What is Search Engine Optimization and How it Works?

Welcome to My Blog! Here You are Going to Understand About Search Engine Optimization, How Does Search Engine Optimization Work? What is Search Engine Optimization? Is Search Engine Optimization is important? Once we start SEO, how long will it take to get rankings? How long will it take to see increases in traffic with SEO? What are the topics in SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is a very vast topic let's get into it!


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Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art and science of getting pages to rank higher in search engines such as Google. Because search is one of the main ways in which people discover content online, ranking higher in search engines can lead to an increase in traffic to a website.

In Google and other search engines, the results page often features paid ads at the top of the page, followed by the regular results or what search marketers call the "organic search results". Traffic that comes via SEO is often referred to as "organic search traffic" to differentiate it from traffic that comes through paid search. Paid search is often referred to as search engine marketing (SEM) or pay-per-click (PPC).


Search engine optimization is a key part of online marketing because search is one of the primary ways that users navigate the web.

Search results are presented in an ordered list, and the higher up on that list a site can get, the more traffic the site will tend to receive. For example, for a typical search query, the number one result will receive 40-60% of the total traffic for that query, with the number two and three results receiving significantly less traffic. Only 2-3% of searchers click beyond the first page of search results. Thus, even a small improvement in search engine rankings can result in a website receiving more traffic and potential business.

Because of this, many businesses and website owners will try to manipulate the search results so that their site shows up higher on the search results page (SERP) than their competitors. This is where SEO comes in.


How does Search Engine Optimization work


Search engines such as Google use an algorithm or set of rules to determine what pages to show for any given query. These algorithms have evolved to be extremely complex, and take into account hundreds or even thousands of different ranking factors to determine the rankings of their SERPs. However, there are three core metrics that search engines evaluate to determine the quality of a site and how it should rank:

  • Links - Links from other websites play a key role in determining the ranking of a site in Google and other search engines. The reason is, a link can be seen as a vote of quality from other websites since website owners are unlikely to link to other sites that are of poor quality. Sites that acquire links from many other sites gain authority (called "PageRank" in Google) in the eyes of search engines, especially if the sites that are linking to them are themselves authoritative.

  • Content - In addition to looking at links, search engines also analyze the content of a webpage to determine if it would be relevant for any given search query. A large part of SEO is in creating content that is targeted towards the keywords that search engines' users are searching for.

  • Page structure - The third core component of SEO is page structure. Because webpages are written in HTML, how the HTML code is structured can impact a search engine’s ability to evaluate a page. Including relevant keywords in the title, URL, and headers of the page and making sure that a site is crawlable are actions that site owners can take to improve the SEO of their site.

The search engine optimization process involves optimizing each of these core components of search engine algorithms in order to rank higher in the search results.


  • Good SEO involves many different activities, such as:

  • Identifying relevant keywords with good search traffic potential

  • Creating high-quality, useful content and optimizing it for search engines and for users

  • Including relevant links from high-quality sites

  • Measuring the results

From the outset, it’s important that you understand the differences between the organic, natural search synonymous with SEO and paid search. There are five key differences:


Position

The first difference is that paid search results appear at the top of search engine results pages, and organic results appear beneath them.


Time

Another key difference between paid and organic search is time. With paid search, you get near-instant results, sometimes in minutes; whereas, with organic search, results take more time - often weeks, months, and even years. So you have to play the medium to long-term game with organic search.


Payment

When it comes to paying, well, as the name suggests, with paid search traffic is paid. You pay-per-click (PPC) on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis. What that means is, you pay a fee every time a user clicks on your ad. So instead of relying on organic traffic to your website, you buy traffic for your page by paying Google to show your ad when your visitor does a search for your keyword. For organic search, traffic is free, although it does require an investment of both resources and time.


ROI

In terms of the return on investment or ROI, it's actually much easier to measure with paid search. That's partly because Google provides more keyword data that you can capture in Google Analytics. However, with paid search, ROI can stagnate or decline over time. With organic search, ROI is a little bit harder to measure, but it often improves over time. Over the long term, organic search can offer a very good return on investment.


Search engines such as Google and Bing use bots to crawl pages on the web, going from site to site, collecting information about those pages, and putting them in an index. Think of the index like a giant library where a librarian can pull up a book (or a web page) to help you find exactly what you’re looking for at the time.


Next, algorithms analyze pages in the index, taking into account hundreds of ranking factors or signals, to determine the order pages should appear in the search results for a given query. In our library analogy, the librarian has read every single book in the library and can tell you exactly which one will have the answers to your questions.


Our SEO success factors can be considered proxies for aspects of the user experience. It’s how search bots estimate exactly how well a website or web page can give the searcher what they’re searching for.


Unlike paid search ads, you can’t pay search engines to get higher organic search rankings, which means SEO experts have to put in the work. That’s where we come in.

Our Periodic Table of SEO Factors organizes the factors into six main categories and weights each based on its overall importance to SEO. For example, content quality and keyword research are key factors of content optimization, and crawlability and speed are important sites architecture factors.


The newly updated SEO Periodic Table also includes a list of Toxins that detract from SEO best practices. These are shortcuts or tricks that may have been sufficient to guarantee a high ranking back in the day when the engines’ methods were much less sophisticated. And, they might even work for a short time now — at least until you’re caught.

We’ve also got a brand new Niches section that deep-dives into the SEO success factors behind three key niches: Local SEO, News/Publishing, and Ecommerce SEO. While our overall SEO Periodic Table will help you with the best practices, knowing the nuances of SEO for each of these Niches can help you succeed in search results for your small business, recipe blog, and/or online store.


The search algorithms are designed to surface relevant, authoritative pages and provide users with an efficient search experience. Optimizing your site and content with these factors in mind can help your pages rank higher in the search results.




What is Search Engine Optimization?

SEO is a fundamental part of digital marketing because people conduct trillions of searches every year, often with commercial intent to find information about products and services. Search is often the primary source of digital traffic for brands and complements other marketing channels. Greater visibility and ranking higher in search results than your competition can have a material impact on your bottom line.


However, the search results have been evolving over the past few years to give users more direct answers and information that is more likely to keep users on the results page instead of driving them to other websites.


Also note, features like rich results and Knowledge Panels in the search results can increase visibility and provide users more information about your company directly in the results.

In sum, SEO is the foundation of a holistic marketing ecosystem. When you understand what your website users want, you can then implement that knowledge across your campaigns (paid and organic), across your website, across your social media properties, and more.


Search engines are used by people when they have a query and are searching on the internet for the answer. Search engine algorithms are computer programs that look for clues to give searchers the exact results they are looking for. Search engines rely on algorithms to find web pages and decide which ones to rank for any given keyword. There are three steps to how search engines work: crawling, which is the discovery stage; indexing, which is the filing stage; and ranking, which is the retrieval stage.


