Presently, almost all consumers and businesses search the internet before purchasing any new product or service. They search for a keyword in the search engine and as a result, get a list of relevant websites related to their search query. Usually, people tend to visit websites that are at the top of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) lists because to them they appear to be more relevant to their search query. So, if you ever wondered why these websites rank at the top of the lists; it is because of SEO, a technique used by marketing professionals. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This technique helps websites rank higher than the millions of other sites in response to certain keywords when searched.
The search engine system collects information about every page on the web and can help people find exactly what they’re looking for. If you own a website, search results matter because when your web pages have higher rankings, they help more people find you. The key to higher rankings is making sure your website has all the ingredients search engines need for showing your website at the top of the list. These ingredients include; links, pages, titles (headings), texts, and other pieces of relevant information contained in the HTML code of your website. Also, most importantly consistent record of fresh engaging content helps increase the relevancy and reputation of your website. These ingredients are just the basics and are refined into On-page optimization and Off-page optimization.
The main components of SEO
The two main components of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are as follows;
- On-Page Optimization– Further divided into two, namely, On-page SEO and Technical SEO
- Off-Page Optimization
On-page SEO is the process of optimizing elements on your website itself. In simple terms, it refers to everything you can do on your website to help search engines understand your site and improve the chances that your website will rank higher for your target keywords.
The elements on your website and on individual pages that need to be optimized include keywords that should be strategically placed in your website’s content, header tags, meta description, XML site maps, internal links, title tags, and search engine friendly URLs, anchor texts, and so on. On-page SEO aims to improve individual web pages on your website to rank higher in search engines and drive more targeted traffic to your website. With On-page SEO, you have control over the factors that influence the rankings.
Off-page optimization refers to all the actions that are performed outside your website to establish your authority and help boost your site’s ranking. These actions include acquiring links from other websites, guest blogging, posting on social media, or writing in forums and all of these actions come under the Off-page SEO.
Research shows that Off-Page SEO accounts for 75% of a good marketing strategy. It has everything to do with your social presence, link building, and more. In layman’s terms, Off-page SEO tells search engines or Google how the audience perceives your website. It is a strategic way of increasing the popularity of your website over the internet.
Hence, Off-page SEO is very important for your ranking and for generating more traffic to your website. The Off-page SEO elements include backlinks, follow and non-follow links, anchor texts, link juice, and relevancy.
To get more business, your website has to be on the first page of all the major search engines for the specific keywords that are relevant to your potential customers. Without SEO, your site will never be found online by your customers. In today’s competitive world you need solid SEO techniques to get your site to the top of the search results.
White Hat SEO & Black Hat SEO
The White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO are terms used to refer to two different types of search engine optimization strategies and techniques.
White Hat SEO
White Hat SEO refers to the usage of optimization strategies and techniques that focus on a human audience as opposed to search engines. It completely follows the search engine rules and policies. White Hat SEO may also be referred to as “Ethical SEO”. For instance, a website that is optimized for search engines and primarily focuses on its organic search engine rankings is considered to be optimized using White Hat SEO practices.
White Hat SEO Techniques include using keywords, and keyword analysis, doing research, and rewriting meta tags in order for them to be more relevant, backlinking, link building as well as writing content for human readers.
Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO refers to the usage of aggressive and improper SEO strategies and techniques that focus only on search engines and not a human audience. They usually do not obey search engine rules and policies. Black Hat SEO may also be referred to as “Unethical SEO”. Opting for Black Hat SEO can often result in your website being banned from search engines because it does not follow search engine rules and policies.
This type of practice is often seen as shady practice and is used by someone who doesn’t intend to use it for long because their focus is usually on a quick and high return business model. So, the risk of being banned by a search engine is somewhat irrelevant to them. Some of the Black Hat SEO techniques include; keyword stuffing, cloaking, link schemes (exchange or purchase links), duplicate content, and hidden text.
- Keyword Stuffing: Keyword Stuffing in simple terms means, inserting terms that you want to rank for, all over the website with an irrelevant and unrelated context. On a technical note, keyword stuffing can be the No. 1 reason your website can get banned. It also negatively affects the user experience and readability score of the website.
- Cloaking: Cloaking is a deceptive way of optimizing your website for search. In this technique, different content will be shown to the search engine crawler than what is presented to the end-users.
- Links Schemes: Google strictly states 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”. Link building schemes, at first sight, seem attractive but might lend you and your website in trouble. Links schemes basically include link farms and paid links. In a nutshell, a link farm is just a bunch of websites that link to each other.
- Hidden Text: 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.