While many of us understand the importance of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) in having a website rank highly on Google, there are some great, and not so great, ways of going about it. Unfortunately, getting your business found on Google is not as easy as pressing “publish” on your new website. In fact, studies show that only 0.44% of searchers head to the second page of Google’s search results (8).
If your website isn’t ranking on the first page of Google, it isn’t being seen. However, there are some best practices and guidelines you should follow when optimising your website for SEO, and they go by the name of “white hat”.
Why SEO is so important for your website
The main goal of SEO is to drive more traffic to your website. More traffic equals more visibility, and more visibility equals more sales. Improving the SEO capabilities on your website not only makes it easier for prospective customers to find you online, but put you at an immediate advantage of both growing your business and improving how you appear online.
Google places a high importance on creating a user friendly and positive experience for web searchers. Their goal is to put the most relevant and best quality information in front of its users, and it achieves this by using SEO to assist in website ranking. Google is well known for having a number of clear SEO guidelines to follow in order to rank highly in search results, and these guidelines are regularly updated along with their search algorithm (1). This principle is true for any search engine, and best results are achieved when you follow these to the T.
When it comes to SEO practices, there are 2 unique groups of methodologies which can improve your website’s search ranking. White hat SEO refers to using the search engine’s best practice recommendations guidelines for website design and content, to help the customer find the most relevant result from their search. And it’s counterpart, black hat SEO, refers to tactics and strategies which breach SEO guidelines in order to exploit loopholes in the system to artificially inflate your ranking (6). Appearing in search results is vital for business growth, but there’s a right and wrong way of going about it (4).
Common white hat SEO practices that will see you ranking higher on Google
White hat SEO practices work within laid out SEO guidelines to achieve the best, most sustainable results. The techniques focus on creating content for human readers, and lead to developing a trustworthy and quality website and user experience for its visitors (6). While this strategy won’t achieve an instant result, it is an evergreen approach that will improve your search rankings over time (3). By following best practices, white hat techniques help to future-proof your website from further algorithm changes.
Here are some of the techniques used in white hat SEO:
- Content optimisation: Both blog and website content should be created to add value to users, with the goal of educating and informing your audience. This type of content, which should utilise specific keywords, ranks well because it is relevant and written with the user’s needs first. Content optimisation and planning is about creating new content, and revising old content, to attract your target audience to your site.
- Technical SEO: Technical SEO includes the website’s meta-structure, internal links, tags, and keywords. This work is typically carried out by a website developer or SEO specialist.
- Link building: Link building is designed to share your useful content with other websites. It helps to direct users to the information they are specifically looking for, and increase trust and authority on your website, leading to a higher search ranking. This could mean securing listings in reputable directories that are relevant to your industry, working with other like-minded businesses to cross promote each other, or getting satisfied clients or customers to link back to your site.
- Creating a mobile friendly website: Websites which are not optimised for mobile do not fare favourably on search results. Given that most people research businesses from their phones or tablets, it is important to speak with your website developer to ensure your website is user friendly across all devices.
Learn more about “white hat” and “black hat” SEO practices. Read the article here.
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