Step 1: Crawling

The first step is crawling. Search engines send out web crawlers to find new pages and record information about them. We sometimes call these web crawlers ‘spiders’ or ‘robots’. Their purpose is to discover new web pages that exist, and also to periodically check the content on pages they’ve previously visited to see whether they've changed or been updated.

Search engines crawl web pages by following links they’ve already discovered. So if you have a blog post and it's linked from your homepage, when a search engine crawls your homepage, it will then look for another link to follow and may follow the link to your new blog post.


Step 2: Indexing

The second step is indexing. Indexing is when a search engine decides whether or not it is going to use the content that it has crawled. If a crawled web page is deemed worthy by a search engine, it will be added to its index. This index is used at the final ranking stage. When a web page or piece of content is indexed, it is filed and stored in a database where it can later be retrieved. Most web pages that offer unique and valuable content are placed into the index. A web page might not be placed in the index if:

  • Its content is considered duplicate

  • Its content is considered low value or spammy

  • It couldn’t be crawled

  • The page or domain lacked inbound links

Step 3: Ranking

The third step is really the most important step, and that is ranking. Ranking can only happen after the crawling and indexing steps are complete. So once a search engine has crawled and indexed your site, your site can be ranked.

There are more than 200 ranking signals that search engines use to sort and rank content, and they all fit under the three pillars of SEO: technical optimization, on-page optimization, and off-page optimization. Some examples of signals that search engines use to rank web pages are:

  • Keyword presence in the title tag – Whether the keyword or a synonym was mentioned on the page and within the title tag

  • Loading speed of web page – Whether the web page loads quickly and is mobile-friendly

  • Website reputation – Whether the web page and website is considered reputable for the topic being searched for

A good SEO strategy is to optimize your website to improve user experience and satisfaction and try to get the most out of the RankBrain ranking factor.

The three most effective ways to do this are:

  • Optimize for medium-tail keywords (key terms consisting of two to three words).

  • Optimize page titles and descriptions for clicks so that when someone searches, your listing is more likely to be clicked. The click-through rate is the percentage of people who see you on Google and then go ahead and click through to your website.

  • Optimize content to increase dwell time (the length of time people stay on the page) and reduce bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who leave after only viewing one page).

Remember, Google’s top three ranking factors are:

  • Links

  • Content

  • RankBrain

Search engine optimization done properly can have the potential to dramatically increase the amount of traffic that a website receives, but all of that search traffic won’t help grow a business unless it converts into paying customers. This is where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes in.


Conversion rate optimization involves using methods such as A/B testing to make changes to websites and measure the impact they have on a site’s conversion rate. Successful search marketers know that just getting traffic to a site is not enough, what the traffic does once it arrives on the site is just as important.


CRO was once a difficult and highly technical process, but thanks to software such as Optimizely, running tests to improve conversions on your site is as easy as inserting a single line of Javascript. Best of all, Optimizely’s visual editor allows you to make changes to a site without having to write a single line of code.



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White Hat Seo


White hat SEO is the body of approved search engine optimization tactics designed to increase a website's position on a search engine results page

Search engine results that appear as a result of approved methods, rather than payment or trickery, are referred to as organic search results. Because paid ads and sponsored links are prominently placed on search results pages, the portion of visible search results dedicated to organic results is limited, so top placement is very desirable.

Tactics for improving a website's placement in search results include:

  • Ensuring that the title and URL include important keywords.

  • Adding sufficient relevant keywords to text on the page -- but not keyword stuffing.

  • Adding links and buttons that will draw a reader deeper into the site.

  • Featuring links to social media accounts and interacting with users in those accounts.

  • Posting video content.

According to Chitko, an ad network, the top organic search result receives 33 percent of the traffic; the second result receives 18 percent and the numbers decline sharply for results that appear lower on the page.

White hat SEO contrasts with black hat SEO, which involves exploitative and/or deceptive methods of attempting to improve a website's search results ranking.


To improve a Web page's position in a SERP, you have to know how search engines work. Search engines categorize Web pages based on keywords -- important terms that are relevant to the content of the page. In our example, the term "skydiving" should be a keyword, but a term like "bungee jumping" wouldn't be relevant.

Most search engines use computer programs called spiders or crawlers to search the Web and analyze individual pages. These programs read Web pages and index them according to the terms that show up often and in important sections of the page. There's no way for a search engine spider to know your page is about skydiving unless you use the right keywords in the right places.

Here are some general tips about keyword placement:


  • One place you should definitely include keywords is in the title of your Web page. You might want to choose something like "Skydiving 101" or "The Art of Skydiving."

  • Another good place to use keywords is in headers. If your page has several sections, consider using header tags and including important keywords in them. In our example, headers might include "Skydiving Equipment" or "Skydiving Classes."

  • Most SEO experts recommend that you use important keywords throughout the Web page, particularly at the top, but it's possible to overuse keywords. Your skydiving site would obviously use the word "skydiving" as a keyword, but it might also include other keywords like "base jumping" or "parachute." If you use a keyword too many times, some search engine spiders will flag your page as spam. That's because of a black hat technique called keyword stuffing, but more on that later.


Keywords aren't the only important factor search engines take into account when generating SERPs. Just because a site uses keywords well doesn't mean it's one of the best resources on the Web. To determine the quality of a Web page, most automated search engines use link analysis. Link analysis means the search engine looks to see how many other Web pages link to the page in question.


Going back to our skydiving example, if a search engine sees that hundreds of other Web pages related to skydiving are linking to your Web page, the engine will give your page a higher rank. Search engines like Google weigh the importance of links based on the rank of the linking pages. In other words, if the pages linking to your site are themselves ranked high in Google's system, they boost your page's rank more than lesser-ranked pages.


So, how do you get sites to link to your page? That's a tricky task, but make sure your page is a destination people want to link to, and you're halfway there. Another way is to offer link exchanges with other sites that cover material related to your content. You don't want to trade links with just anyone because many search engines look to see how relevant the links to and from your page are to the information within your page. Too many irrelevant links and the search engine will think you're trying to cheat the system.


The term “white hat SEO” refers to SEO tactics that are in line with the terms and conditions of the major search engines, including Google.

White hat SEO is the opposite of Black Hat SEO. Generally, white hat SEO refers to any practice that improves your search rankings on a search engine results page (SERP) while maintaining the integrity of your website and staying within the search engines’ terms of service. These tactics stay within the bounds as defined by Google. Examples of white hat SEO include:

  • Offering quality content and services

  • Fast site loading times and mobile-friendliness

  • Using descriptive, keyword-rich meta tags

  • Making your site easy to navigate

Examples of black hat SEO, by contrast, include purchasing links or using deceptive cloaking techniques. Any tactics that are considered deceitful or harmful for consumers would qualify as a black hat. Black hat tactics are extremely risky and, as Google’s algorithms evolve, less and less likely to work.


