White Hat Or Black Hat: Which SEO Hat Should You Wear?

In the world of search engine optimization (SEO), there are two distinct sets of techniques used to increase a site’s search result ranking, or Googleability. You may have heard of “white hat” and “black hat” before, but just what do those terms mean? Is there really more than one way to improve your site’s SEO? Using the right practices can make the difference between your author website being highly trafficked and being banned from search results. Read on for our list of SEO Dos and Don’ts.

White Hat Versus Black Hat

First, let’s understand the lingo. “White hat” refers to SEO practices that are generally considered professionally acceptable, and “black hat” refers to SEO practices generally considered unethical and unprofessional.

In most cases, white hat practices will take longer to generate a positive result in search engines but will use a more organic approach. Conversely, black hat practices will provide almost instant gratification but will include inorganic methods of improving SEO. Plus, if search engines discover a site is using black hat practices, it may lower the site’s rankings or remove it from search results altogether.

Let’s take a look at the list.

SEO Dos – White Hat

  • Optimize text/content on your author website with special keywords designed to increase the likelihood of search engines indexing your site. If you don’t know about choosing keywords, read: Five Essential Tips For Writing Web Text.
  • Use social media to cross-promote your author website in order to drive traffic to your author website organically.
  • Send frequent emails to members of your mailing list with links to fresh content on your author website.
  • Schedule contests and other promotions to increase your following on social media (and traffic to your site).
  • Create incentives such as free copies of your book, etc. to fans for commenting on blog articles on your author website.

The bottom line: Interact, offer great content, get people genuinely interested, AND regularly use the keywords that you want Google to associate with your site.

SEO Don’ts – Black Hat

  • Create pages on your author website filled with SEO keywords but little to no meaningful or helpful content.
  • Share links to your author website’s content on social media without interacting with your fans.
  • Spam members of your mailing list with links to unchanged content.
  • Add emails addresses to your mailing list without the consent of the emails address owners.
  • Pay for or create fake social media accounts to follow your social media profiles.
  • Spam the comment sections of other websites with links to your own author website.

There are many different methods for increasing the traffic of your author website via SEO. While the final decision for how you want to increase your site’s searchability is up to you, we recommend focusing on the white hat options we discussed.

While positive results may take a little longer to yield, white hat SEO techniques will lay the framework for a more stable search engine ranking and put your conscience at ease at the same time.

QUESTION: Have you ever fallen for a website’s black hat practices?

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