6 White Hat SEO Best Practices Straight From The Mouth Of Google
SEO, affectionately known as search engine optimization, rules the Internet.
Google rules SEO.
Now that we have that out of the way, in order for you to harness the power that SEO can have for your business, you have to learn some of the top white hat best practices.
And… the best way to learn these tips is straight from the mouth of Google (okay, straight from the Google blog for webmasters).
This guide lays out six white hat best practices that Google deems important in order for your site not to get penalized by the search engine.
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What Is White Hat SEO?
White hat SEO is the correct way to do SEO. It involves implementing SEO techniques and strategies in a “legal” way.
It is practicing SEO strategies that are genuine, bring valuable information to readers, and not intended to trick search engines.
What is the difference in white hat SEO and black hat SEO?
Black hat SEO is the direct opposite of white hat SEO.
Black hat is using SEO strategies that are underhanded in an effort to intentionally trick the search engines into ranking your site higher in the search engines.
If you are caught using black hat SEO techniques, your site can be penalized in the search engine by not ranking high or by not ranking at all.
White Hat SEO Best Practices
Search engine optimization can be a powerful tool in helping your site and business rank high in search engines, especially Google.
If you are looking to achieve success for your website and business, you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading to learn six white hat SEO tips that are guaranteed to help you rank higher in search engines and build a bigger following.
White Hat SEO Best Practice #1: Don’t Pay For Backlinks
One of the first best practices for SEO is to not pay for backlinks.
Backlinks are links from another website back to your website.
While backlinks can help in rankings for search engines, it is best to gain backlinks organically rather than to pay for backlinks to your site.
What Does Google Have To Say About Backlinks In White Hat SEO?
According to Google, there are three types of backlinks:
- Sponsored (paid)
- User-Generated Content
- No follow
Google says it looks at the attributes that you assign each of the links before it considers whether to include or exclude it from the search engine rankings.
An attribute is a description associated with a link to explain what type of link it is
To define the relationship between the source where the link is and the destination where the link leads.
Even if you do not assign the correct attribute to a link, Google still takes a look at it to determine which type of link it is.
When another site links back to your website because you offer valuable information or resources, not because they were paid to do so…
Google deems this as a reason to rank your site higher in the search engines.
What Happens If You Don’t Practice White Hat SEO For Backlinks?
Based on the attribution you assign to a link (or the attribute Google determines for the link), Google may decide not to rank it in the search engine.
If Google determines that you have a large amount of paid backlinks, it can penalize your site by not ranking the pages of your site in the search engine at all.
This can make it extremely difficult for you to drive traffic to your website and your brick and mortar location because you are not appearing in the search engines when people are searching.
White Hat SEO Best Practice #2: Don’t Keyword Stuff
Another practice to avoid is keyword stuffing.
Keyword stuffing is trying to cram a keyword into your content as many times as possible in an effort to rank for that keyword.
When you are stuffing keywords into your content, it comes across as unnatural. It ends up sounding funny to the reader.
Instead of focusing on providing relevant and useful information to your readers, you are seeing how many times you can get the keyword into the content.
Remember, Google, as well as your readers, like quality over quantity.
What Does Google Have To Say About Keyword Stuffing In White Hat SEO?
Google defines keyword stuffing as:
“The practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results.”
In short, Google says to create quality content around the keyword you are trying to rank for
To use the keywords in a natural way.
Rather than stuffing the keyword into your copy and content unnaturally, use keywords in key places and add them naturally to your writing.
What Happens If You Don’t Practice White Hat SEO For Keyword Stuffing?
Google rewards websites with higher search engine rankings when the site provides useful and relevant information that matches the searcher’s intent.
Google is not going to rank a website that uses keyword stuffing.
In fact, Google may remove the site from the search engine rankings entirely.
White Hat SEO Best Practice #3: Don’t Focus On A Desktop View
If you want your website to have a better chance to rank in search engines, you want to avoid focusing solely on the desktop version of your website as opposed to a mobile version.
There are a few key differences between the desktop version of your website and the mobile version of your site.
