There were two kinds of gunslingers in Western cinema.
Your black hats were typically the villains: unscrupulous, self-interested to an illegal and immoral extreme, usually played by someone like Lee Marvin, Lee Van Cleef, or Lee J. Cobb (if 20th century America has taught us anything, it’s that you should never trust a Lee).
Your white hats were typically the good guys: they shined brightly, they set a good example, and they were usually played by John Wayne or Jimmy Stewart.
In the modern-day great plains of the Google search rankings, these archetypes have re-emerged. If we all lived in a perfect world, we wouldn’t call it “white hat SEO”. We’d just call it “SEO”. Alas, this is not a perfect world. There is the good way to do SEO, and there is the bad way.
A Fistful of Keywords
In order to establish how to do white hat SEO, we must first define it in opposition to black-hat SEOs – the foulest and most depraved outlaws across the entire search landscape.
The purpose of a search engine is to make relevant content easier to find for users. It’s Google’s mission, and it was the mission of AskJeeves and AltaVista before it. Blackhat SEOs artificially inflate their sites and pages using forbidden (or highly frowned-upon) techniques. They’ll pay for links. They’ll insert keywords in irrelevant places (like the alt text) and way too many times. They’ll wait for a page to get indexed, and then swap it out for a totally different page. In olden times, they even used invisitext to hide keywords. The scoundrels.
Black-hat SEO may get short-term results, but Google – a particularly vigilant sheriff – always wises up to it, and updates its algorithm to actively punish these methods. If you want to improve your long-term rankings, it’s time to don the white hat.
For a Few Keywords More
If you want to know how to do white hat SEO, it’s simple: write relevant high-quality content for a human audience. Accumulate followed links by providing comments or writing articles for other sites. Use keywords in readable, English sentences, and in the right places. Create a company-wide best practice and stick to it. A good B2B SEO agency can help you with all these things.
A good rule of thumb is this: if it feels like you’re getting away with something, it’s not white hat SEO. Don’t try to be clever, even if you are: Google sees all, knows all, and punishes without mercy or remorse: if, by some miracle, you do get past it, it won’t be for long.
Because just like in those old Western movies, the white hats tend to ride off into the sunset – while the black hats usually get shot and left for dead.
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