If you’ve ever had any dealings with online marketing, you will have encountered the notion of search engine optimization, or SEO for short. There is a whole library of methods and techniques to win yourself a greater level of visibility in results from various search engines.
Naturally, that means that some questionable practices have also cropped up. beginners, and well-meaning amateurs, can easily get tangled up in them and ruin their business before it even has a chance to develop. So, we reached out to the experts of https://rapidseoexpert.com to get a reputable overview of the do’s and don’ts.
What Different Types of SEO Practices Are There?
By now you must have inevitably heard of the hats. Black hat, white hat, gray hat, even purple and green hats are being mentioned in recent years. Why is digital marketing given hats?
Well, because we need labels for the good and bad. Apparently, the trend started in the 1920s and 40s American Western-genre movies. To symbolize the struggle of good and evil, the heroes wore their white hats, and the villains wore the black ones, and somehow that fashion concept got applied to SEO.
White hat SEO techniques are those that entirely stick to the Guidelines by Google for Webmasters. This is the fashion of reputable businesses and marketing firms. White hat has the disadvantage of being more costly and taking longer to implement, but the great plus is that it’s safe from persecution, not nearly as risky as black and gray hats. Its value is compound, and they bring lasting, solid results over time.
Black hat tactics, in contrast, refer to business practices that outright defy the Google Guidelines. Actually, if you sit down and read those Guidelines, the things they tell you not to do are exactly the things that black hat SEO folks will do. These cheat paths to the top of the rankings get you there quick and cheap, but they also get you in hot water real fast. The moment Google’s algorithm gets updated, you’re at danger of being demoted in search results or outright banned from the web. Check out this link for an explanation of one of the most popular black hat tricks out there.
Gray hat optimization is the fashion of choice for people who want a balance between lawfulness and rogue-fast ROI. SEO people in gray hats are tightrope walkers: everything depends on interpretation. They employ techniques and strategies that are under-defined in the Guidelines, stuff that isn’t directly called out as bad, and then hope it stays that way. With gray hat optimization, you are not yet labeled as a deceiver, but there’s always the risk that your work will suddenly be recognized as black and you get penalized for it some way or other.
Finally, negative SEO refers to the optimization you do for your competition, not yourself. “Why would I want to optimize my competition’s content?”, you might wonder. Bluntly put: to hurt them. You access someone’s website and use either gray or black hat SEO tricks to harm their ranking and reputation, this kind of sabotage work might give your own business a chance to score a higher position in the search results.
What Are Some Real-Life Examples of These Hats?
Okay, we have a basic explanation of the hat tints. But what do these colors look like in real life? Here are some examples of SEO fashion hacks at work.
White hat entails writing relevant, quality content that’s actually useful. It entails organizing your pages so that search engines and living people can find the content they need as soon as possible. White hat also covers social media promotion that gets you organic exposure.
Black hat features tricks like plagiarism, hiding light-colored text on a white background, and posting “thin” content (lots of stuff on the page, but barely any of it is useful). So-called doorway pages are also a common hack – making many extremely similar pages with minimally different content in them. Purchasing back-links, bartering for citations, overloading on keywords to the point of your text sounding unnatural, and constructing PBNs also fall under black practices.
Gray hat means doing things like spinning other people’s content, exchanging links at high rates, paying people to write reviews for your business or service so you can artificially boost those numbers, and the ever-hated practice of click-baiting your visitors. On that note, this article offers some very good insight into the click-bait phenomenon: https://platformmagazine.org/2018/11/20/clickbait-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly
Negative SEO practices are everything you can do that will harm the websites and web traffic of your competitors. This includes stuff like hacking pages to change or steal their content, publishing negative reviews (especially under false and/ or multiple accounts), or flooding the virtual space with links that are weird or spammy and which lead to your competition’s sites. Literally, whatever optimization technique you can think of, if it harms someone in the same business as you, it’s negative SEO and you’re so villainous that not even a black hat fits you anymore.
What Does Google Have to Say About All This?
We have mentioned “the Guidelines” a few times already in this article. What are they and where are they? They’re called Google Webmaster Guidelines and you can find them in their Support Center. They provide a pretty clear picture of what Google sees as good/ white and bad/ black SEO, i.e. what will boost your rank in search and what will bury it.
These are not legally binding regulations in and of themselves, but adhere to them nonetheless. If your dark hat is sufficiently damaging to your client or anyone else, you might face legal persecution from third parties. If you’re tempted to go black hat for a client or your own site, thoroughly weigh the gains and risks before you turn rogue fashionista.
Google has made these Guidelines very detailed, rich in examples, and very much publicly accessible, so there is really no excuse for skirting them.