What Is White Hat SEO?

With regards to Google’s constant algorithm updates, website content must be engaging and fresh in order to make a difference with regards to search engine optimization (SEO). There are many different ways to define SEO, but it’s useful to first start with the difference between good SEO and bad SEO.

What Is White Hat SEO?

White hat SEO refers to using various SEO best practices to make sure that your website is performing well without cheating the system. Making use of white hat SEO best practices can help your site gain recognition from search engine giants and have a (more or less) fixed spot in the search engine results page (SERP).

White hat SEO is the opposite of “black hat SEO.” In contrast, black hat SEO includes spamming, keyword stuffing, and other widely used tactics that are considered to be cheating the system.

White hat SEO uses organic SEO techniques. This focus demands high quality in website content to ensure that it will have the chance to achieve a good ranking in search.

Aside from the possibilities of penalties or even outright banning from Google (and other search engines), white hat SEO practices are the best way to build an ethical and successful website. Quality is more important than quantity, so it’s better to target specific people using keywords that appeal to them and to deliver on the promises made in your title and meta description.

Best Practices for White Hat SEO

Produce quality content. With the help of keyword tools, you’ll be able to come up with a list of keywords or keyword phrases that will help you create your content.

Some quality content best practices:

  • Be original—take an original stance on an existing topic or find something that hasn’t been covered.
  • Make content highly useful and relevant for your audience.
  • Use proper grammar, and make sure that published content has been spell-checked.
  • Name sources for research and images or videos used on your site.
  • Maintain an ideal keyword density (often 5%–7%) without keyword stuffing (more on that in tomorrow’s Advisor).

Usage of descriptive and keyword-rich meta information. Keywords are a big part of effective white hat SEO. A few places where your keywords should be present:

  • Images and videos (including captions)
  • Blog post written content (without spamming/stuffing)
  • Titles and subheadings
  • PPC/Adwords

Interestingly, meta information is becoming less important than it used to be with regards to ranking. Google’s Matt Cutt explained why Google is not really considering meta tags now in SEO and talks about how meta tags are being overused and spammed. But don’t get rid of meta information altogether—a great meta description can still be useful to searchers.

Overall website design and navigation. The most important thing to keep in mind is the people who visit your website and how they use it. Make every effort to give them the best experience, including:

  • Easy to navigate web design and interface
  • Mobile responsiveness
  • Social media utilization (share buttons, links to accounts, etc.)
  • The overall quality of your contents (and a mix of written/video/other media)

In tomorrow’s Advisor, we’ll be continuing the discussion of the difference between white hat and black hat SEO, with the focus changing to black hat SEO.