Nowadays SEO is a necessity for the business to grow and promote their brand online using the search engine. Not only it’s affordable and cheaper as compared to traditional ways of advertisement, SEO helps companies to grow their presence online and increase their sales if their page ranking is good and runs on the first page of the search engine locally and globally.
SEO is known as Search Engine Optimization and it is the online method used to increase a website’s position on the search engine results pages (SERPs) on search engine sites such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Companies will need to develop their own SEO strategy to ensure that their business can grow by drawing the traffic to their website which in turn will increase their sales and revenue in the long run. But first, it is important to understand how search engines such as Google or Yahoo use the metric system to rank organic search website placements.
The purpose of a search engine is to provide results that are unbiased and deliver the useful information which the viewer is looking for in the fastest time possible with accurate results. To achieve this, search engines will need to identify all the relevant information online and rank them in terms of relevance and quality. There are easily hundreds of factors involved when search engines rank the websites via the organic search and the best part is the search engines can easily analyze billions of data within seconds. By optimizing the website properly, it will affect the SEO ranking and other related components such as H1 tags, the information that is mentioned in the website meta description, the content and keyword density, permalinks, backlinks and other related methods to leverage and boost the SEO ranking.
Since the search engine uses the algorithm to monitor the ranking of the websites, I will use Google to give some example of how the algorithm works.
Since the release of Google Panda on February 2011. It changes the “house rules” on how the Google’s search results ranking algorithm works and the main agenda is to lower the SEO ranking of “thin or low-quality sites” especially the “content farms” and aim to return higher quality sites to the top or first page of the search result.
As a result, the rankings of news and social networking websites increase and page rankings for websites that contain large amounts of advertisements significantly drop. It also affects the page rankings of all search results up to 12 percent and after the implementation of Google’s Panda rollout, there are reported cases of many website’s owners that complain to Google that scrapers/copyright infringers are getting better rankings than websites with original content.
How Google Panda works are by creating a ratio within the website’s inbound links, reference and search queries for the site’s brand. After that, the ratio is used to create a site-wide modification factor which is then used to create a modification factor for a page based upon a search query. If the page fails to meet a certain threshold and requirements, the modification factor will be applied and in turn, the site’s page will rank lower in the search engine results page.
On April 2012, Google has updated another algorithm known as Google Penguin with the agenda to check and reduce the search engine rankings of websites that have violated the Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. These websites are penalized by using Black Hat SEO techniques to increase the ranking of a webpage artificially by manipulating the number of links pointing to the webpage with the site in order to achieve high page rankings. These tactics are commonly known as link schemes or negative link building
the beginning, Google Penguin’s algorithm has affected a small percentage of search queries in English and other native languages globally and deem them as “highly spammed” languages. But subsequent updates have reduced this issue and Google has emphasized that content was key and website with great and original content would be recognized and given a higher SEO ranking whereas those websites with little or spammy content would be penalized heavily and receive no ranking benefits. It is also important to note that Google has specifically mentioned that doorway pages which are built to attract search engine traffic online, is also against their webmaster guidelines and policy.
To avoid being penalized by Google and other search engines, it is important to know and differentiate the techniques of Black Hat and White Hat as shown below.
Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO is a set of practices that are used to target and increases the website’s SEO ranking or page ranking in the search engines using methods that violate the search engines’ terms of service and policies. By using the Black Hat SEO techniques, the website will have a high risk to be totally banned from the search engines and other related affiliate sites. There are many examples of Black Hat SEO tactics such as Content Automation, Doorway Pages, Hidden Text or Links, Keyword Stuffing, Reporting a Competitor (or Negative SEO), Sneaky Redirects , Cloaking, Link Schemes, Link Farms, Link Wheels or Link Networks and many others.
It is important to report to search engine’s webmaster if the owner suspected his/her website being attacked by online competitors using Black Hat SEO tactics such as malicious hacking, virus or negative SEO campaign using spammy links. This will avoid your website’s SEO ranking to be affected and even ban unnecessary from the search engine itself. Although using Black Hat SEO tactics can boost the site’s page ranking and increase the traffic greatly in short term. It will cost the site’s owner greatly as their website will be re-indexed and banned totally from the search engine in long term.
White Hat SEO
As stated in the name, White Hat SEO is the exact opposite of Black Hat SEO which is SEO tactics that are in line and approved within the webmaster’s policy terms and conditions of the major search engines, including Google. The benefit of using White Hat SEO is that the website’s search rankings on a search engine results page (SERP) will improve while complying with the search engines’ terms of service.
For example, White Hat SEO tactics include using quality content and services, fast site loading times and mobile friendly, using descriptive, rich keywords in the meta tag and making the website more user-friendly.
White Hat SEO techniques are important will not only increase the SEO ranking but it will ensure that the business owner’s website will be not banned from the search engine as it is quite difficult to re-enlist their website back to the search engine if the owner violates the policy.
It is essential to know that getting placed on the first page of a Google search takes time for the ranking to rise thus SEO strategy needs to be a continuous process to maintain the status quo in the search engine. Thus by constantly using the approved and the updated SEO tactics to improve the ranking, site owners will have a better chance to get more traffic directed to their website and earn more revenue in the long run.