When you're trying to build a brand online and grow your audience through your website, you need to focus on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to do this.
It sounds silly, but no one will find your website no matter how great of a site it is without constant production of high quality, high value content...
And even then, you need to ensure you've optimised your website for SEO and implemented different types of SEO in order to drive organic search traffic to your site.
There's many online "fake marketers" that claim that you can reach more people by stuffing links into your content, or spamming links all over the internet to build backlinks to your site.
Unfortunately, this method doesn't work, and it's often referred to as Black Hat SEO in this space.
So in this blog post, I'll tell you a bit more about White Hat SEO and the Black Hat SEO techniques that you need to avoid...
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation is the process that you go through to optimise your website, video or podcast to help search engines better understand your website and what it's all about.
SEO takes time, and typically, nowadays, can take many months, usually it'll take anywhere from 4 months to 6 months to start to see results...
And just that...
You'll start seeing results, beyond the 1 year point, assuming you've created enough unique, fresh and original content, you should start to see a rapid compounding effect on your site's traffic...
Or, if it's a YouTube video that you've made, or podcast, the same concept applies.
When it comes to implementing SEO tactics into your website or blog, there's two big umbrella categories here...
And I'd stay well clear of listening to any advice that you're told about regarding Black Hat SEO, which we'll get on to soon enough.
Instead, you should focus on White Hat SEO, and you're probably wondering...
What is this type of SEO?
Well, White Hat SEO simply means that you're implementing exactly what the search engines want, and you're following all of the best practices that search engines want to see.
Other words, you're being good.
You should stay within the bounds of implementing these tactics to ensure that your site doesn't get penalized by Google.
When compared to White Hat, Black Hat SEO and the methods surrounding this are quite strong, and by this, I mean are advised against.
But what is it?
It's the use of unethical methods that can sometimes even be illegal to promote your website and try and trick the search engines into thinking your content deserves the number one spot in the search results.
I honestly do suggest going down the rabbit hole and even looking into it, but if you're interested a little more about how it works, here's how...
When you start a new website, it takes months of work to try and get any form of traction, and for the vast majority of people, this is fine.
However, there's some marketers out there that want to try and make a bit of money for instance, really quickly...
Why do they do this you might ask?
Well, imagine the potential amount of search traffic you could drive to your website or blog if you were on page one of Google right?
It's a lot.
One method of trying to "trick" the system and get your website or blog to rank faster, is by using a technique called link stuffing, and it's where you try to stuff many links into different web pages to try and get backlinks.
It's similar to keyword stuffing, except you're dealing with links rather than keywords here.
Okay, know that you're familiar with the method, let's dive deeper into what techniques people are using today to try and forge the search results...
If you're trying to implement strategies to increase traffic, don't go for this approach of stuffing keywords into your content, please?
This practice is where you're going to try and put your keyword into your content without really doing much keyword research beforehand.
I mean, you might've done some research, and decided that the keyword: "mountain bikes" is what you're going to put in your content.
You see, in the eyes of Google, they've already explained why this is a bad idea, and have outlined what their description of this is:
Could you imagine how unnatural a piece of copy would sound if a keyword was at the start of every sentence, or worse still...
After every space?
Mountain bikes are amazing bikes to ride, A mountain bike is a type of mountain bike that allows someone to become more experienced with mountain bikes without knowing what mountain bikes are.
The best way to not stuff keywords into your content is to ensure you've done proper keyword research, and that you know the space you're in at least a little first.
I'm not sure if you remember, or have heard of the Google Panda update?
But back in 2011 Google released what's known as the Panda update, and prior to this coming out, it was difficult for the search engine to understand a piece of content.
Not only was it hard to understand, but also difficult to tell whether the content was of low quality, and sure enough, this update fixed that.
But, marketers and website owners today still practicing Black Hat SEO methods are simply putting out content that is of low value, extremely long and badly formatted.
This isn't great, and search engines can tell whether a piece of content isn't of any value, and they've outlined exactly what defines a low quality piece of content.
Would you read a piece of content if it wasn't formatted?
What about if there was no value whatsoever? No actionable tips, no techniques, nothing...
Just poor quality, no you wouldn't.
This is why it's super critical to create content that's not only engaging for a user, but provides them with a sense of relief knowing that it's covered everything they expected.
Another Black Hat SEO technique that you should know about to avoid is what's called: "Cloaking".
You could think of Cloaking as a form of being invisible to the search engines.
Because Cloaking is the practice of showing one piece of content to your users, and a completely different piece of content to the search engine.
For instance, you could find a result in the search engine that has made it to page one of Google, dries a lot of website traffic, so you click on it...
Only to find that the content is entirely different, and you see what appears to be a completely different web page.
This is cloaking and if you did this at scale, sure, you might get a percentage or two that continue to read the modified content that you're seeing, but unlikely.
Your website's bounce rate will likely be extremely high, and you won't be providing a good quality user experience.
301 redirects are nothing new, in fact, they're used quite often for good reasons.
For example, you'd use a 301 redirect if you've created a page, and then you've changed the page URL but the original URL has some SEO value.
Putting a redirect in place here is obviously going to be needed to prevent users from ending up on the wrong page or worse still, to a 404 page.
Unfortunately, these kind of redirects can also be used as a way of redirecting a user to a completely different page, one that isn't the page they initially clicked on.
Let's say a Black Hat SEO redirect technique has been put into place on a content creator's website and they've got a popular blog post with hundreds of visits per day...
They may decide to redirect this page to a landing page, or a product page to try and sell you some online course that you don't need to get you to opt in to an email list without adding any value.
If you're on WordPress, chances are you get a lot of blog comments right?
Well, this is likely going to be a mixture of bots, and people spamming links in order to try and get the number of backlinks to their website up, because backlinks add a lot of value.
Unfortunately, they don't work.
You'd need thousands of blog comments, genuine comments that come from high domain authority websites in order for this to have any significant impact.
If you're on WordPress, or even if you have a bespoke website, get Google's free reCAPTCHA tool added to your site, it'll help reduce spam and turn off those blog comments in WordPress too!
Avoiding this type of SEO should come as no surprise that I've even mentioned it to you, given that I work tirelessly at implementing White Hat SEO techniques.
And this is what you should be doing as well, so here's some tips to make sure you stay well clear of this sketchy field...
So long as you're actively looking to avoid Black Hat techniques, you'll be on the runway to success, and I know...
It's hard, it's a long game to get your website to gain traction, and you want to see results right now don't you?
I'm in the same position all of the time, but guess what...
I'm still working on creating content that I can come back to and update, make more valuable and you should be doing the same.
Because if you don't, I'm sure there's hundreds if not thousands of other content creators that are trying to get one step ahead of the game.
If you're wondering whether this type of SEO still works, technically, it does.
There's nothing stopping you from stuffing a bunch of keywords and links into some content and hope for the best.
But that's all you'll be doing...
Hoping for the best, because Google and other search engines like Bing are going to catch on to this, and really, do you want your online business and website to succeed in the long term?
You probably do, so I'd strongly suggest sticking with legal methods.
Despite being advised against, still, many marketers are still trying to implement it and forge their ranking within the search engines. With the different techniques that I've covered in this post, I hope you've got the knowledge to add to your tool belt ready to grow your website!
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