Think of black hats, and it’s likely that witches or perhaps magicians come to mind. When it comes to the online search world, however, black hat SEO is the practice of going against Google’s webmaster guidelines in order to manipulate Google search results in your favour.
Considered both a dark art, and a little bit magic, these practices – which include link spam, hacking into sites, and hurting competitors – thankfully, are dying out. There’s much buzz about it online currently and, while not all are in agreement, a recent forum at Black Hat World suggests that this form of SEO is, in fact, losing its magic.
Whether it be because of Google’s smarter algorithms, or their quick actions to remove sites that violate the rules, it was agreed that black hat SEO is much harder to do than it was years ago, and many ‘black hatters’ claim that the risks are too high and that the effort required is no longer worth the (possible) reward. Many even claim that black hat SEO is dead.
Whatever is causing the decline in the power of black hat tactics, we couldn’t be happier! Pure SEO was started back in 2009 with the goal of providing ethical SEO and SEM practices to New Zealand’s small and medium business market. Eight years on, we have 50 people spread across three countries, doing exactly that. While we don’t particularly call it ‘white hat’ SEO, as it is sometimes named, our vision still remains the same – helping New Zealand businesses to grow ethically.
Other names aside, put simply, ethical SEO is search engine marketing that uses techniques and strategies that search engines consider acceptable. It’s about following the guidelines set by major search engines, rather than trying to deceive them with hidden text, keyword stuffing and the like. To us, this all makes good business sense and gets not only optimal results for search engines, but for users too.
The reality is that those browsing the web are becoming ever more savvy; they can easily decipher between good content and pages that are dripping with keywords at the expense of anything else. Quality content and good responsive design not only gets better results in search, but it also brings better results with your site’s visitors, allowing you to provide value and build trust. SEO-friendly URLs, well-researched (and well used) keywords, blog sections, and a vibrant social media presence also all play a part.
For us, it’s about helping our clients’ websites to be the best in their class, as that’s what we believe ultimately gets results, and allows a business to maintain and add to them in the long-term. Talk to one of the team today for a taste of the Pure SEO brand of magic.