Why Are White Hat SEO Techniques Important?


Failure to engage only in White Hat SEO practices can get your site banned from Google and other search engines.

As the number one search engine, Google is visited by billions of people per day, and each visit presents the potential for your site to be discovered by a new user.

Google is an undeniably powerful source of the traffic to your website, and being banned can result in a drastic drop in website traffic and even business. Consider all the work that goes into your website and then think about what it would be like to be banned from the internet’s most commonly used search engine. What’s worse, once you’re banned from Google, there is no guarantee that they will ever re-list you. A lifetime ban from Google would have tremendous consequences.

Why risk it? Check out a complete description of Google-approved SEO techniques at Webmaster Guidelines. Google’s Webmaster resources are the go-to place to learn Google white hat SEO practices.




What Makes Content White Hat?


In this section, we’ll give a brief overview of what makes a content white hat, which is more attractive in Google’s very particular eyes. We recommend that you use this information to review any content on your website to ensure you’ve created a website that Google’s algorithm will deem worthy of awarding higher rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs). You should also keep these guidelines in mind as you add any content or implement any changes to your site in the future.

  • Relevant keywords: If someone types “Honda rims” into Google and clicks on a link only to find themselves on a page that features Honda tires instead, they’re going to click away from that page. A frequent poor bounce rate suggests to Google that this page isn’t giving users what they’re looking for. This means that your rankings will plummet and that you’re investing in a keyword that doesn’t create conversions. It’s important to only target keywords that are relevant to their respective landing pages.

  • Unique content: It’s important that users feel they have something to gain from the websites they’re browsing. Your website should be helpful as well as unique. Don’t steal content from other sites or even from other pages on your own website. Blogs and about pages that are fleshed out and that have unique copies are more likely to keep users on your site longer—and gain their trust.

  • Backlinks: One way Google can determine the relevancy and usefulness of a site is through how many backlinks it has earned from other reliable websites. This means that outside websites that also practice white hat SEO are linking back to yours. When several websites are confident in sending their users to your site, this is essentially a vote of confidence. What you don’t want is for low-quality websites or comment sections in blogs and videos to link back to your website, as Google doesn’t deem these sites trustworthy.

  • Easy-to-read content: Internet users looking to receive immediate answers don’t want to pull up dense pages of text that they have to pour through to find what they need. What they want instead is something they can skim. H2s and bullet points are great options for making a website more user-friendly.

Your focus may be to make your website look good in the eyes of Google, but this search engine’s algorithm ultimately loops back the user. Google distinguishes between white hat and black hat SEO is because they want their users to have a positive experience and use their search engine as opposed to their competitors. They created the rules above because these rules make web browsing easy. When you think about what Google is looking for, you have to consider how the above points factor into our own online expectations.


Who does white hat SEO benefit the most? In a word: everyone. It benefits Google because it encourages users to use their search engine; it benefits users who want to find what they’re looking for quickly; and it benefits website owners, as they can earn visitors without “cheating.” In this section, we’ll focus on what white hat SEO can do for you.

  • Improve your rankings: A marketing campaign that follows Google’s best practices—such as matching keywords with relevant landing pages, creating good content, and receiving reliable backlinks—will improve your rankings on the SERPs.

  • Save money long-term: Companies that practice black hat SEO do so because they’re hoping to see an immediate ROI, but this will only benefit them short-term, as Google will eventually penalize them. Running a marketing campaign generally requires an investment, but white hat SEO yields more consistent long-term results.

  • Produces good content: As we mentioned, everything you do should be with the intention of creating a positive customer experience. Users recognize quality content, and they’ll ultimately reward you for it.

  • Prepares your site for updates: There’s no way to know what Google’s next big update will encompass. However, if you keep in mind their goal of providing a good customer experience, you can be sure that a fully optimized website will be out of harm’s way.

Should You Implement White Hat SEO Methods?


Definitely! Implementing White Hat SEO practices is the best way to create an ethical, sustainably successful website and business.

Here are some of the steps you should follow to make sure your SEO methods are strictly white hat.

Offer Quality Content and Services

Create high-quality content that meets your visitors’ needs and helps solve their problems. Use SEO keyword research tools to discover the most relevant keywords that your site content should be optimized for.


Then focus on using those keywords in great content, such as how-to articles and videos, that matches the intent of the keyword and your end-user.


Use Descriptive, Keyword-Rich Meta Tags

Follow best practices when creating meta descriptions for each page on your website to help search engines and users discover your content.


Make Your Site Easy to Navigate

Be mindful when organizing your site’s Information Architecture. Sites that are easy for users to get around tend to perform better in organic search results too.


What Happens if You Ignore White Hat SEO?


Following the rules and creating a campaign takes time. You have to make an investment, create a quality website, and find good sites that are willing to link back to yours. Taking the easier route may seem far simpler—you can invest less money and spend time on other areas of your business. However, we can’t stress enough how important it is to follow these best practices. If you don’t, your business may greatly suffer in the future.


Start Using White Hat


In a 2007 film called Stardust, Robert De Niro plays a character named Captain Shakespeare. At one point in the film, he makes a profound statement: “Reputation, you know—a lifetime to build, seconds to destroy.” A good website takes time to build, but it will, ideally, eventually yield a profit. When someone uses incorrect practices, their reputation with Google can crumble in the few minutes it takes to implement an update. When you’re building a business, patience is required. Let’s review a few things you should do to continue practicing white hat SEO:

  • Have relevant landing pages and keywords

  • Create content that’s valuable and unique

  • Only seek out backlinks from reliable sites

  • Know your audience and what they want

  • Stay educated on Google’s guidelines and updates



White Hat SEO Techniques to Double Traffic


If you want to build a sustainable website that provides long-term returns on your investment, go for white hat SEO methods to expand the business. Here are some time-tested techniques that professionals emphasize when they talk about what is white hat SEO.

  • Focus on improving user experience

The best way to provide top-notch service to the user is to revitalize the UX or web design. For those owners who do not have the time to design their website, hiring a professional web designer is advised. Also, keep an eye on the site navigation factor. Make sure that the user finds it easy to browse the site.

  • Invest time in proper keyword research

Using the right keywords, and that too ethically is one of the main tactics of white hat SEO techniques. You can make use of keyword research tools to check which keywords have a higher ranking in your business domain. If you want your website’s keyword research done by experts, choose a reputed SEO service that is followed by top-notch user feedback.

