranking, write it in a language that is understood not only by web crawlers but also by humans.
If your content is hard to read (let’s say your user is on a cell phone and your content isn’t formatted for mobile use) or takes forever to load, this doesn’t create a good user experience. It lowers quality. And it will lower your chances of ranking high in the search engines.
What you see vs what Google(or any search engine in general) sees is very different. Normal users don’t see the code but Google has to see your code in order to rank your website. Google must be able to index your site in order to rank your website. It is a very good idea to use the Google Search Console to upload your sitemap and to see if they are having any issues crawling your site.
You want to make sure that your site is indexable (you can use your robot.txt to tell Google what pages you want it to crawl and which ones you don’t), Google can crawl your site properly, and you have a proper sitemap with all your important pages.
Take your time, clear off the dead pages from your website and then upload the sitemap. Clearing off the dead pages and broken links will help you to make your website clear of clutters.
Build Quality Inbound Links
An inbound link (also referred to as a backlink) is a hyperlink on a third-party web page that points to a web page on your site. But it needs to be placed on a relevant website in order to be called “Quality Inbound Link”.
Take this example into consideration, I have a website related to Educational content but I get inbound links from websites that fall into the category of child healthcare. Even if someone opens that website in sleep, they’ll never click and visit the educational website.
Collaborate with people of your niche and contribute to their work. Help them in their content and that’s how you can get inbound links in return. This is a two-way thing and that’s how you can get more inbound links.
In order to get high-quality inbound links, your links must be placed on a highly ranked website. This can happen in only one way- by producing high-quality content.
Write such valuable content that big brands are forced to feature you on their pages.
Organize Site Effectively
User experience plays a big role in the ranking of your website. User experience comes from a good site organisation. You need to organise your website properly in the way that proper things are placed at the proper place.
For example, the navigation menu needs to be at the top, the address of the office needs to be at the bottom, scroller needs to be on the right side, etc. How will it look if you open a website and at the top, you see the office address of organisation? It will look absolutely ugly.
Get your website developed in such a way that it functions properly in both mobile and desktop. Because a large user base has shifted to mobile, your website needs to be mobile-friendly.
Good internal linking on your website is also something you should keep in mind. Important pages should be found in the menu and link from one page to another. This can go back to user experience (it is so annoying when you can’t navigate a site properly!), but it also helps Google understand which pages are important and which aren’t. This plays a crucial role in your White Hat SEO.
Black Hat SEO(Bad Boy’s Approach)
“Bend the rules only if you have learned them; break the rules only if you have mastered them.”
But when it comes to SEO, you can’t bend or break the rules even if you know everything about them. That is because search engines often come up with frequent updates that fix the weaknesses of the older version of crawler and that will get you caught by the algorithm of search engine.
Black hat SEO is about breaking all the rules. And sure, it might work at first, depending on what method you are using, but it is more of a short-term strategy. Search engines have a pretty clear guideline of what you should not do.
I will be listing a few techniques that are considered Black Hat SEO. Although a lot of them work really less but newbies get stuck with them and suffer a lot.
This is one thing that I saw on a lot of websites when I started blogging. A lot of articles will suggest you put a lot of target keywords in your article in order to rank them higher but Google doesn’t look at your article that way. The crawler checks if the article is actually relevant for the audience or not.
Normally, an article should constitute around 2-3% of the target keyword, but when you want to rank your website you may put in around 10-20% of the target keyword in your article. It seems easy and it does work sometimes but it hinders the growth in the long run.
Remember this, “Feeding your baby too much might cause him Diarrhoea”
As I told earlier, “Content is the King”, but what if you write quality content and someone else copies it bluntly and puts it on their website or maybe vice versa. Someone invented Ctrl+C & Ctrl+V, it is really easy to copy and paste someone else’s hard work but search engines keep track of the original creator of the content. That’s how they rank your content, the search engine might be duped for a while with the duplicate content but as they say in school, “Plagiarism is bad”, this is why it is so important to get unique content!
Re-Spinning an article is like Copying Homework from a friend and change it a bit. This is similar to stealing article but just change the words to synonyms making most of the new content unique. People would use automatic programs to change words in an article (spinning) to create unique content, but the content didn’t read very well and it is not at all unique.
Re-spinning articles worked earlier because search engines ranked the website higher when a lot of new content used to be generated on it. It would have similar keywords, similar meaning and it didn’t even matter to search engines in those time. But now they are too smart to be duped. So better create original content.
There are certain words that can help you rank fast on the search engines. So people add those words on their website and keep the colour of their font similar to the background colour to match them which makes it invisible to normal readers. But don’t think you are tricking Google by making the text of certain words match the background of the website. In the distant past, this worked. People couldn’t see the ugly, clunky text, but Google could and would rank these sites. But Google quickly caught on.
This text is written just to check if you have really read the above paragraph. If you really know that this text exists here than comment down with a “🔥” emoji.
