Originally authored by Kay Hebbourn of Brand You Brilliant. See the original blog post here.
Since there are so many methods available in search engine optimisation or SEO, webmasters have categorized these as either white hat SEO or black hat SEO. Certain SEO tactics are not accepted by certain popular search engines, but some individuals still use these to hopefully get the traffic they need. You have to know about the controversies surrounding the approaches and determine whether you should go with either one.
White hat SEO is the term used to describe methods that follow the guidelines and stipulations of search engines. Black hat SEO is the term used to describe approaches that are disapproved by search engines. There is an ongoing battle between individuals who use white hat and black hat SEO. Black hat SEO may not be what you can immediately consider as negative ethically. SERPs may be manipulated by black hat practitioners, but they also say that the approaches are highly acceptable with the sole intent of boosting site rankings.
Black hatters also say that there is no good or bad in trying to achieve the same goal of making their site relevant and ranked high. The benefits can extend to the users as they seek for the most useful information. Some big search engines do allow a number of web sites to function opposite to the stated rules.
Cloaking is one of the allowed black hat methods that a lot of webmasters use. A cloaking policy may be enforced by big search engines, but still needs updating to fully become consistent. The cloaking method is accepted by the search engines, since it does improve user searches instead of provide them with just any kind of result. Cloaking cannot immediately be referred to as a negative influence, considering that it aids searchers in getting the information and web sites that they need.
Following the Rules
There are a number of methods that you should avoid if you want to rank high and get on search engines’ good side. Invisible text should be avoided. Do not place light yellow or white text against a white background. Engines can detect these and will only put you in more trouble. Avoid keyword stuffing. In the past, overstuffing articles and site content with the same keyword may help improve ranking, but search engines are smarter now and can determine if your content is natural or no longer of good quality.
What to Avoid
An automated robot visits every page in the index. The content is acquired to be analysed at a later time. Cloaking involves giving the automated robot a different page, while assigning a completely new one to human users. Search engines greatly detest this practice. You should also stay away from doorway pages. Doorway pages are described as trying to create a page to rank high on search engines, but truly having no real good content. Orphaned pages may also be considered as doorway pages by search engines. The site or page can incur penalties by having these.
Stay away from spamming. Spam is described as useless pages having no content and is just created to rank high on search engines. You initially think that you have good and sound content upon clicking on a page, only to discover several listings and ads to other sites. This is highly related to doorway pages and should be avoided.
I will be covering this and much more in my WordPress Courses in Cumbria and throughout the UK.