  • Use keywords related to the content

One of the most important white hat SEO techniques in 2021 is to ensure that all the keywords you use are related to the content. Keyword stuffing is now easily detected by Google. Google’s machine-learning-based algorithm, RankBrain, can set up the context for the crawlers to identify organically used keywords.

  • Include keyword-rich titles and meta descriptions

Titles and meta descriptions hold a lot of power in terms of enhancing white hat SEO. Following the best practices in creating titles and meta descriptions can significantly improve your rankings on SERPs. Use high search volume keywords organically in meta descriptions and titles to improve your Web page's visibility on search engines.

  • The content should be of premium quality

When discussing white hat SEO techniques, you have to talk about the optimization of content. On-page SEO, which includes creating high-quality content with effective meta descriptions, can bring significant traffic to your web pages. Another technique to use white hat SEO through content is to write original content in a manner that convinces the user about your message.

  • Create long and authoritative content

Creating high-quality content targeted at benefitting the reader rather than search engines is the pillar of modern-day SEO. To create authoritative content, the information presented must be as detailed as possible. It would be ideal if it included external links to high-domain authority (DA) websites. When users find that the information on your website is rich and valuable, you are rewarded by search engines in the form of high rankings!

  • Include descriptive URLs

Search engines use your URL structure to get an overview of what your content is about. Hence, URLs should be short and precise. They should convey what search engines need to know about your individual Web pages. For instance, this page is about white hat SEO. So, the URL for the page is constructed in a way that achieves the goal of educating the search engines about the information this Web page contains, which is :

https://www.infidigit.com/blog/what-is-white-hat-seo/.

  • Ensure Internal Linking

Internal links help search engines understand your website better and help readers access relevant information on your website without any hassle. Internal linking also boosts the rankings of the pages linked by sending link authority to those pages. This ultimately helps search engines index your websites more efficiently.

  • Ensure Image Optimization

Image optimization is one of the white hat SEO methods that many websites often ignore. However, it can prove to be quite important. Search engines cannot “see” images in the way that we do. Hence, using alt tags is crucial. Google Images is the second most searched platform in the world. Using descriptive alt tags enriched with keywords can help Google understand the context of your image, and ultimately help improve your search engine result page (SERP) rankings.

  • Link building is another effective white hat SEO techniques

Link building occurs when other websites have hyperlinks redirecting to your page and thus increase the inbound traffic of your website. Google strictly advises using link building to avoid dilution of the page quality. Link building services will help you find the high-ranking links for your outreach and improve the page traffic.

  • Focus on broken link building

This is an underdog white hat SEO technique. Link building holds a lot of potential in general SEO, but broken link building is even more effective. Firstly, find the Web page that you’d like to get a link from. Then, find out if that page has any broken links. Finally, if you have a Web page that can substitute that link, contact the site’s owner, and ask them to replace the broken link with your link.

  • Invite guest bloggers

Guest posting is a white hat SEO technique that can significantly build your domain authority. There are two ways you can go about guest blogging, both of which Google identifies as very different:

  1. Publishing guest blogs on authority websites in your niche. This is the most effective way of guest blogging, as it ultimately gives your website exposure and also builds authority for your own website.

  2. Publishing guest blogs on any website regardless if it is related to your domain. This method might be risky, as Google can flag your blogs as “link schemes” if you spam guest blogs across various websites.

  • Opt for smart website structure

If you have just launched your website and it only has a few pages, then website architecture doesn’t play a big role. However, as your website grows, it becomes critical to have a solid website architecture. A seamlessly organized website structure can significantly help the link authority flow from one Web page to the other. This improves the rankings of all your Web pages.

  • Ensure that website is mobile-friendly

Since Google announced its mobile-first indexing in 2020, ensuring the mobile-friendliness of websites has become crucial for websites to rank on the search engine. Use tools like Mobile-Friendly Test to assess if Google considers your website as “easy to use” for mobile users.

  • Use schema mark-up

Schema is a collection of a multitude of HTML tags, which can be added to any Web page. These tags are responsible for creating an enhanced description of the Web pages which appear on search pages in the form of rich snippets. These snippets make your search results stand out and make it easier for search engines to understand your page’s content.

  • Satisfying user intent

Satisfying user intent is the top priority of search engines. It is so important that Google has its user satisfaction measuring AI tool, RankBrain, which can measure whether the users are satisfied with the results or not.

If your content offers what the user is looking for, Google ranks your page higher. This is why quality content stays at the top in white hat SEO techniques. Knowing your audience and optimizing your content with audience-specific keywords is one important tactic to achieving higher user satisfaction. Along with these using videos, images and skimming content are other ways.

  • Fix errors

Google Search Console is your friend here. You can find your site’s technical SEO problems and errors using this tool and optimize your site for search engine ranking. The ‘Index Coverage Report’ in Search Console tells you if Google has trouble finding your pages by providing ‘pages with errors’ data.


Till here all info about White hat Seo is Explained in detail if you still didn't understood then watch this video below



What is Grey Hat SEO?



In this guide, we’ll answer the question, “what is grey hat SEO?”

You may have heard of white hat SEO or black hat SEO, but what are grey hat SEO techniques?


Below you’ll find out everything you need to know about this search engine optimization strategy, including what gray hat SEO is, how it differs from white and black hat SEO and a list of the most popular grey hat activities for increasing search engine rankings visibility.

Note: Grey hat SEO also goes by the name “gray hat SEO”. The word grey has two spellings: grey and gray. And because this is an SEO-optimized blog post, I’ll switch between the two variations throughout the content to improve the rankings for both keyword phrases. (That’s SEO in action.)


What is Grey Hat Seo?


Grey hat SEO is an SEO practice that combines white hat and black hat SEO. Grey hat SEO is riskier than white hat SEO because it exploits the search engine guidelines to increase a page’s rankings on the SERPs. Grey hat SEO techniques are black masquerading as white.

That’s the basic definition for what is grey hat SEO. Let’s now get into some of the most popular gray hat search engine optimization strategies being used today.


1. Using Expired Domains


This is a common grey hat SEO strategy that borderlines between black and white SEO.

It refers to buying a domain that the owner has let expire but still has a lot of authority because of the number and quality of backlinks still pointing to the site.

A gray hat SEO method with expired domains can be applied in two ways:

  • Use a 301 redirect to redirect all of the link power to your current domain to improve its authority.

  • Going to a site like Wayback Machine, finding archives of the old content, and republishing it on the site to resurrect it back to how it was before the domain expired. This can give you an instantly successful website with targeted traffic.

2. Buying or Trading Links


Buying links and trading links are the second most popular grey hat SEO techniques webmasters use to increase authority and rankings for their websites.

However, link schemes like this are technically black hat SEO tactics because they violate Google’s Webmaster guidelines.

