Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, refers to a set of strategies used to drive organic (unpaid) traffic to your business website. It involves both on-page and off page techniques, that when leveraged correctly, can give your business great benefits.
But like with most things, there are ways that you can “cheat” the system. And like most of these things, there are certain repercussions and consequences that will occur if you are found out. In regards to SEO, this includes being de-indexed or banned from search engines.
As an ethical business owner, you want to make sure that you are driving traffic to your website the right way. This means employing ethical and accepted SEO strategies, referred to as “white hat SEO”. On the other hand, unethical practices used to take shortcuts and manipulate search engines and users are named “black hat SEO” and should be avoided at all costs.
So before you start implementing an SEO strategy, read this article first. I will tell you the white hat SEO dos and black hat SEO don’ts so that you don’t make mistakes that will affect your greatly business ranks.
Drive traffic to your website the right way, using SEO best practices
Don’t Keyword Stuff
Keywords form the foundations of your SEO strategy and they play such a critical role in how well your website performs (for more information, please read my detailed introduction to SEO for beginners here).
This is because these keywords are then used in all areas of content such as your website content, blog posts, articles, meta and title tags, alt images, etc. Not only should this keep your search engines happy but you also need to find the balance in keeping your human audience happy as well.
For example, if your keyword is “freelance copywriter”, you don’t want to use it in every sentence just to increase the number of times it appears. You still need to consider your readers and what will read best for them.
“I am a freelance copywriter from Sydney. If you are looking for a freelance copywriter who can help promote your business, then I am the freelance copywriter for you.”
See this example? In these three sentences, I have integrated the keyword three times. While I may think this is great for search engines, how did it read for you?
Not only is it repetitive but it doesn’t flow naturally and makes the content disjointed.
This is called a black hat SEO tactic called keyword stuffing and it can kill your SEO.
Don’t Hide Text
Another black hat technique regarding keywords is making the font very small and changing the colour of the keyword to the web page background. This way, when the page appears, users are unable to see the keyword as they are “invisible” but search engines still pick it up.
While this can work on a short-term basis, chances are, search engines will pick up on this unethical SEO practice and punish your website for it. It can remove you from search engines altogether and this is something that will definitely not help drive traffic to your website.
So what can you do instead?
Do Integrate Keywords Seamlessly
The key is to reach 2-3% keyword density. This percentage relates to your keyword and word length ratio – a smaller word count means a smaller keyword density and vice versa.
In fact, once you reach optimal keyword density, the extra times you have included your keyword don’t really benefit you much at all anymore so it is best to aim for 2-3%.
“I am a freelance copywriter from Sydney. If you are looking for a writer who can help promote your business, then please contact me.”
This reads so much better and still seamlessly integrates the keyword into the text. Better still, it only uses white hat SEO.
It can be difficult to write great copy that is informative, SEO compliant and easy-to-read. This is why I recommend hiring an experienced copywriter to help write your business content for you.
Don’t Use Link Farms
Another important aspect of SEO is the number of backlinks that link to your website. This can be a difficult technique to put into practice because you are relying on others to promote your website.
Subsequently, some may opt for the easy way out and use link building websites.
Have you ever come across a site that had nothing but links on it?
That site is a link farm and they serve no real purpose other than trying to cheat the SEO system and increase the number of backlinks to the website.
Don’t get involved with link farms. There are other effective ways to increase inbound links.
Do Improve Link Building By Guest Posting and Other Means
There are many other ways to increase backlinks to your website that follow white hat SEO.
One of the more popular ways is guest posting. This is writing a guest post on another relevant website, preferably one that is an authoritative site, and linking back to your website in your byline.
In these cases, the other blog owner will also write a guest post for your blog, so you help each other out.
It’s a win-win situation.
Other ways include creating share-worthy content that people want to refer back to or recommend to others, such as detailed and informative blog posts or even graphics such as infographics.
These are the right ways to drive traffic to your website so don’t rely on short-term black hat SEO.
Don’t Trick Users With Irrelevant Content
Don’t you just hate it when you see a search result that uses the right keywords and indicates that it hold the answers to your query? But then when you click on it, it comes up with something completely unrelated?
Tricking your customers to visit your web page even if it is irrelevant to their search is an annoying and frustrating black hat SEO tactic. While it may get visitors there, it certainly doesn’t help to maintain them and they will click the back button as soon as they realise. Not only is this unethical but it will increase your bounce rate.’
Not only is this unethical but it will increase your bounce rate.
Do Publish Relevant Content
The traffic that you want to generate to your website should be visitors who want to be there because you are providing them with something of value. This includes making sure that the content on your website is relevant to their search query.
This goes back to keywords. Make sure that you use keywords in your title tag and meta descriptions and that the main content on the page focuses on that keyword as well.
Doing this will enhance your reputation as a knowledgeable source in your industry and one that your customers can trust.
And above all else, it will drive traffic to your website the right way.
Don’t Spin Articles
One black hat SEO involves copying or plagiarising content from other popular sites. Doing this will help the website appear higher in the ranks when people search for it.
However, some may have discovered a loophole around this called article spinning. Rather than copying and pasting the content and publishing the exact copy, they will change some words, sentences or even paragraphs to create some variation between the original and the copied version.
This also helps to prevent search engines from identifying copied content.
However, not only is this black hat SEO but this is still plagiarism.
Do Write Original Content
Gain followers that want to read your content by making sure that everything published on your website is original and helpful.
If you really do like another article or post, then you can quote or cite sources from it. Just make sure you include who commentator or author and provide a link to the original version.
But just remember, the majority of the published work should be your work.
Make sure you only use white hat SEO
Now that you know how to drive traffic to your website the right way, make sure that you only use white hat SEO strategies. Yes, black hat SEO may yield short-term outcomes and white hat SEO does take a long time to see the same results but it is well worth the effort.
You will generate organic traffic made up of people who actually want to visit your page because they see the value in it.
In saying that, it is good to be aware of black hat SEO just so you know what techniques to avoid to drive traffic to your website the right way. This way, you eliminate the risk of being penalised by search engines such as not appearing in the SERPs and being de-indexed.What other black hat or white hat SEO techniques do you know? Leave me a comment below, I would love to hear them.
And this is something that will definitely not help your SEO strategy.
What other black hat or white hat SEO techniques do you know? Leave me a comment below, I would love to hear them.