Search Engine Optimisation – is your current approach improving or hindering your business’ online visibility?
Chances are that your organisation is now operating in an extensive and highly competitive marketplace and, if consumers can’t find your business online, you risk potential customers deciding to look elsewhere. As such, to achieve success and increase traffic flow on digital platforms, maximising your online visibility is essential.
In a bid to enhance accessibility online, organisations are now actively working to maximise their search result ranking.
You may have an incredible offering but, if your desired customers are unable to find you, how will they ever know?
“The top five results account for 67.60% of all clicks”
So, how can your business optimise search engine visibility?
There’s a distinct range of strategies that are commonly used by organisations aiming to improve their online accessibility, each with varying degrees of effectiveness.
Some of the typical approaches instigated by businesses can be categorised as either a white or black hat tactic. There is a clearly defined division between the strategies applied in each scenario and, essentially, they’re polar opposites.
WHITE HAT VS BLACK HAT SEO
White Hat SEO
Those who fall into the White Hat category are approaching Search Engine Optimisation in what is typically recognised as the ethical, correct way.
White Hat tactics have a human focus and an emphasis on creating quality content that is highly relevant to your webpage.
When implementing strategies to improve their visibility, these businesses are acting within the guidelines and, importantly, playing by Google’s rules.
A White Hat approach involves adjusting online content to meet the ever-changing preferences of Google’s search engine algorithm, rather than looking for loopholes.
For this reason, the strategies applied have the potential to be highly advantageous when aiming for long-term optimisation. Each time Google introduces an update of their search engine algorithm, there is a focus on identifying and penalising Black Hat tactics. When this happens, if your business is operating within guidelines there’s less of a chance that your search ranking will be dramatically impacted and disadvantaged.
That being said, it’s still within your best interest to adjust your current strategies accordingly, ensuring you meet new expectations and truly maximise the visibility of your business.
Black Hat SEO
Businesses who implement a Black Hat SEO strategy are operating on the opposite end of the spectrum. They aim to find ways around Google’s algorithm, violating guidelines in a way that will boost their position in search engine results.
The tactics used are typically bot focused, looking to manipulate and essentially “trick” the algorithm by identifying weaknesses as opposed to creating quality, relevant content.
This approach has a very apparent aspect of risk, with the strategies being implemented typically detected eventually. Therefore, even though such tactics may see results in the short-term, once a new algorithm addressing the issue is introduced, your business is likely to plummet in search engine rankings.
It’s vital to think about the long-term development of your SEO when defining a strategy, as opposed to purely focusing on “quick wins” where you risk being substantially penalised in future.
WHAT KIND OF STRATEGIES DOES EACH HAT INVOLVE?
White Hat SEO
To maximise your online search results ranking without violating Google’s guidelines, what kind of tactics would your business need to implement?
A great starting point is to ensure that the content you’re sharing online is original, valuable to your target audience and accurate. This is essential as White Hat tactics typically have a human focus, improving your ranking by creating a comprehensive and functional website. By building a quality digital platform, you’re naturally helping to improve your website’s relevance by complying with Google’s algorithm.
It’s vital to partake in appropriate research and determine which keywords your business should include on different webpages. In doing so, you’ll be able to make the conscious effort to include particular language and, as a result of this, improve the overall relevance of your webpage – boosting your search engine results ranking. However, it’s crucial to ensure that your webpages aren’t overly crowded with keywords; this will be negatively received by Google’s algorithm.
How else can your business improve your websites relevance online? You could try using backlinks, a tactic that can prove to be highly beneficial when used correctly. The effective use of backlinks relies on related webpages linking back to yours. As such, the algorithm used by Google recognises that others have identified your content as valuable, therefore, increasing your overall relevance.
When your webpage makes reference to and creates a link between your own content, this is known as an internal link. This particular tactic also assists in boosting your relevance and, similarly to the use of keywords, is generally ineffective when overused. In short, don’t go overboard!
Black Hat SEO
When it comes to long-term Search Engine Optimisation, it will likely benefit your business to steer clear of Black Hat tactics and stick to Google’s guidelines.
So, what kind of strategies is your business best to avoid?
Similarly to using an excessive amount of keywords on your webpage, including irrelevant content or keywords can be harmful to your search ranking. It all comes back to Google’s algorithm favouring your page if the content is perceived as valuable. Even though it may be tempting to include certain popular keywords or phrases to boost your ranking, it’s likely these will be picked up and your long-term SEO will suffer.
What if you could show consumers one thing, and optimise your relevance by showing search engine technology another? Well, you can. It’s called cloaking and, being illegal; it’s a practice we definitely wouldn’t recommend. Those using this technique online mislead the Google algorithm and, as a result of this, boost their webpages’ ranking.
“Overtime, we’ve seen sites try to maximise their “search footprint” without adding clear, unique value.” – Google’s Brian White
Another common Black Hat technique is the use of Doorway Pages. This involves a number of similar domains being created with the purpose of linking back to a particular page, thus, increasing its relevance. In combating such practice, Google has introduced an updated search algorithm to identify and penalise websites creating doorway pages.
Interested in improving your B2B Search Engine Optimisation?
At The Lead Agency, our team specialises in digital marketing. Get in contact with us today for guidance in maximising your online visibility through White Hate techniques that will continue to succeed through Google’s algorithm updates.