Good and Bad SEO Strategies (Black Hat and White Hat)
So know we know all the factors that search engines use to determine your sites rankings across all the different key phrases and individual key words. This overall worth that search engines weigh up is known up as “authority”, or what has now become more commonly known as “Domain Authority” thanks to large online SEO resources like MOZ. Again, to be clear, MOZ’s DA (domain authority) is not used by Google and they have stated that they do not factor in MOZ’s DA as part of their algorithm, after all, when you think about it, Google have their own DA: It’s called their ranking algorithm! Lets also take a quick look at an explanation of MOZ’s DA:
This is taken from Google’s SERP and the key word here is highlighted in grey: “predicts”. MOZ is simply taking an educated guess at a sites ability to rank. These guesses have now spread to whether your site is penalised, an individual pages authority as well as traffic for an individual key term.
The truth is that all these are a useful guide at best. Exceptions to the rule can be found everywhere so it’s important to not take these guides too seriously, especially as Google does not factor them in as they are already hidden inside its very secret algorithm which MOZ and equivalents are simply trying to reverse engineer to sell their services to SEO consultants and SEO companies etc. The point is that traffic is so valuable that everyone is trying to guess what works and what doesn’t, hence why there are a lot of different techniques both good and bad.
Black Hat and White Hat SEO Strategies
But how does Google etc tell the difference between good and bad content and links? You might think that all of it would be good, but like almost anything in life it can be manipulated and fraudulent. Why? Because there is something to gain: traffic. The whole point of being online for most businesses or individuals is to gain traffic. SEO has become a much maligned industry, and rightly so. Not only are people confused as to what it is (as we saw in the start of our last post) but they also don’t know how it works, let alone are aware that bad practices exist that can harm your site. A lot of so called “SEO companies” have spammed their way to results only for their clients to later get punished. Google over time learns all manipulative strategies and then removes their beneficial elements from your domains authority. It is constant battling manipulation and moving the goal posts accordingly.
There are two different kinds of SEO practice, black hat (manipulative and cheating) and white hat (organic and natural). As in real life, cheating sometimes works, but Google is very clever, and your manipulative past can catch up with at any time just like law in real life. So there is obviously only one practice thats of any real use long term. So how do I know or tell the difference as a business? Well, trust and transparency on the part of your SEO company is one, if you are doing this yourself then the other is common sense. If it looks bad or low quality then it probably is.
A confusing thing is that doing something good once, is beneficial. But doing it over and over again is not. It’s not an easy task, but if you use common sense and aren’t trying to deceive Google and do things naturally you will be building some authority to your site over time.
So there are things that you can do to help and maximise your efforts in a co ordinated way with your SEO company or consultant. We’ll look at those next time.