Black Hat SEO (search engine optimization) is customarily defined as techniques that are used to get higher search rankings in an unethical manner. If you use these black hat SEO practices you run the risk of being penalized by search engines.
Black Hat SEO Techniques To AVOID!
- Keyword stuffing: Packing long lists of keywords into your site (visible or not) will get you penalized eventually by search engines.
- Cloaking: This is hiding invisible text (keyword stuffing) by using a font colour that is the same as the background colour in hopes of attracting more search engine spiders.
- Doorway Pages: A doorway page is basically a “fake” page that the user will never see. It is purely for search engine spiders, and attempts to trick them into indexing the site higher. Once a searcher lands on a doorway page, they are instantly redirected to the “real” Web site.
Black Hat SEO is tempting; after all, these tricks actually do work in the short term until the site is banned for using unethical practices. Search engines all are looking for the same basic thing; good sites filled with good content.
A straightfoward natural approach to SEO will lead to better visibility for your Web site long-term.
White Hat SEO practices to follow:
- Are you using a domain name that contains one or more of your main keywords? (Domain Domination – Keyword Targeted URLs)
- Does your site use keywords in the naming structure? Use folder names, subdomain names, page names, stylesheet class names that are keywords.
- Are the keywords you’re targeting relevant to site content? If you want your site to rank well for the words your local communities (Toronto, Etobicoke, Mississauga, GTA, Brampton, Oakville), You need to include all of those words in the site content not just in a meta keywords tag.
- Are the targeted keywords being searched? If no one is searching that specific term you are wasting your time targeting it.
- Do page titles contain your targeted keywords? If yours is a dynamic, database-driven site, do the URLs and titles of your pages make use of keywords? i.e. inserting the article name or product name into the page title or blog permalink.
- Does your site use H1 tags for prominent content titles? TIP: If you are running an osCommerce online store you will want to change the class pageHeading to H1.
- Is your copy keyword-rich? It is also useful to bold and to italicize keywords within the copy for user scanability and search engine emphasis.
- How long has it been since you updated your text? Search engines like new content and will return your site higher in a SERP (search engine results page) if you regularly updated your content
- Do text links include targeted keywords that point users to pages within your site?
- Is your navigation visible to search engines? Supply the searchbots with text-based links to all of your pages.
- Do images have descriptive, keyword-rich alternative text (alt tags and title attributes) that are useful for visitors?
- Does your Web site have a visitor site map with text links?
- Does your site have a sitemap.xml file?
- Does your site have a robots.txt file to tell search-bots where to find the sitemap.xml file?
- Is your business listed in Google Local Business Center ? These free map links are at the top of local results and are useful for driving local targeted traffic to your site.
- Do you make use of Webmaster Tools for Google, Yahoo and BING ?
- Have you built inbound links to your site from reputable, related sources?
- Do you avoid free-for-all linking offers? All inbound links are not created equal. If links are generated by a link-farm it will harm your site. Check in webmaster tools to see where your links are coming from.
- Do all the pages in your Web site have keyword-rich meta descriptions?
- Is the exact same content visible to both users and search engine spiders?
- Do you actively use Social Media tools to provide inbound links and drive traffic to your site?
- Do you use Google Analytics to monitor traffic results?
- Does your page load quickly? Google’s Matt Cutts has recently indicated that there is a strong movement within Google to make page load time a ranking factor because pages that load quickly improve the user experience.
- Are there credible Web references to your site (that aren’t links or may be no follow links)? Rumor has it that Google could start to give Web references some weight in search results in a manner similar to the way links are used.
- Is your Web site useful to users? Search engines focus on user satisfaction. If you create a Web site that is useful to users, it’s likely your site will emit many signals that tell the search engines that your site is a good result for users.