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Changing Hat: Morphing Black Hat SEO Tactics into White Hat Practices

January 6, 2012 · 3 comments

in SEO

From Black hat Seo to White hat SeoIn the world of SEO there are many who abuse the system and use deceptive tactics to increase their rankings in Google and other search engines. But by staying in the realm of the black hats, these treacherous SEOs are making it harder for those who want to rank legitimately. Using these tactics might be tempting at first, but it’s important to keep in mind that though they will help you rise in rank quickly, you’ll also be penalized quickly and it will take far longer for your site to recover.

Legitimate SEO strategies, on the other hand, can raise your website’s rank and help it maintain for as long as you care to continue developing your SEO. Just as in all other aspects of life it takes longer to do it properly but the results are better and last far longer. If you’re making use of any of the black hat tactics listed below, consider switching over to an analogous white hat strategy and see how well your site starts performing. If you hire out for your SEO, you need to vet the firm you’re paying. JCPenney discovered how important it is to find a reputable firm.

Keyword Stuffing to Co-Occurrence Terms

Keyword stuffing is the practice of placing multiple copies of a keyword phrase into pages in the hopes that due to the sheer volume of keywords Google will rank the page more highly. This used to be a widespread practice until Google began heavily penalizing sites for it. Rather than loading down pages with keywords that have no context, develop rich content into which you can place co-occurrence terms–words and phrases closely associated with your business or product. This will keep Google happy by providing useful content and will also help you rank because it connects your website with this useful content and the keywords.

Hidden Text vs. Meta Tags

Changing the color of text or using the layout to place it off screen allows black hats to perform keyword stuffing without being instantly penalized. When sites are found using this, however, they’re quickly blacklisted. As an alternative, you should make sure your meta tags, specifically your header tag, title tag and description tag all are filled out with useful information that will help search engines properly categorize your website and each page and determine how best to categorize it.

Doorway Pages vs. Landing Pages

Pages created with useless information specifically to rank for a keyword phrase are known as doorway pages. These pages are extremely unwelcomed by search engines and can get websites removed from search results entirely if discovered. Rather than use this tactic, employ landing pages specifically for your most highly searched for items as well as for any links you generate for social media sharing or advertisements. By building pages for these specific purposes you can make sure the information presented is completely relevant, helping your customers find the information they want while giving Google the relevance it wants.

It’s very tempting to resort to black hat tactics; they promise quick rewards for minimal efforts. For longevity of benefits, though, hard work and ethical practices are key. What good would be to get your site on the first page of search engines results tomorrow when your site could be removed from Google entirely next week?

Focus on creating quality and informative content that’s relevant to your website and provides real value to your visitors. Structure your website so that search engines can tell exactly what categories each page belongs to and make sure your landing pages are optimized based on their intended use. No matter how appealing it may be to delve into the darker side of SEO, there are always more beneficial strategies that won’t leave you playing with fire.

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Joseph Baker has worked in the business world for over 15 years, specifically in management. He has led development and management teams, and implemented budget reductions both professionally and as an independent contractor. In addition, he has led strategic planning and systems of implementation for nine organizations, both public and private, and worked extensively with small businesses. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Marketing from the IU - Kelley School of Business.

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