So your SEO guy or girl is telling you he can get you on page one like, tomorrow. Sounds great, right? Beware the promise of a quick financial return when it comes to SEO! It could mean a long-term penalization with Google that might hurt you in a big way in the long term. This is what we call a black hat technique.

White Hat SEOLet’s break down the jargon. Black Hat SEO refers to an aggressive group of techniques that get you higher search rankings by less than honourable means. One of the most common types of black hat SEO we see is called keyword stuffing. You might have seen this before when reading an article that says something like, “this Cambridge, Ontario web designer is the best for all your web design needs in Cambridge, Ontario.”

Duplicate Content is another black hat strategy, where you may see the same sentences repeated multiple times. Tiny Text is another: where small text and keywords the same colour as the background is placed at the bottom of an article. In every case, the content is written for search engines and not for humans: so while it may be beneficial short-term in your search engine climb, no clicks will lead to conversion. No wonder SEO gets a bad wrap!

Fortunately, this isn’t the kind of SEO that a lot of the honest guys sell, including us. We’re in the White Hat camp over here! White Hat SEO means we prefer the high-value, long-term approach to gaining slow ranking that not only ensures would-be clients (and not just bots) are reading your content. A few of these key strategies include:

1. Keyword Analysis

What do visitors search for when they’re looking for your products or services? Take the guess work out of it with a keyword analysis. White Hat SEO strategists spends time examining your competitors and industry to decide what these words are. In addition, they use this information to recommend or implement ways to use them to increase efficiency, stretch your monthly spend (from adwords to blog writing), and encourage conversions.

2. Directory Submissions

Think of directory submissions like a library card catalog (if you're old enough to remember what that is). In this case, the Internet is the library, the library card catalog cabinet is Google, and each card drawer as a directory submission. Instead of being sorted alphabetically, each card drawer is sorted by a number of different topics, such as a list of local restaurants, a list of local chiropractors, etc. The more directories your business is listed under, the more likely Google is to consider your site trustworthy and credible. A trusted White Hat specialist has likely spent years compiling classic and trending directories to create a quality list.

3. Optimizing Your Content

According to Cognitive SEO, optimization means manipulating your content, wording, and site structure as a way to gain a strong SEO backbone. Some easy ways to do this include creating titles with keywords from your analysis, and including meta tags. Instead of bolding your subheadings, use a CSS class to increase likelihood of getting your content recognized. Don’t forget to effectively name your images, too: it helps. Oh, and the super start rule of course: blog often! The more frequent you post on your site, the more often search engines see signs of life. This makes you look like an expert in your field, and increases the likelihood they’ll kick you some traffic over your competitor.

If you have the time to invest in learning some White Hat strategies yourself, great! Or, if you’d prefer to use that time growing your business, leave the wearing of the white hat to us. We’re happy to handle it for you!

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