You’ve heard and read the term before – White Hat SEO. Sounds nice and all, but what in the world does it mean and why does it matter anyway?
So, What Does White Hat SEO Really Mean?
Well, to start, let’s consider where the term “white hat” comes from in the first place. In the old Western movies, the good guys always wore white hats and the bad guys wore black hats. The world of SEO (search engine optimization) was quick to adopt the same lingo – after all, it’s a perfect fit. In a nutshell, white hat SEO is good, while black hat SEO is bad.
What Strategies Does White Hat SEO Embrace?
White hat SEO uses only ethical methods to improve a site’s overall presence in the search engine rankings. Specifically, these methods and techniques revolve around organizing a website’s content to help the search engines find it. To be considered white hat, a technique must be transparent and helpful to both visitors and search engines in every way. A few broad white hat SEO strategies include:
- Building relevant and on-topic incoming links to a website.
- Organizing the navigational structure of a website and making it flow.
- Optimizing content so it’s easy to access and understand.
- Making sure a website’s code is clean, properly formatted, and error-free.
- Making a site very visitor-friendly and easy to use.
- White hat SEO does not use tricky or deceptive schemes such as keyword stuffing, using doorway pages, including hidden text, or participating in link farm ploys. Black hat techniques like these are considered spam to search engines, and they’re huge turnoffs to visitors that become aware of them too.
Is It Ever Okay Not To Optimize?
There’s nothing inherently wrong with not optimizing a site. However, if optimization is ignored altogether, the chances of the major search engines finding and favourably ranking a site are slim to none. White hat optimization simply presents a site to the search engines in a way that they can easily include it in their listings for the search terms that most closely correspond with the site’s content and theme. Optimizing can only help a site.
Wrapping It All Up
When it comes down to it, deploying a responsible and ethical white hat SEO strategy is helping both visitors and search engines. And that’s really the true test. When in doubt if an SEO technique is on the up and up or not, just ask yourself, “Will this help improve my visitors’ experience with my site and help the search engines find it at the same time?” When the answer to the question is a resounding “YES,” that’s white hat SEO.