SEO is a constantly moving target with Google’s algorithm frequently changing. But in this week’s episode of Test. Learn. Grow., Level Agency’s SEO Manager, Joe Garrigues is back to talk about how to do SEO effectively and roll with these changes. According to Joe, it’s all about the long game.
White Hat and Black Hat SEO
Today we unpack good versus bad SEO practices — or as they are called in the industry: White Hat and Black Hat SEO.
- White Hat SEO – Authentic, useful content that keeps the end user in mind
- Black Hat SEO – Manipulating Google’s algorithm to get rankings (forget the user)
Black Hat SEO Practices to Avoid
SEO is a competitive space, and the rules change quickly. There are certain practices that could earn you a penalty from Google. Watch out. Here are a few Black Hat practices to be aware of:
- Keyword Stuffing – Sometimes to get traffic to a page, SEO professionals will insert keywords all over their content to the point of excess. It’s annoying. This kind of content is written for the search engines and not the user, and Google knows. Google will penalize you for such tactics.
- Buying Links – Back-linking content is the foundation of the internet. The goal should be to create content that people want to authentically share and interact with. If you’re buying links to improve your SEO rankings, you’re essentially buying relationships. This will hurt you in the long term.
- Buying Reviews – When it comes to SEO, reviews are huge. Buying fake reviews might work initially, but Google algorithms are becoming sophisticated enough to figure it out and penalize you.
- Buying Social Media Followers – Yes, more followers get you closer to that little blue verified check mark next to your name, but customers are savvy. They can tell when an account is fake. You will lose credibility and trust.
Buying vs. Building SEO Authority
Quality SEO boils down to this: building relationships. Instead of keyword stuffing, create content that answers the user’s questions or solves their challenges. Instead of buying links, set up Google Alerts for your business name. Find out who is talking about you, reach out, and ask if they’ll link your business in their content. Ask your customers to give real reviews. Does this take longer? Sure, but you’re doing SEO authentically. It’s not about the quick wins. It’s about being consistent, providing useful content, and going for quality over quantity. It’s okay to take a drive in the slow lane with your SEO strategy and tactics. Slow and steady wins the SEO race.