This gray hat SEO method comes in four primary forms:

  • Buying a link placement on an existing article that’s indexed in Google.

  • Buying a guest post opportunity that includes a link back to your website.

  • Trading links with another site owner (i.e. I link to you and you link to me).

  • Trading a product or service in exchange for a link on someone’s site.

3. Using Private Blog Networks (PBN)


A private blog network (PBN) is a group of websites that you control which are used to build backlinks to a single website to help it rank higher in Google.

The purpose of a PBN for gray hat SEO purposes is to link to one central domain to pass the most link equity to it to improve the authority.

PBN backlinks are actually a black hat SEO strategy, but if you keep it truly private without anyone knowing about it, and you cover your tracks so that Google cannot detect that you own all of the websites, then this technique does fall into gray hat SEO territory.


4. Building Micro-Sites and Blogs


Building a micro-site or blog is a gray hat SEO technique that can improve your search engine rankings without getting penalized.


It’s kind of like a PBN but is much safer because you don’t own the domains that you’re using to link back to your site. They’re also a public network, not private.

Common examples of building micro-sites for SEO purposes include setting up a blog on multiple web 2.0 and content curations sites with high domain authorities, such as Medium, Weebly, Blogger, Tumblr, Live Journal, etc.

See my post on how to do SEO for a blog for tips on optimizing blog content.


5. Spinning Content


Spinning content is another common grey hat SEO method that can work for getting ranked in Google. However, it’s unethical and not a good practice to follow long-term.

But here’s how it works:

Spinning content is when you take content from another website and then reword it on a sentence-by-sentence basis so that it can’t be recognized by plagiarism software.

Once the content is spun, you post it on your own site so that it can get ranked for the keywords you want to target. Spinning content like this allows you to get around a potential duplicate content penalty, which we’ll cover next.


6. Creating Duplicate Content


Duplicate content is another gray SEO tactic that’s being used in the world of search engine optimization these days.

This technique includes copying and pasting large blocks of content across the same website or various domains.

There are three ways duplicate content is used for SEO:

  • To target similar types of search queries without having to write new content. The most common example is with local SEO keywords where multiple pages are created for each local city. Every page has duplicate content except the city name is swapped out for the city being targeted. This strategy will allow the appropriate page to rank for the target phrase while the other pages get suppressed.

  • Copying content from another website and posting in on a strong domain can sometimes outrank the original source of the content so the target site can steal the traffic.

  • Duplicate content can be used to flood the search engine with multiple copies of the same text in hopes that one of them will stick and rank high for the target keywords.

7. Automating Content


Automating content is when you use software to automate the manual processes required in content creation. The purpose is to feed your blog with a constant stream of content so you have more opportunities to rank higher in Google and to get traffic.

Content automation is done in two ways:

  • By scraping content from other websites and combining it into one page on your site. Article spinning can also be used here to make the content unique and undetectable for plagiarism.

  • By using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to automatically write content for your site. AI content creation tools use natural language generation (NLG) to write the content without any human involvement.

8. Increasing Keyword Density with Hidden Text

Using hidden text is a black hat SEO method that violates Google’s Webmaster guidelines. However, gray hat SEO tries to bend these rules by tricks for hiding keywords from the user but still allows them to be crawled by the search engine.

The most common gray hat SEO techniques for hiding text include:

  • Locating text behind an image.

  • Using CSS to position the text off-screen.

9. Cloaking


Cloaking is an SEO strategy that presents one set of content or URLs to human users and another set to search engines.

Cloaking is a deceptive grey hat SEO tactic that tricks search engines like Google to get the desired rankings for target keywords while giving users different results than they expect.


10. Submitting Your Site to Web Directories


One of the most overused grey hat SEO techniques is web directory submissions.

Adding your website directories can get you a free backlink to your site, and when done in small numbers, it’s considered a white SEO tactic.

But once you start overusing this strategy to generate tens or hundreds of links to your site, it tips into gray hat SEO territory. Especially if you manipulate the keyword anchor text for the backlink.


11. Creating Multiple Social Media Accounts


Having one social media account for your business on each social network is a white hat SEO method for sharing links and gaining more exposure for your content.

However, if you create multiple social media accounts to artificially inflate the sharing and linking to your website, then that’s a gray hat SEO method.


12. Paying for Positive Reviews


Google is known for rewarding websites with higher rankings that have positive reviews. This is especially true for local SEO.

One way to trick the algorithm in your favor is to pay people to leave a positive review for your listing. You can find an online service provider for positive reviews or entice current customers to review your site for a discount or bonus.

Either way, it’s grey hat SEO all the way.



What is Black Hat Seo?


Black hat SEO is a practice against search engine guidelines, used to get a site ranking higher in search results. These unethical tactics don’t solve for the searcher and often end in a penalty from search engines. Black hat techniques include keyword stuffing, cloaking, and using private link networks.

Appearing in search results is vital for business growth, but there’s a right and wrong way of doing search engine optimization. The dark art of black hat SEO is the wrong way. Black hat SEO seeks to game search engine algorithms, rather than solve for the user. Instead of earning the right to rank highly on search engine results pages black hat SEO uses shady tactics to get you there. Sustained use of black hat SEO techniques is likely to damage your presence in search engines rather than improve it.


Improve your website with effective technical SEO. Start by conducting this audit. Improve your website with effective technical SEO. Start by conducting this audit.

If you are new to the search space, the purpose of search engines like Google is to provide the best results when someone completes a search. They want people to have a great search experience and ensure the results they provide do not include spam. They do this automatically through algorithms or manual actions that aim to recognize and penalize those engaging in black hat SEO.


Search engine algorithms have gotten more sophisticated over time, which is why you should avoid black hat SEO at all costs. White hat SEO is a much better method of doing search engine optimization. It’s a more ethical approach that abides by the terms and guidelines set out by search engines. White hat SEO consists of creating quality content and a better overall user experience for people visiting your site.


Black hat SEO goes against the guidelines set by search engines and manipulates them to gain higher rankings. It can lead to being wiped completely from search results or gaining a lower position. White hat SEO is a more ethical way of doing SEO by creating quality content and a good user experience.


This article will explain what black hat SEO techniques involve so you can make sure to avoid them when devising your organic search strategy.

Black Hat Techniques in SEO


Keyword Stuffing


Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of filling your content with irrelevant keywords in an attempt to manipulate where the page ranks on search results pages. Adding multiple variations of keywords where they add no value creates a bad experience for users. It may also cause your page to rank for irrelevant queries.

Google explains keyword stuffing as:

  • Lists of phone numbers without substantial added value.

  • Blocks of text listing cities and states a web page is trying to rank for

  • Repeating the same words or phrases so often that it sounds unnatural.

