What is “white hat” SEO and how can I do it for my website? To understand this you must first understand what the difference between white hat and black hat SEO techniques are. This post will give you a general idea about the difference between the two techniques and things you can do to implement white hat techniques within your own website or a client’s website. This post is geared toward the Do-It-Yourself enthusiast or other professionals. However, if you would rather speak to one of our Search Engine Optimization Pros – you should probably click here.
But what is White Hat Search Engine Optimization?
While the definition may vary depending on who you ask, the foundation is still the same. White hat SEO refers to the techniques that are used on a website that will increase the longevity of your search engine optimization campaign. As new updates are made to search engine algorithms, it becomes increasingly important to use these techniques to ensure your SEO efforts are not short-lived. Black hat SEO generally refers to techniques that are used to help a website rank faster but can be devastating as updates are made because these generally contain backlinks or content that seem “spammy.” Things such as keyword cramming or generating a bunch of back links from non-credible sources are just a few examples of what a black hat SEO professional will use on your website. To really get an idea of the benefit of distinguishing between the two, take a look at why you’re doing all of this in the first place. Chances are you’re wanting to achieve the best results in the shortest amount of time as possible but you want to stay there. The white hat approach will always be the go-to for this. So what are some white hat techniques that you can use today? Keep reading or download our PDF below to find out.
White Hat Search Engine Optimization Techniques Explained
Content is king
Before we get started on this, you must understand that the most important part of any SEO campaign is your content. Search engines recommend a minimum of 300 words; however, most Search Engine Optimization professionals argue that you should have a minimum of at least 500 words per page. No matter which number you choose, making sure your content is clear, unique, well written, and informative will always put you one step ahead. Additionally, each page should contain a keyword density of between 2% to 4%. For example, if you have a page with 100 words on it you would want your keyword to repeat between two to four times. You will also want to make sure your keywords are linked to internal pages, external pages (a page located on another website), bolded, italicized, or underlined. For your content structure, remember the paragraph structure you learned in school; start with an introduction paragraph followed by a paragraph heading and then supporting text, followed by another heading and more text before drawing your conclusion. The same would hold true on the web, only instead of paragraph headings, heading tags are used. Each page should have one H1 tag, no more than two H2 tags, and at least one H3 tag. Also, try to include at least one image on each page and make sure that you set the alt attribute for the image. This alt attribute is how search engines find out what an image is about but it’s also a great place to put an additional instance of your keyword.
Meta tags are a way for search engines to find out what each page of your website is about. It is also what is displayed by default in search engines when someone types keywords similar to yours into a search bar. Some of the most popular meta tags would be your meta title, meta description, and arguably your meta keywords. While keywords used to play an important role, Google claims that these do not have any significant ranking factor. If you are using WordPress you can most likely find a free plugin like Yoast SEO or All In One SEO pack. If you’re developing a static website you can refer to the sample in our download below.
Backlinks are a way for search engines to find out what your credibility is online. This is nothing more than a term for how many other websites link to your website. If you’re a relatively new website, it can be a little difficult to start generating them; however, the more established you become – the easier it will be for people to link back to your website. This can be as simple as someone quoting your blog post and linking to that post on your site or maybe you write an article for your local university or a website like the Tuts+ Network and ask them to link your article back to your website. Most people do not realize that having a complete social media profile can also give you additional backlinks to your website which will establish credibility and authority with your domain. These are two very important ranking factors when it comes to ranking a domain. Some ideas for backlinks would be guest blogging, directory listings, social media accounts, tutorials online and the old-fashioned way of asking for a link exchange from someone else’s website. The website that links back to your domain should also be considered. When they have a “dofollow” link that points back to your website, their page rank and authority gets transferred to you. So for an effective SEO strategy, you want backlinks from websites that are related to your industry or topic. The best types of backlinks would come from .gov domains and .edu domains, but don’t dismiss the others such as .com, .net, .org or any others.
Linking to social media
This one may seem like a no-brainer but having sharing icons on your pages or post is pretty important when generating a buzz online. This is especially true if you are using social media to link to articles on your website (which you should be). These are generally “nofollow” backlinks but they still hold some relevance and most importantly generate traffic to your website, which makes it popular. You can take this a step further by making sure that you have social media meta cards available on your website (refer to download). These are what search engines use to identify how your organization is connected online to various social media accounts and how you want your site displayed if others decide to share your content. If you’re using a WordPress SEO plugin, there’s generally an options page for this. Otherwise, you may need a little technical knowledge to implement this on your website.
We highly advise everyone to learn about SEO. It is more time-consuming than it is technical but there are more things that go into it than what we can cover in this article. Everyone should have an understanding about SEO and the difference between white hat and black hat techniques so they can be better informed to make educated decisions when working with an agency.