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In terms of SEO, ‘White Hats‘ are good and ‘Black Hats‘ are bad. ‘Grey Hats’ fall somewhere in the middle. Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of each category.
Black Hat SEO
You really want to avoid using any black hat techniques because while they might be effective in the short term, long run they are going to get you penalized by Google and possibly dropped off of the search engine listings entirely. They also tend to make for a very poor user experience for a human, and you should really focus on making the website useful to your customers first, and Google’s spider bots second.
- Making use of Link Farms – Don’t do this, ever. Link farms are just giant collections of links that have nothing to do with each other. If anybody ever wants you to pay to be listed in their ‘directory’, don’t do it. Paid links of any kind are typically bad news.
- Hidden text – This text is the same color as the background, or set to be hidden through CSS. Search engines don’t bother with style rules, so the text will still show up to a search bot but not any human visitors to your site. It is often used in conjunction with the next technique…
- Keyword Stuffing – This is when you put as many keywords as you can into the content without worrying about silly things like sentence structure or readability. Some people just put lists of keywords (often in hidden text, as explained above). In WordPress any of your important keywords should go into the Tags for the post, and in your content of course but only if it makes sense in context.
- Blog spamming – We’ve all seen or gotten those comments on a blog post ‘Great article! Thanks for sharing!’ that exist for no other reason than to create a backlink to a completely irrelevant site that’s probably selling Nike or Ray-Ban knockoffs.
White Hat SEO
- Quality Content – No, we’re not going to stop harping on this one. Write good content, and lots of it!
- Link Baiting – This is writing content that people will want to link back to. It could be a top 10 list, a highly informative article, or a news story. For most small businesses, I would consider writing an article or page on something that your company specializes in, and include your personal experiences and things you’ve learned.
- Internal Linking – Make your site easy to navigate! The easier it is for the bots to find their way through the site, the better it is for you. There are lots of plugins out there to add Breadcrumbs to your WordPress site.
- Site Optimization – Make sure you are using your header tags, site title, and meta tags effectively.