2 Ways to Drive More Business Through Your Door: Geofencing Marketing & Branding
You’re a local or small business. You want to drive business growth, raise your profile, and create a following. Whether…
White hat, black hat – it may sound like something out of a spy thriller – or an average-ish Chris Hemsworth movie. While black hat in the real world is primarily associated with unethical hacking, in the SEO world, it’s also a big no-no. That makes white hat SEO more of a must-do.
Black hat SEO practices are shady tactics that send up red flags across all search engines and can actually get a site blacklisted (see what we did there?) on Google. These are obvious strategies where, rather than focusing on quality content and user experience, organizations try cheating the system in order to rank #1 in SERPs. These are things like:
You can see that a lot of these black hat strategies deal in false and misleading business practices. While these tactics may certainly return some results in the short term, in the long term, it won’t do the company any favors.
Search engines will hand out penalties that result in long-term low rankings or even removal from the search index. That means no rankings at all. The site will disappear into a search engine black hole, and the real-world impact (loss of traffic and sales) could be devastating for the business.
Now that you know just how lousy black hat SEO is – and what it is – it’s time to focus on legitimate practices, better known as white hat SEO. These tactics are essentially best practices approved by Google that fit within their guidelines.
These SEO techniques can help your site rank organically, or naturally, on Google and other search engines, but they also serve the greater good of your visitors’ intent. White hat SEO is content on the up-and-up – it’s not misleading, spammy, or only built for the purpose of driving traffic to a webpage without serving a legitimate purpose.
Google’s guidelines define how an organization can make its site search engine friendly. They include the necessary technical requirements and what practices to avoid. Google’s algorithms are structured to identify high-quality content, including the following considerations:
So, now that you have a little insight into how Google analyzes web pages and content, what are some white hat SEO practices you can adopt and adapt into your digital marketing and website development endeavors? Here are five techniques that should become second nature:
A site that is easy for users to find the information, products, and services that they need will perform better in search rankings. Building an intuitive architecture that sets up a frustration-free roadmap for visitors to follow will result in better user experience, longer browsing time on site, better SEO results, and, hopefully, more goal conversions.
For those of us who grew up in the 90s, we still remember learning the art of patience as we endured long connecting, uploading, and downloading times. Yes, hearing those familiar AOL dial-up sounds can trigger fond(less) memories of staring at little blue boxes and a tiny yellow guy sluggishly running toward the finish line of the world wide web.
Today, we expect page-loading times to be near instantaneous. And a website with pages that do not load in about three seconds or less can see their site visitors skip out and, worse, shop the competition.
If you have pages that are not speedily delivering content, you need to address this issue immediately. There are several reasons why a page might be dragging its feet, and they’re all fairly easy to fix with a little professional help.
In a relatively short amount of time, smartphones and tablets have become ingrained into our daily lives. Every year the percentage of people using mobile for business and searches increases. In 2022, almost 61% of website traffic came from mobile phones. In addition, about “50% of B2B inquiries” came from mobile devices. It’s absolutely critical that organizations ensure their digital platforms are 100% mobile-friendly.
Giving users a great experience on every page of your website on all types of devices will not only improve goal conversions but will support your SEO goals. In reverse, not prioritizing mobile optimization will negatively impact UX, SEO rankings, and, ultimately, your bottom line.
Metadata is an easy but essential white SEO tactic you can implement to improve rankings. Updating the metadata for each of your pages with specific, SEO-focused content can improve search engine results and draw more users to your site.
What is metadata? When you enter a search query and your browser returns results, the information you see is referred to as metadata and includes a meta title (or title tag) and a meta description.
The meta title is the first line of text you see that usually gives you the topic of the page or the title of an article as well as the organization providing the content. It will also appear in the browser tab. It might look something like: Integrated Digital Marketing Services | Ironistic.
The meta description, then, is the text you read below the meta title. It acts as a brief summary and tells you a little bit about the page.
Carefully crafting meta titles and descriptions within suggested, search engine guidelines and using white hat SEO techniques can boost your rankings. In addition, ensuring that users can clearly discern what your page is about and how it can serve them will improve your click-through rate.
The holy grail of white hat SEO is creating high-quality content. Content goes beyond the written word and includes videos, images, headers, and style. You must create content that answers the users’ wants and needs. Build pages that make it easy for visitors to find and digest the information they are seeking, pages that are engaging and dynamic.
Yes, website content should be optimized with relevant keywords in all the right places, but without focusing on delivering a great experience, solution, product, or service to the user, keyword optimization will only go so far.
Keywords are still key, but content is king.
Focus on writing great content that serves its purpose and present it in a user-friendly, inviting, captivating way. Then use white hat SEO keyword optimization as the cherry on top. When you settle on the best keyword phrase for your page, make sure that you implement it within your metadata as well.
International SEO, or global SEO, is an optimization technique that helps search engines understand which countries and languages your site is targeting. Rather than local SEO, which focuses on cities and states, global SEO focuses on international locations where an organization may wish to promote its products or services. This will take a little work and linguistic prowess, but it will be worth it in the end.
If you hope to improve SEO rankings in other countries, you must consider that not only are languages different, but their structures are often different too. For instance, English language constructs are different from Spanish. In English, we place our adjectives in front of nouns (e.g. red pill), but in Spanish, the adjective comes after the noun (e.g. pastilla roja).
These distinctions matter in global SEO search results – even the nuances between American English and British English. For instance, if you’re selling sneakers, and you want to sell them in the UK as well as America, you’ll have to consider that across the pond, they call them ‘trainers’.
In addition, for international SEO to work, you’ll have to consider not just language translation, but how people in different countries search for terms. And you must make your content relevant for users in the particular country or countries you’re marketing to.
You can start to figure out your global SEO strategy by searching Google in the countries you’d like to do business in (e.g. google.ca for Canada or google.co.jp for Japan). Type in a keyword and see what comes up – and how it appears.
Just remember, no matter what, high-quality, white hat SEO content reigns supreme all over the world – in every country and every language.
We know SEO techniques and strategy can seem overwhelming – what to do, what not to do, local, international, optimizing, etc. It can be a lot to keep up with – especially since search engines, like Google, periodically update their algorithms, changing the game a little bit every time.
That’s what Ironistic is here for. With our website development and digital strategy support, we can provide a full suite of white hat SEO services. Not only do we understand what makes search engines tick, but we know how to build brands, create creative content, maximize your digital presence, and support your business goals through an effective and optimized website.
That’s what we all want, right? With Ironistic in your corner, we can make an impact through high-quality content and white hat SEO techniques that will raise your profile on the world wide web. Contact us today for more info about how an experienced SEO company like ours could be just the strategic advantage you need.
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