What is White Hat SEO?

When building up your website white hat SEO methods are the ones that you need to follow if you are to build a successful search engine optimization campaign. You should already understand what black hat SEO is, this section of the guide will cover what white hat SEO. Unfortunately, white hat SEO is not as clear cut as black. In fact, there is no real tactic to it. White hat is more about digital marketing than anything else. Which is why so many people turn to the dark side!

The Google search guidelines are quite specific in what not to do, which is what makes it much easier to avoid black hat SEO methods. They are not so clear on the specifics for white hat though. This makes it much harder to figure out. Thankfully for you, lots and lots of people have figured most of it out through trial and error. While we may not know the exact science behind Googles search algorithm, we have worked out most of the important ranking factors that benefit your website.

The important thing to remember about white hat SEO is that it involves no gaming of the system. If something sounds like its cheating, then it’s probably black hat. Sometimes there are methods that Google havn’t said are bad, but they sound bad. These are often referred to as gray hat and almost always become black hat once they get abused and Google speaks out about them. There is no silver bullet for white hat. The fundamentals are to make great content and have it shared by others. The latter of which you can’t control.

Great Quality Content

This is the core to building a great website that ranks well for many keywords. If your site does not have great content, then it will not rank as well as others. It’s the goal of a search engine to give someone the best possible answers to their search query. There are many ranking factors that help decide this, but the first one is always content. If you do not have good content, no other factors are going to help you rank.

I am sure you are wondering now, what is considered “great content”? It is not a straightforward question, but it is easy enough to use some common sense to get an understanding. I will explain this in more detail in the content writing section in this guide to SEO.

Guest Blogging

I mentioned that paying for backlinks is black hat and is bad. Sometimes it might feel like guest blogging is the same thing, but it is not. Guest blogging involves finding a website in a similar area to yours and asking them can you write a guest post for them. To stick with my vinyl store example. It would be good to go to some music bloggers and ask them can you publish a guest post about vinyl records that links back to your vinyl website. The practice is completely legitimate and there is nothing wrong with this.

Knowing how to approach guest blogging is tough. I have been down this road myself and found it very tough. It is still a great, white hat method of getting backlinks to your website without the risk of punishment from google. I will explain this in further detail in the guest blogging section of the guide.

Social Media

Social media plays an indirect role in one way and a direct role in another. Google considers social media likes and shares as a signal of your websites popularity. The more shares, the more popular. As a side effect of this, the more shares your website gets on social media, the more people that will visit. The more visitors, the more likely that some random person could post a link to your website from their own. Your website should be active on all social media platforms to share the latest content from your website. Some paid advertising can be used to increase the reach and potentially lead to a much better outcome for your search engine rankings.

Long Tail Keywords

Remember when I said there was no real silver bullet for white hat SEO, well this is not 100% true. I would not consider long tail keywords to be the ultimate solution, but they will help when times are tough. If you are a brand new website with a small budget wanting to sell ladies fashion, how the hell do you start? You can’t compete with the massive websites who are already popular. How do you rank for keywords when the big websites are hogging them all?

Long tail keywords are the answer here. You might never be able to rank for ladies fashion, but you can rank for “ladies fashion for 20s in summer” much easier, especially if there isn’t a single website targeting it at the moment. Check out the keyword research section of the guide to get a better idea of how to approach this. When things are looking bad and you can’t seem to rank for anything, long tail keywords are usually the answer.

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