When it comes to SEO, there are two ways to approach it. The first approach is called a “white hat” approach, meaning that whoever is responsible for executing SEO activities on behalf of a website, whether it is an in house SEO Specialist, an SEO agency, an SEO consultant, a marketing team member, etc., implements SEO tactics that are deemed appropriate in the eyes of the search engines. The search engines publicly state what approved practices are and which practices are frowned upon and could result in a penalty or dip in ranking. The second approach is called a “black hat” approach. Black hatters use these practices that are frowned upon. And why would they do that? Well, black hat tactics can sometimes result in a quick improvement in rank and SERP (search engine results page) presence. However, since the search algorithms continue to get more sophisticated, these black hat SEO activities will catch up with a site owner sooner or later which is why white hat SEO is the best option to protect your site in the long run.
Follow these 3 crucial guidelines of white hat SEO for long term success:
Focus on link quality over link quantity
In the old days of SEO, nearly any link that you could get that pointed back to your site held some kind of value. That’s no longer the case as the Google Penguin update made it clear that not all links are created equal and there is in fact a big difference between good links and bad links. Links that are considered to be “unnatural” are bad and include links from unrelated websites, link exchanges, hidden links, and more. A white hat approach means only going after quality links from trusted sources that in addition to improving a link portfolio, will also result in generating traffic from target audience members.
Avoid keyword anchor text overuse
Sites that relied too heavily on exact match anchor text were also victims of the Google Penguin update. If your site is using the same keyword anchor text over and over, it’s not a natural way to link. Think about how a visitor might link to your content. They probably wouldn’t link using one of your top keywords. They would be more likely to use the anchor text “click here” or link to the name of your business or brand or might not even include anchor text at all and simply include the full URL. Vary the anchor text so that it includes branded keywords, some priority keywords, and many long-tail variations so that it doesn’t look like you are trying to manipulate the search results for a particular phrase.
Write content for the reader first, search spider second
Content is a necessary component of an SEO campaign today. Content that includes targeted keywords is what gets noticed by the search engine spiders. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the search engine spiders aren’t the primary target of content, the primary target are actual human Internet users. If your content is stuffed with keywords, it’s clear that it wasn’t created with the end user in mind and will be rejected by the search spiders.
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