The rise of the Black Hat Empire has caused the The Jedi Consular and Galactic Republic (search engines) to crack down on underhand SEO techniques. Which SEO force do you wield?
Google uses various algorithms and is updating them constantly in order to make search results more relevant to the user. This means a search result which is as spam-free as possible.
Harsh penalties are in place for anyone using the dark side of SEO so be warned. It can result in a huge amount of organic traffic loss.
Is it worth the red light saber? Penalties include:
- Ranking Reduction
- Ranking Removal
If used correctly, SEO can be just as powerful as the Force in Star Wars. Competition however, is fierce. Everyone in digital marketing is fighting to stay at the top of those search engines and the pressure to provide first page results is never ending.
It can be difficult to know everything there is about the latest Google and Bing search algorithms but as SEO specialists, we have special tactics hidden up our Jedi sleeves.
We have access to SEO techniques to push our web pages to the top. These SEO tactics fall into two broad categories: ‘Black Hat’ SEO and ‘White Hat’ SEO.
“Keyword Stuffed You Have, Smart I Think Not.”
It basically comes down to how ‘pure’ your tactics are and how closely they are to the search engines rules or terms and conditions.
White Hat SEO – Any tactics that search engines recommend as part of a good design and website.
Black Hat SEO – Any tactics that search engines do not approve of and actively try to minimize the effect of through penalities.
Grey Hat SEO: The Legal High
White hat SEO and Black hat SEO are very broad terms in what comes down to a wide range of techniques which often fall into a ‘Grey’ area. Grey Hat SEO is referred to the practice of using dubious yet legal techniques to improve site rankings. Basically methods that could potentially, one day, become Black hat.
Choose Your SEO Force
Become A Master Of The Light Side
White hat SEO is the safest path to take, with search engines now dealing out penalties to any website which uses black hat SEO.
Fresh, creative and keyword rich content is a popular tactic used by the light side but with this comes absolute patience.
Results will be slow to start with which isn’t always that popular with clients who wish to see results straight away.
This is often when the dark side calls and black hat SEO techniques may be employed for a faster result.
The Temptation Of The Dark Side
This can be a dangerous game to play as results may be immediate but they can quickly be taken away once the search engines pick up on your tactics.
Then, your website will fall down the page results faster than Obi-Wan Kenobi when he died by Darth Vader’s light saber.
The path of the light side is not an easy one. It requires time, attention to detail and an up to date knowledge of search engine algorithms but long term, gives the best results.
What Is The Light Side Of SEO?
- Quality Content. The more content rich your website is, the more valuable it will be to the search engines, vistiors and other websites who link to you.
- Keyword Research. Using Keywords & Keyphrases in headings,link anchor texts and page titles.
- Titles & Meta Data. Strategic meta titles and data which are keyword researched.
- Quality Inbound & Outbound Links. The number of good inbound links to your site will have some relevance on how you are ranked in the search engine. If you are sourcing any links, always choose quality over quantity and link to relevant information within your website.
The Light Side:
- Always conforms to the search engine’s guidelines.
- Is user friendly.
- Has good quality web pages.
- Makes sure useful content on web pages is readily available and easy to access.
- Learn from SEO Jedi masters not just any SEO! Learn with Moz.
Having Trouble Wielding That SEO Light Saber?
If you have been trying to wield the force but feel you have no results, why not read our blog on SEO Tips for inspiration? It’s an older one but the tips still ring true for 2016.
The Dark Side Of SEO
The force may be strong with the dark side or ‘black hat’ SEO techniques but break the search engine rules and you can say bye bye to sitting comfortable on the first page.
The dark side tends to only focus on pleasing or tricking the search engines rather than making a good, quality website for its users, the human audience.
Those who are looking for a quick return on their website often go to the dark side but it’s no long-term investment. The penalisation for using such techniques could result in your site being banned from the search engine or de-indexed.
The Dark Side:
- Keyword stuffs. This tactic is when keywords are over used in one web page or web site. This is done to make the website more visible in the search engines but can actually have the opposite effect if the search engines catch you for it.
- Uses hidden texts and links. This is a method of hiding texts for Google to see and is rather a risky tactic.
- Spams blog content and spams comments. This is often done with the intention of creating free backlinks. These links are ‘no follow’ and is often done using tools which automatically spam comments across multiple sites.
- Uses duplicate content. Duplicate content simply refers to any content which has essentially been copy and pasted. The search engines prefer unique written content which is why duplicating content results in poor SEO.
- Is no stranger to link farming. Link farming refers to a set of fake websites which include links to your website. The sole purpose is to cheat Google in order to get a better page rank. Google will think a site is more worthy of higher ranking if other sites link out to you, however this goes for organic links not link farming. Once found out by the search engines, you will be penalised.
- Uses doorway or gateway pages. Doorway pages are created for search engines as opposed to users. They may be designed to rank well but they are don’t give any value to the user.