Here’s an example of keyword stuffing for a website selling outbound marketing software:

“We are in the business of selling outbound marketing software. Outbound marketing software is what we sell. If you are thinking of getting outbound marketing software get in touch with one of our outbound marketing software consultants.”

I think you’ll agree, that sounds like a broken record. It’s pretty easy to spot and Google will be able to tell that the content sounds unnatural.


You may have heard the joke “an SEO copywriter walks into a bar, grill, pub, public house, Irish, bartender, drinks, beer, wine, liquor…”. This joke is about keyword stuffing and it is another perfect example of the practice. The words are all similar to each other, but they are of no value as they don’t even string up a sentence.


You can do keyword research to find out what people are searching for but overusing these keywords in your content is not a good idea. Rather than filling your content with irrelevant keywords, concentrate on creating useful content that focuses on topics over keywords.


Cloaking


Cloaking involves showing one piece of content to users and a different piece of content to search engines. Websites practicing black hat SEO will do this in order to make content rank for a variety of terms irrelevant to their content. Spam websites will often do this to try and avoid a search engine bot finding out the spam content they serve to users.


Tailoring your content to different groups of users is acceptable. For example, you might shrink the size of your website when someone visits from a mobile device. You might also change the language of a page based on the country someone is visiting from. A publisher like Forbes or Inc might change the ads that appear on a page in order to fund their content. These examples are completely acceptable. As long as you are not just changing the content that appears for search engine crawlers.


While there is no hard and fast rule to determine what's acceptable and what’s not, my best advice is to ask yourself, does what you intend to do solve for the user? If it does, then it’s acceptable. You should treat search engine bots that crawl your site the same as any other user.

If you are curious to find out how Google sees your website you can use the fetch as Google tool and compare this to what users see.


Sneaky Redirects


A redirect involves sending someone to a different URL than the one they initially clicked. Black hat SEO uses redirects outside of the purpose they are intended for. Along the same lines as cloaking, this might include redirecting a search engine crawler to one page and all other users to another page.


Another example is redirecting a highly authoritative page with lots of backlinks into another irrelevant page, just to boost its position in search results. A 301 redirect passes the majority of authority from one page to another. This means someone practicing black hat SEO could use redirects solely for the purpose of manipulating search results.


Redirects should only be used for the purpose they were designed. This might be in the event you change website domain or consolidate two pieces of content. It’s also acceptable to use JavaScript to redirect users on some occasions. Take for example, LinkedIn redirecting you to someone's full profile when you are logged in, rather than show you the public version of a users profile when you are logged out. Sneaky redirects, on the other hand, should be avoided. They violate the guidelines of search engines such as Google and Yandex.


Poor Quality Content


Poor quality content that’s of no value to the searcher is also a common practice in black hat SEO. This includes content scraped from another website either by a bot or a person. At one point search engines like Google weren’t good at recognizing content that had been copied from other websites. The Google Panda update in 2011 resolved this issue. Many sites with duplicate content took an instant hit in search rankings. Since then, Google has gotten much better at recognizing duplicate and low-quality content.


Adding invisible keywords to your content is also a prohibited practice. Some websites that engage in black hat SEO do this by making the text the same color as the page background. This means the page may appear in search results for those invisible keywords, even though there’s no visible content about them on the page. When a user clicks on the result thinking it’s going to be about the topic they searched for, they don’t find any of the content they were looking for as the keywords are invisible. If you’re solving for the user, there should be no need to hide content on your website.


The “bait and switch” is another black hat means of misleading search engines. This involves creating content surrounding a topic you want to rank for. Once the page is ranking in results for this topic, the content is swapped out for something else. This creates a negative experience for searchers as the content they click-through to see no longer exists. These practices trick users and search engines and they are not a good way to do SEO.

Writing original, quality content is an important part of white hat SEO. Not only is it required to avoid a penalty from search engines, it will also set your website apart. Creating high-quality content builds trust with your target audience and turns visitors into customers.


Paid Links


Search engines like Google strictly ban the buying and selling of links. They state on their website that “any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site's ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.” This includes sending a website free products in exchange for links. If you’re not sure of what’s an acceptable exchange, Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s webspam team recommends looking at FTC guidelines.


You should avoid paying any other site to link to your content. Google asks users to tell them about instances of people buying or selling links. They state they will penalize both buyer and seller of links once the practice is detected.

If you’re reading this having purchased links without realizing this is a black hat SEO tactic, you should have them removed as soon as possible. You can also use the disavow links tool if you can’t get webmasters to remove the links.This tells Google to disregard the paid links when calculating your Pagerank.


Abusing Structured Data/Rich Snippets


Structured data is also known as rich snippets and schema. It allows you to change how your content is displayed on search engine results pages. It makes your content stand out from competitors and also gives you more real estate on results pages. You can add structured data to a page displaying a podcast, recipe, book among other products and services. Reviews schema markup is probably one of the most popular types of structured data.


Black hat SEO involves providing inaccurate information in structured data to fool search engines and users. For example, someone practicing blackhat SEO might award themselves five stars from a fake review site and add structured data so they stand out on search results pages. This is a very risky practice as search engines like Google encourage users to report websites misusing structured data.


This should not put you off marking up truthful, accurate information on your web pages. In fact, I highly recommend adding structured data the white hat way. We added review markup to HubSpot product pages and saw a 10% increase in clicks to those pages.

You have nothing to worry about, if you provide truthful information that is helpful to users. Google has documented the rules around adding structured data to your website and also have a helpful tool for testing your structured data.


Blog Comment Spam


As the name suggests, this black hat technique involves including a link to your website in blog comments. This practice happens less often nowadays as search engines like Google updated their algorithm to discount any links in blog comments. Most authoritative blogs now make links in blog comments nofollow by default. This means search engines like Google do not follow the link nor does it the link pass any authority.


Despite the decline in the number of people engaging in the practice, you’ll still find a bunch of people on Fiverr advertising blog commenting services. Blog commenting, with links to your website is a spammy way of getting links to your website and we highly recommend avoiding the practice.


If you own a publication, forum or community that allows comments you need to take care to ensure that your comments section can’t be spammed by either bots or people. Search engines like Google will demote or completely remove pages containing spam from the search results. Using anti-spam tools like Google’s free reCAPTCHA tool is one way to mitigate the risk of spam user generated content.


Link Farms


A link farm is a website or a collection of websites developed solely for the purpose of link building. Each website links out to the site or sites they want to rank higher on search engines. Search engines rank websites by looking at the number of links that point to the website, among other factors. Black hat SEO exploits this by using link farms to inflate the number of backlinks a particular site has.