The main difference you need to focus on for SEO is that a desktop computer screen typically has more screen space than a mobile device such as a phone or tablet.
Because of the lack of space that a phone or tablet screen has, Google is focusing on mobile-first when it comes to websites.
Google wants your website to be mobile-friendly.
Another reason Google wants your website to be mobile-friendly is that more people are using their phones and tablets to search than they are using their desktop computers.
Google wants to make sure visitors on a mobile device can see all of the information on the screen.
What Does Google Have To Say About Not Having A Mobile-Friendly Site In White Hat SEO?
Google says that they plan to start indexing mobile-friendly websites first, starting in September 2020.
You should test the mobile version of your website to make sure it is mobile-friendly.
If your site is not mobile-friendly, you may need to adjust your template or seek a website designer that can create a mobile-friendly version for you.
What Happens If You Don’t Practice White Hat SEO For A Mobile Site?
That’s if Google indexes it at all.
Google is likely to index your website last if it is not mobile-friendly.
Read this to say:
Google penalizes sites that aren’t mobile-friendly.
White Hat SEO Best Practice #4: Don’t Focus On Quantity Over Quality
Another big mistake website owners make when it comes to SEO is focusing on quantity over quality.
Google is looking for quality content that answers a searcher’s question or provides them with the information they want.
What Does Google Have To Say About Quantity Over Quality In White Hat SEO?
Google says it wants to reward high-quality sites.
The search engine wants searchers to find websites that:
- Provide quality information
- Have a good user experience
- Fulfill the needs of the searcher
In short, Google is more concerned with the quality of the content than it is the quantity ( the number of words or how long the content is).
What Happens If You Don’t Practice White Hat SEO For Quality?
Google is indexing sites that meet the needs of the searcher.
If your site does not provide quality information, offer a great user experience, or fulfill the needs of readers, then it may not rank in the search engine.
Instead of spending hours (or days) doing keyword research to help you create quality content but just ending up frustrated, Portland SEO Growth can help.
White Hat SEO Best Practice #5: Don’t Forget Internal Links
Internal links are used when you link words in your content to other pages on your website.
External links are used when you link words in your content to outside websites or sources.
You should use internal links, where appropriate. A great example of this is when another page on your website provides additional information on a topic.
What Does Google Have To Say About Internal Links In White Hat SEO?
Google says that internal links are:
“A crucial step in site design if you want your site indexed by search engines. It plays a critical role in Googlebot’s ability to find your site’s pages and ensures that your visitors can navigate and enjoy your site.”
What Happens If You Don’t Practice White Hat SEO For Internal Links?
If you do not use internal links, it makes it difficult for search engines to find the pages of your site.
It can also make it difficult for visitors to navigate your site without internal links.
REMEMBER: Google is all about user experience.
White Hat SEO Best Practice #6: Don’t Create Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is having the same content on different pages of your website.
Duplicate content can also be the copying (referred to as scraping) content from another website to add it to your website.
Instead of duplicating content, you should always create original content for each page of your site.
What Does Google Have To Say About Duplicate In White Hat SEO?
Google says to avoid creating duplicate content you should not have substantial amounts of copy that are the same, such as:
- Do not include duplicate content on multiple pages of your site, as subdomains, or as domains
- Avoid creating “cookie-cutter” content
- When dealing with affiliate program content to try to vary it enough that it creates a desire for the visitor to come to your site over another site that is offering the affiliate program, product or service
Google also says duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate to search engine results.
Google recognizes that sometimes duplicate content is 100% necessary.
What Happens If You Don’t Practice White Hat SEO For Duplicate?
Creating and using duplicate content can adversely affect your search engine rankings.
Google does not want to rank pages or sites together that have the exact same content in the search results.
Additionally, when you are trying to rank for the same keyword by using duplicate content, you are competing against yourself for the search engine rankings.
This can actually make it harder to rank high in the search engines.
These white hat SEO tips can make all the difference in your website ranking in search engines like Google.
Learn more about conducting an SEO audit of your site to see if you are practicing these white hat SEO techniques on your own site.
Portland SEO Growth services Portland-based businesses and businesses across the United States. Click here to learn more.