With SEO there are a variety of SEO techniques that different webmasters and agencies may use to attempt to bring success for your site in the rankings. These techniques vary from simple onsite amendments to complex onsite changes that depend entirely on the experience of the optimisers.
Unfortunately, since there is no set recipe for success it is difficult to assess exactly what must be done as the approach can vary from site to site. One website may imitate the exact same methods another site uses, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the site will rank as well.
What Techniques are Used in SEO & How do I Know if They are Beneficial?
After many years in the industry and countless hours of research we believe we have a clear and thorough understanding of what can be called ‘good’, ‘so-so’ and ‘bad’ when it comes to different SEO techniques. In the SEO industry there are 3 types of SEO’s that exist, these are ‘white hat’, ‘grey hat’ and ‘black hat’. White hat SEO’s utilise only techniqeus that are recommended by Google, whilst grey hat and black hat SEO’s will use techniques that may be against Google’s quality guidelines or are completely unethical to rank a website.
White Hat SEO
White Hat SEO is seen as the ethical approach, doing things correctly and as squeaky clean as possible. There are a number of guidelines and steps which can ensure you approach your SEO in a correct manner for best chance of success.
- Quality Content – Give the end user what they want. People like to see facts and proven theories
- Design and Structure – Make it clear in your source code what are design segments and what is content. Not only does this improve the actual code quality but it also gives Google quicker access to what content it needs to index and what page elements it does not need to
- Page Tags – Ensure your tags (titles, descriptions, and headers) are relevant to the page topic and interesting to the consumer to entice them to continue reading further
- Keyword Research – Ensure you target the keywords which people actually search for; tailor your content to these words for better success
- Ethical Linking – Build quality links using unique and original content and source links from sites of a similar topic or related topic nature
Grey Hat SEO
As detailed above, a white hat SEO only uses ethical SEO techniques to get a website ranking. Therefore, in the middle, grey hat can be described as being a bit of both, ‘so-so’.
These are techniques which agencies and webmasters are commonly using and while there is evidence to support these methods are in cases successful for achieving high ranking, it is yet undecided or not quite clear if these practices are seen as completely beneficial or harmful – they are in between.
Some of the techniques which fall under the umbrella of Grey Hat SEO are shown below:
- Unnatural link building
- Redirection of domains
- Ask people to review your site or product
- Content realignment with CSS
- Cloaking content
- Unnatural linking internally
- Keyword per page
- Spun content
Black Hat SEO
Unlike white hat and grey hat SEO’s, black hat SEO is the unethical variant. The techniques used in this are deemed as being wrong on malpractice.
These method are used to attempt to gain a ‘quick fix’ solution for Google ranking. Whilst there is a chance your site may gain high ranking, the chances of this being sustained for the long –term are severely limited.
Below is just an overview of come of the most common practices which are classed as unethical or Black Hat.
- Irrelevant Keywords – Mentioning of words not associated with your topic
- Keyword Stuffing – Over-use of keywords; trying to ‘over-optimise’ the page
- Hidden Copy – Text which is used in the background of the site, or visible only for search engines. If you are hiding something on your site then there is every chance it will be frowned upon
- Content Cloaking – Tricking search engines and consumers by having two variants of text appear to them
- Entry or Doorway Pages – Creation of pages specific for just gaining keyword ranking
- Mirroring Content – Using content from other sites online in your site
- Spam Comments – Building links into your site through automated and untidy means