Black Hat vs. White Hat Search Engine Optimization 

When covering Search Engine Optimization (SEO), we must think about strategy. Tactics are going to be an ethical compass when it comes to marketing strategies. Are you looking for quick gains or long-term solutions? Would you be willing to sacrifice human experience for numbers? Would you take the time to curate unique creative content for your website, or would you cram keywords into an irrelevant word salad? 

These sound like oddball questions, but this is the difference between white hat and black hat strategies. We’ll start with the apparent villain of the two, the black hat strategies. 

Black Hat SEO Strategies

So are these tactics bad? Do they even work in 2021? I would say anything that reduces human useability is a waste of time, but black hat strategies are all about breaking the rules. Black hat strategies are designed for search engines, not humans. When a human uses a website, they experience all the bells and whistles; Is it fun to navigate? Are the clickable-looking items clickable? Do you enjoy the content? Is it inclusive? In black hat strategies, the human experience is secondary. The purpose is to get your rank high with little effort. Here are a few of the strategy tactics:

Black Hat: 

  • Duplicate content
  • Invisible text stuffed with keywords
  • Redirecting the user to another site or page (cloaking)
  • Links from other sites with irrelevant content
  • Blog spamming
  • Gaining an abundance of followers from bots

White Hat SEO Strategies

Why are these strategies preferred? Don’t I want to get my rank up quickly? Not necessarily. User experience has become a must for SEO in 2021. Engaging content that is unique and relevant is the key to white hat strategies. The reason to look towards a long-term solution instead of quick and fast is all about sustainability. Black hat strategies don’t work well in the long run. Creating content that drives users to your website organically is the best way to succeed at SEO for the long haul. Now let’s break down some of the white hat strategies:

White Hat:

  • Relevant content
  • Well labeled images
  • Relevant links and references
  • Complete sentences with correct grammar/spelling
  • Standards-compliant HTML
  • Unique and relevant page titles
  • Keyword analysis
  • Backlinking

Why Search Engine Optimization Tactics are so important 

Aside from human experience, Google has written guidelines for their search engine; This dictates what exactly is considered relevant on a SERP. Aside from morals, white hat strategies are best because they follow Google’s Webmaster guidelines. In a nutshell, if you’re not manipulating or tricking the algorithm, you’re using white hat strategies. 

Furthermore, black hat strategies are more expensive than ever in 2021. Google has gotten a lot more intelligent in tracking black hat SEO tactics. Blatantly spammy tactics (keyword stuffing) don’t function in today’s digital space. The only option when nothing is performing is to throw money at the solution, which becomes a bottomless pit. 

The risks to black hat strategies do not outweigh the rewards. The most apparent penalty you can receive would be from Google. Although a black hat marketer may suffice a few months of growth, the inevitable punishment can have irrevocable damage. The most irreparable harm would be to your company’s reputation. 

ADA compliance and the importance for SEO

You may have wondered what the ADA has to do with SEO, but it’s pretty simple. If you follow the rules on building an inclusive website, it will help your SEO and your fellow human beings. No one wants to be left out, and the Americans with Disabilities Act has made sure the internet is up to standard. When scrolling through a website, no matter your abilities, it should be usable for anyone. This is the best reason to use white hat strategies.

So how do you know if your website is ADA compliant? There are many resources to test if your URL is following ADA standards. If you don’t have a marketing firm you work with, there are resources such as WAVE that can test your URL. 

If you’re looking for help with SEO, we’re a white hat group that would love to help you. Our custom-built SEO strategies are practical and well-rounded. We will make sure your website is ADA compliant, that your content is unique and engaging, and that you’re in line with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. We would never sacrifice human experience for quick numbers, and we at Swell know that SEO is about sustainability. 

Ready to work with Swell SEO Services?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your online content. In today’s digital marketplace, your company’s organic search ranking rests in SEO, but how do you get to the top of the list? At Swell, we understand the importance of SEO, and we want to help your brand soar to the top. Let us help you in the many ways we can grow your business through Search Engine Optimization. Here are Swell’s custom SEO strategies if you’re interested in getting on the good side of SEO. 

Directory Profile Setup

As a business, you want your target customers to find you when they perform an online search; this is what a directory profile setup will accomplish. As we add your business to online directories, this forms a web that helps you connect with your target customers.

Google Business Listing Setup

We will set up your Google Business Listing so that your clients can easily find your business and all of your company’s most crucial details. Google Business Listing setup includes; hours, location, phone number, and website.

70+ Directory Listings Submissions

70+ Directory Listings to help optimize your website. Directory listings provide your website’s URL in link form so they can send users to your site.

Website Audit

A website audit is a complete analysis of all the factors that affect a website’s visibility in search engines. This standard method gives an exclusive insight into any website, overall traffic, and individual pages.

Competitor Research

Competitor research involves identifying your competitors, evaluating their strengths and weaknesses, and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of their goods and services.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of uncovering the keywords your target market uses when conducting searches.

Google Analytics Setup

Google Analytics allows you to track and understand your customer’s behavior, user experience, online content, device functionality, and more.

Google Search Console Setup

Google Search Console Setup will help us monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google Search results. GSC will allow us to understand how Google views your company’s website.

NAP Optimization

NAP is an acronym for Name, Address, and Phone number. The NAP for your business needs to be correct and consistent when optimizing your website because Google values accurate information for its users.

301 Page Redirects

301 Page Redirect indicates the permanent moving of a web page from one location to another. This redirect lets the browser know that the page has moved and won’t be moving back to its original location.

Broken Link Audit

A broken link audit will reveal any non-working links on your website; this includes anchors, images, CSS links, and java.

Robots.txt Optimization

Robots.txt is a text file nestled within the directory of your website. It informs crawlers (robots) within search engines which pages to crawl and which to disregard.

XML Sitemap Setup

An XML sitemap is a file that lists a website’s essential pages, making sure Google can find and crawl all of them. It also helps search engines understand your website structure.

Fetch & Render Website in GSC

‘Fetch and Render’ fetch the requested URL, display the HTTP status, and renders the page based on the specified platform (desktop, tablet, or mobile). This can be any visual differences between how a user would see your page compared to how Google would see your page.

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