Search Engine Optimisation in best described as coordinating technical, analytical and creative processes with the goal of improving the visibility of website in search engines.
SEO’s main objective is to attract more visitors to your website for you to convert into sales. I have over 13 years experience making websites rank in Google.
This article is a beginner’s guide to effective white hat SEO, the cleanest process of search engine optimization. As a general rule for thumb it’s a better strategy to stay on the White Hat path because blurring the lines by using more ‘grey’ hat techniques puts you at risk because what is grey today becomes black tomorrow. Black hat techniques with run foul of Google risking the position of your website.
Google has a list of rules they expect webmasters to adhere to. Their ‘rules’ have been put in place to reward websites that have high-quality content and clean marketing techniques with better positions in the search results.
At the same time, the rules give Google the infrastructure and transparency to penalize websites that use manipulation strategies with a hit in their search results.
These rules have no legal consequence, they are not legal legislation, however these guidelines can result in Google punishing your website severely which can cut you off from a host of potential clients.
You have to decide whether you choose to run your website by following the rules, or you could choose to ignore them or attempt to bend them a little. You can decide if you put yourself at risk of Google’s SPAM team or not.
With that in mind:
White Hat = Adhering strictly to the rules
Grey Hat = Sometimes bending the rules to your advantage
Black Hat = Who cares about the rules.
SEO, stands for Search Engine Optimization. This means getting free or ‘organic’ traffic from Google’s search engine. Google is by far the largest search engine online, you can add up all the other search engines, and it wouldn’t even be close.
There are a lot of definitions of SEO (spelled Search engine optimisation in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, or search engine optimization in the United States and Canada) but organic SEO in 2016 is mostly about getting free traffic from Google, the most popular search engine in the world (and almost the only game in town in the UK):
How Google ranks websites
Whether you choose to adhere or ignore Google’s rules, you need to understand what criteria Google uses to rank websites. There are said to be 200+ ranking factors, and through trial and error and great testing SEO experts have identified most, but it’s subjective precisely which factors hold more sway than other.
What we do know is that it comes down to 3 main criteria.
The technical: how your website is built, the speed it loads, and how well it’s labeled for Google’s robots to find and classify accurately.
Engagement.: how well your audience engages with the site, and it’s content. How often they visit, how long they stay. Whether they create any social signals that they like the content. Whether they decide to share, retweet or like.
Links: Google measures trust and authority by which other sites engage with this site by linking to it. The more relevant and more trusted the website is, the more Google values their ‘recommendation’ and the better your site will be ranked in Google.