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What is White Hat SEO?

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Last Updated on May 25, 2023

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential part of any digital marketing strategy. SEO content is an important tool in helping your website rank higher on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. However, as many online platforms and search engines power the digital landscape, they of course have their own rules in place to keep marketers honest when implementing strategies.

This is where the term “white hat SEO” comes into play. The term refers to SEO strategies that are in line with the terms and conditions set forth by the major search engines mentioned above. Google of course is at the forefront of this and spares no website or business when it comes to the integrity of its search engine.

White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO

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White Hat SEO refers to the use of ethical tactics to increase a website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). This approach focuses on providing quality content that is helpful to users and aligns with search engine guidelines.

White hat SEO strategies include creating original content, optimizing for relevant keywords, link-building strategies, improving page speed, and using other best practices for organic optimization.

Black Hat SEO techniques are unethical methods used to manipulate search engine algorithms in order to gain an advantage over other competitors in the SERPs.

Examples of Black Hat SEO

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Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing involves the repetition of a specific keyword or phrase on a page in an effort to increase the page’s ranking for that particular term.

HTML Cloaking

HTML cloaking is similar to keyword stuffing but takes it one step further by displaying different content than what is shown in the HTML source code.

Link Farms

Link farms involve creating multiple websites with links back to each other as another way to increase rank artificially.

Hidden Text

Hidden text involves adding keywords into pages as plain text or white font on a white background so it won’t be visible but still indexed by search engines.

Black hat SEO is something marketers and businesses should be aware of and stay far away from. Search engines such as Google constantly roll out updates that fight black hat SEO tactics, in fact, in December 2022 Google pushed an update that battled link spam. If Google finds your website guilty of using black hat SEO strategies, your website will be penalized heavily and you will notice lower search engine rankings, or sometimes be completely omitted from Google Search.

Exploring White Hat SEO Benefits

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As stated above, the first and most important benefit of white hat SEO would be keeping your website visible on SERPs by playing by the rules while also being understanding of the policies set by search engines.

As the number one search engine used, billions of people visit Google every day. Getting penalized for practicing strategies outside of white hat SEO would be detrimental to any business. There is also no easy way or guarantee to have Google re-enlist your site once it’s been flagged for breaking these policies.

Best Practices

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Create Quality Content

Create highly actionable content that satisfies your visitors’ needs and guides them toward solutions for their problems. Use keyword research tools to discover the most relevant keywords your site content should be optimized for. Then focus on using those keywords to develop brilliant content that meets the needs of your target audience and fulfills the purpose of the relevant keyword.

Use Relevant Keywords in Meta Tags

Follow the best practices when it comes to composing meta descriptions for each page on your site to better assist search engines and users so they can discover your site.

Ensure your Website Functions Properly

It’s important to structure your website for the best user experience while also considering search engine crawlers. Sites that are easy to navigate tend to have better organic search results, too.

Need More Help?

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Check out some of our other SEO content under Insights.

A good place to start is with our SEO Checklist for Beginners.

If you’re wondering how your site stacks up on search engines, you can get a free SEO overview report sent to your inbox.

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