With google and the other search engines continuing to clamp on perceived unfair manipulation of the SERPS, more and more SEOs are turning to using white hat techniques only. White hat SEO techniques are, of course, the methods that Google et al do not deem to be overly manipulative of the search results. While the impact of white hat SEO is often not as sudden or as effective as it’s black hat brethren, it is safe. It can require more work and more patience but it will see lasting results in the long term. Plus, of course, there’s little to no risk of picking up penalties along the way.
As SEO evolves, what is considered ‘good’ or ‘bad’ changes along with it. A lot of what was considered to be OK can now get you into a spot of bother with the search engines. Many techniques are still fine, though, and are likely to remain so long into 2017 and beyond.
While link-building is often associated with the black hat techniques that could see your website plummet in the SERPS if caught, link-building in itself is not considered to be black hat. Blogging on top-quality sites is just fine as it is seen as a way of imparting useful and/or interesting information to internet users. Content marketing is another method that can help you to gain valuable backlinks on 3rd party sites without incurring the wrath of the search engines. When creating backlinks, keep clear of poor quality links on Spammy sites. Where backlinks are concerned quality is definitely better than quantity.
Fairly recently, the number of people shopping online with mobiles overtook the number of those shopping online with desktops computers. This clearly means that if you are not geared up to getting ranked in mobile searches, you could be missing out on a great deal of business.
Mobile optimisation techniques such as AMP not only help your site to load faster on mobile devices, they also help you to rank higher. The search engines like to give results that give their own customers the best possible experience, they have their own brand to protect after all. Slow loading sites do little to help with their users’ experience, so those with AMP are given a boost in the SERPS. Because mobile optimisation is seen as something that is beneficial to their customers, it is not something that is ever likely to see those that implement it pick up any penalties from the search engines.
Having your site list high in the SERPS is all very well, but what you are REALLY aiming for is for them to click through to your site. Much of the time, this means giving the person reading the results enough information to let them know they have found what they are looking for.
Schema tags allow you to tell the search engines what information that you would like to see displayed when your site shows up. This will, hopefully, give the user the information that they need to decide they should click on the link to your website. Schema doesn’t actually have an effect on where you are ranked (yet). It does, however, help to make the most of where you are ranked by encouraging more people to click on your site when they do find it in the SERPS. It is also something that is seen as favourable by the search engines and will not see you pick up any penalties.
While black-hat SEO marketing techniques can and do still work, there is always an associated risk with them. The search engines update their algorithms quite regularly and without warning. They don’t even let us know what effects the updates will have, although you can be sure that they are likely to be addressing some manner of black-hat SEO. Stick to white hat marketing and you won’t need to be concerned about future updates. If anything, you could even look forward to them. White hat SEO may take time and patience, but you are likely to reap the benefits in the longer term.