Link farms often have low-quality content and lots of links. The links normally contain the keyword they want the site to rank for in the anchor text. Search engines like Google can easily detect link farms and using them should be avoided. Instead, you should use white hat SEO tactics like creating amazing content, graphs, data, interviews or any other content that allows you to acquire backlinks naturally over time.


Private Blog Networks


A private blog network (PBN) is a bunch of authoritative websites used solely for link building. They are similar to link farms in that they both aim to exaggerate the number of links pointing to a website. Each PBN site links to the site they want to boost in the search results but do not link to each other.


Black Hat SEOs wanting to build a private network will normally buy expired domains that have already built up authority. They’ll write content similar to what already existed on the domain before it expired and add links to their own site. They hope that search engines won’t notice they’re controlling a network of websites and rank their main website mucher higher in the search results.


Search engines have gotten clever at spotting PBNs and your site could be hit with a severe penalty if you are using PBNs to improve your search presence. Rather than put effort into spinning up fake websites focus on creating quality content under your own domain. Keeping your content under one roof means your site will be highly authoritative as everyone will link to the one domain.


Examples of Black Hat SEO


Groupon’s Bait and Switch


Groupon was accused of doing a bait and switch by San Francisco Comprehensive Tours. The tour company ran a one of promotion with Groupon but the voucher website continued to advertise the promotion on Google long after it had ended. When searchers clicked on Groupon’s page there was no discount to be found as the content had been swapped out. This bait and switch happened in a PPC advertisement but they often happen on organic results too.

J.C. Penney’s Black Hat Links

J.C. Penney ranked at the top of search results for a vast number of keywords from “skinny jeans” to “home decor”. The retailer’s exceptional performance in search results was perfectly timed around the holiday season. This outstanding performance in search results was thanks to black hat SEO link building techniques that slipped under Google’s radar.


Just over 2,000 backlinks were discovered by Doug Pierce. These links contained anchor text with the very keywords J.C. Penney wanted to rank for on search engines. Many of the links were found on websites of no relevance to J.C. Penney. The topics of these websites ranged from casinos to cars. J.C. Penney claimed no responsibility for the links that were found in an interview with the New York Times.

Google confirmed the actions of J.C. Penney went against their webmaster guidelines and revealed that they also had violated webmaster guidelines on three previous occasions. J.C. Penney received a Google penalty that saw them drop down close to seventy positions on Google for terms such as “living room furniture.”


Sprint’s User Generated Spam


In 2013 a user called Redleg x3 posted on Google’s Webmaster Central forum explaining Sprint got a notification from Google warning of user-generated spam on their website. Google’s Matt Cutts commented on the thread saying he could see the majority of spam had been removed from the website. He explained the company should “...try to catch the spam a little faster or see if there are some ways to make it a bit harder for the spammers to post a large amount of messages on the community pages.”


Forbes Selling Links


Someone appearing to be from Forbes posted on the Google Webmaster Central forum seeking help with a link violation notice. The notice asked Forbes to remove unnatural links from their site’s content.

Google’s Matt Cutts commented in the thread that he had confirmed multiple times that paid links that pass PageRank. Cutts recommended that Forbes remove the paid links that pass PageRank to have the penalty reversed. TechCrunch reported that Forbes began to remove the paid links back in 2011 after receiving the penalty.


Google Chrome’s Paid Link


Even Google messes up their own SEO from time to time. On one occasion they included a follow link in a sponsored post about Google Chrome. This falls under black hat SEO as the link was included as part of sponsored content that was paid for by the company. The Google webspam team applied a penalty to www.google.com/chrome, reducing its Pagerank for a period of sixty days. The black mark against Google Chrome caused them to drop in position on search results for the term “browser”.


Why You Should Avoid Black Hat SEO


While black hat SEO is not illegal, it does violate webmaster guidelines set out by search engines. In other words, it’s still against the rules. This means if you engage in black hat SEO, you must be willing to get hit with a nasty penalty as punishment. Getting a penalty from search engines will cause your website to drop down in the search results or worse, it could be removed completely. This means your website will gain less traffic and ultimately, fewer customers.

Search engines have gotten better and better at spotting black hat SEO techniques. Nowadays getting caught for practicing black hat SEO is pretty much unavoidable. Black hat SEO does not solve for the searcher nor does it solve for the search engine. While you may see short-term gains from black hat SEO over time search engines will pick up on your black hat ways damaging your presence in search.


The Blurred Lines of Grey Hat SEO


You won’t find grey hat SEO in the middle of a Robin Thicke song, but you will find it somewhere in the middle of black and white hat SEO. If there’s an SEO tactic you find hard to categorize as black or white hat SEO, then it’s probably a grey hat technique.


How To Avoid Black Hat SEO


There’s no doubt black hat SEO is a risky business that’s not worth engaging in. Here are best practices to avoid black hat SEO:

  • Treat the searcher and search engines the same way. Avoid “cloaking” or tricking search engine crawlers by redirecting them to another page. You should always focus your efforts on solving for the searcher and create a great user experience from search engine to site.

  • Write only good quality original content that avoids keyword stuffing. Never scrape, duplicate or reword content that belongs to others. Google’s content guidelines and our content creation kit may be helpful.

  • Abide by the rules when adding structured data to your website. Ensure any schema markup you add is accurate and not misleading to users.

  • Never buy or sell links and remember, it’s not just money that’s considered a black hat exchange. Providing free products in exchange for links is also prohibited. If you are unsure if an exchange might be unethical lean on the FTC endorsement guidelines and consult this detailed blog post about paid links from Google.

  • Avoid setting up a private blog network for the purpose of getting links. Differentiate your website and content so people link to you naturally rather than fake it till you make it. That never ends well.

  • Stay up to date on webmaster guidelines so you can avoid black hat tactics prohibited by search engines. Here are the webmaster guidelines for Google, Yahoo and Yandex.

Don’t make your next search “how do I get rid of a Google penalty?” If you need to question whether something is black hat or not, it probably is. A white hat SEO strategy is a much better approach to search engine optimization. In the long run, it will pay dividends and you can sleep at night knowing you’ll never see a dip in your rankings due to a nasty penalty. So for the love of search engines, never do black hat SEO. After all, they are the ones that keeping us SEOs in the business.



Is Search Engine Optimization is important?


You’ve probably heard a hundred times that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a vital digital marketing tool. But do you really know how SEO works? Even if you have a basic understanding of what it entails, you may still not have a solid grasp on this complex and multifaceted process.


SEO is made up of multiple elements, and knowing what they are and how they work is key to understanding why SEO is so important. In short, SEO is crucial because it makes your website more visible, and that means more traffic and more opportunities to convert prospects into customers. Check out the SEO tools you can use for optimal ranking.

