Whitehat or Organic or Natural SEO are terms describing search engine optimization techniques that help improve traffic to your website without breaking Google’s rules.
Nuanced SEO delivered with finesse and a deep understanding of the client is the goal.
Are Google’s rules fair? Yes, and very clear. While playing by the rules is harder, it also delivers a website experience that is better for your users. It lasts longer in the sense of increased rankings and, if done ongoing, will produce a much better return on investment than using Grey or Blackhat techniques.
Grey & Blackhat SEO techniques that encompass ways of ‘gaming’ Google’s search algorithm can work. In fact, some work extremely well. That said, you are tempting Google to erase the money invested and burn your brand-domain ranking ability. Google has built this vast advertising channel that can provide very low cost access to potential clients. Doing it right takes longer and may cost more, however it will deliver better engagement with users, build an infrastructure of topic authority and is risk-less. Blackhat techniques may get you the traffic you are looking for faster. It may also produce more traffic than you can earn organically.
Would I use Blackhat SEO for my site or a client? Never – only on quarantined test sites.
I think this stock market quote describes the Whitehat vs. Blackhat situation perfectly.
“Imagine that two places are 130 miles apart. If I observe the 65-mph speed limit, I can drive that distance in two hours. But if I drive 130 mph, I can get there in one hour. If I try this and survive, am I “right”? Should you be tempted to try it, too, because you hear me bragging that it “worked”? Flashy gimmicks for beating the market are much the same: In short streaks, so long as your luck holds out, they work. Over time, they will get you killed.” – The Intelligent Investor
- Know your audience
- Ensure your website is accurately described through well done meta & Schema
- Write great client valuable content–think “utility”. Answer their questions and create rank-able content while doing it.
- Make your website easy to use with attractive design, clean, easy navigation and fast functionality.
- Keyword stuffing
- Invisible text
- Doorway pages
- Duplicate content
- Link farming
So what is Whitehat SEO again?
Whitehat SEO is the organic promotion of your website without overstepping the bounds of Google or online etiquette.
I encourage you to look at your website as a staff member. You would expect your staff member to complete the requirements of their job in a professional, friendly-to-your-brand-image way.
You would not want them to engage in behaviour that would sour the image of your brand now or in the future. It wouldn’t be worth it to have an aggressive salesperson that sells volume initially but then burns the client relationship. Blackhat SEO cheating delivers essentially the same result.
Performing Whitehat SEO requires a commitment to delivering optimization work that meets the terms of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and provides the best user experience.
Nuanced SEO delivered with finesse, and a deep understanding of the client is the goal. The old days of SEO as a blunt instrument to rank for a handful of keywords are long over.
Whitehat SEO is built on understanding the target personas. Knowing what they are interested in, where they hang out online and what content will capture their attention. A focus on getting links where your target users already are, content that will answer their questions and the development of an online brand image – that’s Whitehat SEO.