Cloaking is a term used when there are different HTML pages visible to a visitor and search engine. Cloaking takes a user to other sites that he or she expects by disguising those sites’ true content. During cloaking, the search engine spider and the browser are presented with different content for the same Web page. HTTP header information or IP addresses assist in sending the wrong Web pages. Searchers will then access websites that contain information they simply were not seeking, including pornographic sites. Website directories also offer up their share of cloaking techniques.
In cloaking, the search engine and the user are literally not on the same page. Therefore, both the user and the search engine are being deceived.
Gateway Page Redirection
Gateway page redirection is a filthy technique that leads the user to some undesired website after he clicks on your hyperlink. People create a certain page on their website with keywords that get them listed higher on search engines. Then they program the page in such a way that it automatically leads the user to a website that is completely unrelated to the user’s search term.
Selling And Farming Links
Selling and farming links are popular black hat SEO techniques. Because many search engines look at links to determine a Web page’s relevancy, some webmasters buy links from other sites to boost a page’s rank.
A link farm is a collection of Web pages that all interlink with one another in order to increase each page’s rank. Small link farms seem pretty harmless, but some link farms include hundreds of Web sites, each with a Web page dedicated just to listing links to every other site in the farm.
When search engines detect a link selling scheme or link farm, they flag every site involved. Sometimes the search engine will simply demote every page’s rank. In other cases, it might ban all the sites from its indexes.
Now, this is not exactly a Black hat SEO technique but it is more of an immoral practice. It is basically you buying bad links for your competitors so that their website gets low-ranked. That will surely hurt their ranking but you are wasting your own money and time in that as well.
At first, Google started punishing people with a bad backlink profile. And then some mean people thought “Oh, I’ll just buy crappy links for my competitor’s to hurt them”. Now Google usually ignores bad links, and even if they don’t, people can disavow a link they think is hurting their rankings. Did I mention that negative SEO is just mean? Don’t be mean!
These are the most common black hat techniques. While some of these worked in the past, and some may still work today if you know what you are doing, I really don’t recommend doing it.
To create an SEO plan that leads to real results, you can’t focus on just one group of ranking factors. You need to use different types of SEO in conjunction with each other to give your site the best chance at showing up in search.
Cheating the system might result in a temporary increase in visitors, but since people normally don’t like to be fooled, the benefits are questionable at best. Who wants to return to a site that isn’t what it claims to be? Plus, most search engines penalize Web pages that use black hat techniques, which means the webmaster trades a short success for long-term failure.
There is no “get rich quick” scheme when it comes to SEO. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is (and it is probably a black hat technique!)
Instead, focus on creating value for your readers, providing good content, making sure your on-page SEO is optimal and building online relationships. 99% of white hat SEO techniques come from simply doing these things.
So as a loyal reader, you deserve the bonus content. I know this has become hectic and this article is way too long but believe it or not, “In order to find the precious pearl, you need to be a deep and expert diver”. That’s why you need to collect this last pearl.
Grey Hat SEO(Sweet & Salty)
Grey Hat SEO is like the middle ground between White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO. It is neither in the White Hat Zone nor in the Black Hat Zone. It is riskier than White Hat SEO but it won’t lead to the banning of your website by search engines. Grey Hat SEO is quite difficult to explain but still, I have dug deep into the web and found out the following techniques that are considered Grey Hat SEO.
Three Way Link Exchange
Reciprocal Links were one of the best ways of link building earlier until Google devalued it. Although that is not completely devalued yet they are not worth investing a lot of time. That’s why people found out the new way of it called Three Way Link Exchange.
Take this example to understand it completely. Site X links to Site Y and Site Y links to Site Z which eventually links to Site X building a three-way link. This boosts up website ranking because there is no mention of three-way link exchange in guidelines.
Buying Old Domains
There are old domains in the world of internet that have a good domain authority but they are not functioning presently. People want to benefit from those old website’s authority to enhance their present website’s ranking. That’s why they buy those domains and link them up with their present website. It does enhance the ranking but it will or might cost you lots of money.
Buying Expired Domains
Spammers who intend to grow their website by spamming links here and there keep looking for domains that are going to expire soon. They buy that domain as soon as they expire and replace the original page with their own links. But this technique doesn’t work these days as search engines reset the data once the domain expires.
Google bombing is the practice of enhancing any website’s SEO profile by repeatedly inputting the keyword associated with the destination. With enough mass participation, Google bombing can bump the desired content to a higher page ranking in search results. This somewhat subversive practice can be employed for a variety of purposes: to drive traffic to a business, share political ideology, or even just for the lulz.
You can also check out this Infographic by Cognitive SEO to completely understand the concept of various SEOs in Graphical manner.
Believe it or not, using these tricks in your work will lead to the exponential growth of your website. Keep hustling, keep pressing that Publish button, keep visiting Laughter Mania and don’t forget to share this with someone in need.