It’s also a valuable tool for brand awareness, building relationships with prospects, and positioning yourself as an authoritative and trustworthy expert in your field. So, here's everything you need to know about SEO and why it’s vital to succeed in today’s digital world.


The Crucial Elements of SEO Marketing


Keywords


Long gone are the days when keywords were the only SEO technique that mattered, but that doesn’t mean they aren't still crucial. The difference is that today, keywords must be well-researched, carefully chosen, and judiciously used in your content in order to be effective.

But what are keywords, exactly? Keywords are words and phrases that prospects use to find online content, and that brands can then use to connect with prospects who are looking for their products and services.


When undertaking the key steps of keyword research, it’s important to look for ones that have high search rates and low competition and to choose short-tail keywords (such as dog), long-tail keywords (such as terrier puppies for sale), and local keywords (such as puppies for sale in Boston) to work into your content. Along with a primary or seed keyword, you should also have secondary and tertiary keywords as they will still offer value to your business. Finally, use keywords to optimize all your titles, URLs, and other on-page SEO elements (more on that later...)


Content


Content is a vital part of SEO because it’s the vehicle you use to reach and engage audiences. Knowing your angle and crafting content that fits is essential.

For instance, if you owned a nursery and wanted to increase your visibility, you might publish a series of blogs about gardening, choosing the right species of plants, growing tips, and more. When a person who wanted to know about gardening went looking for that information, your blog would come up, and you'd be able to build a relationship with that prospect by providing valuable information. The idea is that when the time came for that prospect to buy a plant, for instance, you’d be the first nursery that came to mind.

Today’s content must be educational, but also interesting, relevant, and shareable. Content comes in a variety of forms, including:

  • Web page content

  • Videos

  • Blogs (it’s easy to start your own blog to practise!)

  • Infographics

  • Podcasts

  • Listicles

  • How-to guides

  • Whitepapers and e-books

  • Social media posts

  • Local Listings

Understanding the Importance of SEO for Modern Businesses


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Visibility and Rankings


One of the most important functions of SEO is increasing visibility, which means making it easier for prospects to find you when they search for something you have to offer. Visibility is directly related to your ranking.

The higher you rank on a search engine result page (SERP), the more likely prospects will see you and click through to your site, so it’s key to increase your organic page ranking. The more effective your SEO efforts, the higher your ranking and the better your visibility, which is especially important when you consider that a quarter of web users never click past the first SERP.


Web Traffic


Increased web traffic is one of the main goals of SEO, and you increase traffic when you increase visibility and rankings. Consider this for a moment: the #1 spot on a Google search gets nearly 32% of clicks and moving up just one spot in search results can increase CTR by an amazing 30.8%.


The golden grail for many marketers is the ‘Featured Snippet’ which is often referred to as position #0 as it appears above the first ranked URL. This is usually content that’s taken from a landing page on a blog that answers a question people are searching for and can give your organic click-through a huge boost.

So, if you want more people to find your website through a search engine, then you need to use SEO practices that will help you rank among the top five positions, and ideally number one.


Authority


Page Authority (PA) is increasingly important to search engines as it’s becoming more important to web users. Essentially, authority means that your website is trustworthy, high quality, relevant, and has something to offer.

Scores range from 1 to 100 and the higher your number, the more authority your site has. You can find your PA rating by using tools such as Moz and while it's difficult to influence it, many SEO experts believe it’s to do with link profile - getting external links from credible and well visited sources.


Creating a Better Visitor Experience


Another reason SEO is critical is because all the time you put into generating great content and on-page SEO optimization improves the usability of your site. This creates a seamless and positive customer experience.


For instance, when you take steps to make your site responsive, it will make it usable for all your mobile visitors as well as people who visit from a laptop or desktop. Similarly, by increasing your page load speed, you'll reduce your bounce rate and encourage visitors to spend longer on your site. Consumers expect a page to load as quickly as possible with a limit on loading to not creep past three seconds! The longer the load time, the higher the bounce rate and the lower your conversions.


Remember, Search Engines Are Fallible


SEO is important because search engines aren’t perfect. If you don’t take steps to counter their failings, then your website will pay the price.

For example, if a site doesn’t have a proper link structure, then search engines may not crawl and index the site properly which can lower rankings. Coding errors can block search engines entirely, making it impossible for your site to rank, no matter how much time you put into other SEO efforts. Other common areas where search engines can run into problems include:

  • Duplicate pages

  • Forms

  • Images, flash, audio files, video, and other non-textual content

  • Language and Semantics

Most Important Parts of SEO You Need to Get Right


1. Your Audience & Industry


Your primary industry and its audience should be the number one consideration behind any viable SEO strategy.

  • What industry are you in?

  • Who are your top competitors?

  • Where do your competitors primarily do business?

  • How are your competitors primarily executing their SEO strategy?

  • What competition is the fiercest?

These questions and more will determine your next steps in forming your SEO strategy and these various moving parts will soon come into full focus as you nail down what to do next.


2. Keyword Research


As you nail down your audience and industry norms for SEO, keyword research is necessary to pinpoint the best possible user intent to go after and find what your audience is searching for. But, not only that, what your audience searches for is just as important as how they search for it. Subtle shifts in keyword research can make or break an SEO strategy.

And you better have a firm grasp of the norms in terms of industry market shifts, as well as buyer personas and how they impact the overall SEO strategy.

3. User Intent


User intent behind keywords is the next thing that is absolutely vital to the success of any SEO campaign.

For example, let’s say that your audience normally searches for “widgets that I want to put together” as a primary starting point.

But, throughout your keyword research, you find variations for “widgets for sale,” “DIY Widgets,” and “widgets that get things done”. Each of these variations results in at least a ten-fold increase in searches leading back to your landing page.

It would be a good idea to integrate these into the overall SEO process, now, wouldn’t it?


If you hadn’t done this keyword research and made adjustments based on market shifts in audience search behavior, you likely would not have found these deeper keywords that were worth targeting.

It’s all in how you approach how deep you want to go in keyword research. The deeper you go, the better opportunities you may end up eventually uncovering.


4. Analytics and Reporting


If you can’t report on results that the campaign achieves accurately, then how can you expect to make the accurate adjustments that an SEO campaign requires?

Let’s also get real about something else. Some industries don’t require by the day or even by the week adjustments to keyword strategy. Most industries don’t even require adjustments every six months.


But, if you’re in a rapidly changing industry where the market shifts quickly, it may be important to integrate a quarterly or even bi-monthly keyword research task into your SEO process so that you know exactly what audiences are searching for next.


How does this fit into analytics reporting? When you attribute keywords and landing pages, it is easy to see exactly what keywords and landing pages are primary drivers of your SEO process execution and your overall SEO stra