Avoid Google Penalties by Using White Hat SEO Techniques
A hat is the perfect accessory for standing out from the crowd. But choosing the right colour will make sure that you’re seen for the right reasons, stay in the spotlight, and can do it all cost effectively.
Appearing on the first page of a Google search is essential for any business competing in the online market and allows you to gain an edge over all your fierce competitors. In fact, Chitika, a search-targeted advertising company, claim that the top three Google result rankings get 61.5% of traffic share for any search item. This means that anything past the 10th position is like eating the scraps from the buffet table, netting less than 1% of traffic.
White vs. Black Hat
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is all about ranking higher on the SERPs and becoming more visible to clients. The terms white hat and black hat refer to certain techniques in SEO, with the field being starkly divided between those donning a white or a black hat.
White hat SEO uses ethical and organic optimisation techniques aimed at a human audience and follows search engine rules and policies like the essential Google Webmaster Guidelines.
The techniques included within this is writing quality content, adding relevant images and videos, providing meta-information and improving the site architecture and performance. Doing these things the right way will help you achieve a higher ranking, and stay there. However, white hat techniques take a long time to be put into place and start showing results, so patience and commitment to this strategy is required.
As the name indicates, black hat SEO takes a darker approach. It is infamous for its spammy techniques, aggressiveness and morally ambiguous methods to improve search engine results. Sneaky short cuts include keyword stuffing, invisible text, doorway pages and page swapping. When choosing an SEO company, here’s what you need to look out for.
|Black Hat SEO||White Hat SEO|
|· Doorway Pages||· Quality content|
|· Invisible Text||· Tiles and Meta-data|
|· Keyword Stuffing||· Quality Inbound Links|
|· Sneaky Redirects||· Link Baiting|
|· Cloaking||· Structural Mark Up|
|· Link Manipulation||· Site Optimisation|
|· Article Spinning||· Keyword Research|
|· Link Farms||· Effective Keyword Use|
The techniques used by SEO companies, and how to know what your SEO is up to
In truth, black hat strategies can work, and even bring in some financial return. However, it is too risky to be worth the short term benefit. Google has been cracking down on black hat techniques, and has banned countless sites from search engines. This means that black hat SEO is totally useless for those who have a serious long-term business vision.
Whilst your site’s traffic may skyrocket as a result of such underhand black hat tactics, a scatter gun approach to maximising traffic will probably fail to target your desired customer base. The conversion rate (the ratio of visitors to your site compared to those who actually become clients) will remain low because you are not providing quality. If you choose to pay for black hat SEO services, you’re essentially paying for quantity of traffic and not quality.
There is now another great reason to avoid shady black hat tactics, thanks to the arrival of Penguin. Whilst it’s avian counterpart isn’t anything to be afraid of, Penguin 4.0 is a formidable algorithm developed by Google to combat manipulative tactics in search engine rankings which do not abide by Google approved strategies. Guilty sites are identified and penalised by having their PageRank score (used to rank websites in their search engine results) reduced or wiped to zero.
Google Penalties Hit Hard
The reality of this threat really needs to be appreciated. Google have even penalised major websites caught using dubious tactics such as BMW, the Washington Post and Rap Genius. Google is committed to maintaining its credibility as a search engine that searchers can count on for relevant and valuable content. Its ‘Webmaster Guidelines’ are a code of practice for responsible ways to help Google find, index, and rank a site. They are therefore completely intolerant of any unscrupulous activity that undermines their potential profitability or reputation.
One penalised party, major US department store chain J.C. Penny, packed thousands of unrelated websites with links to their products (which is referred to as a ‘link scheme’.) These irrelevant links increased traffic to J.C. Penny’s site, allowing them to achieve a higher Google PageRank and search visibility. But the success stopped there. When Google penalised J.C. Penny for this misdemeanour, it took J.C. Penny 90 days to recover it’s top rankings in Google. They ultimately fired their SEO agency SearchDex for the embarrassment.
In a similar case, Overstock, an American internet retailer claimed that a Google penalty ‘adversely’ affected revenue for the first half of 2011. They were caught incentivising content writing and link building in exchange for free products or a discount.
There are some devastating real world consequences for using black hat SEO. In January 2011, American travel company Expedia dropped 25% in search visibility after they were caught using unscrupulous methods. Even worse, their Expedia shares fell by 4.5%.
Fred is Watching
Google is updating Penguin continually, and released the ‘Fred’ Update in March 2017. According to analysis by SEO data collection company Sistrix, pages most affected by the new update have been those ‘pumped to the brim with main keyword mentions and void of any useful information’ – a trademark of dodgy black hat SEO tactics. With increasingly sophisticated systems enforcing Googles rules, the only way to go is doing things the right way with white hat SEO.
Don’t be deceived by Black Hat SEOs
If you use black hat SEO tactics, you don’t just risk being caught by the Google algorithm. Your competitors or frustrated searchers can easily tap into data and tools to analyse trends in your organic traffic and backlink profile, allowing them to easily identify low quality content and links. If they develop a strong case against your site, they can fill in a Google Spam report which may lead to those disastrous penalties.
Your Choice, Make it a Good One
When choosing an SEO company, it can be quite difficult to distinguish between the ones that conform to the rules and the ones who try to bend them. You might have stumbled across a black hat agency if they promise cheap, quick, all-too-easy results. It is important to resist this temptation. Make sure to ask about the specific SEO tactics and strategy they will be using for your company so you truly know what their service will be like. Stay abreast of the latest dodgy tactics in the SEO world to be sure that your chosen agency isn’t using them.
It should be clear to anyone wanting the best for their business that user-friendly, relevant content and other white hat SEO techniques are what you need to achieve your goals. By committing to a white hat SEO you are on the safe path to maintaining your business’s online authenticity and integrity. Honest tactics will snowball into positive feedback through social media. Making the right choice will secure sustainable growth and income through better search engine visibility.
About Digital Squad
Digital Squad specialises in 100% White Hat SEO which is fully compliant with latest Google Webmaster Guidelines. With over 8,000 hours (and counting) of research and testing, we provide a Guarantee to all our clients again Google Penalisation.
Make sure your business stays ahead of the game this year by focusing on optimisation efforts with tangible results. If you need help with your SEO strategy get in touch with a digital marketing agency Hong Kong. The team at Digital Squad can help you with Remarketing, Facebook Marketing Hong Kong, AdWords Marketing Hong Kong and SEO Hong Kong. Additionally, we’re here to show you scalable growth with programmatic advertising Hong Kong, Bing ads Hong Kong and marketing automation. Hit us up, we’ll show you how you can turn your visitors into conversions that keep coming back.