These days, given all the changes from Google, it would be suicide for you to still use less than ethical SEO efforts. That’s why it is important that you at least know the difference between good and bad search engine optimisation efforts. A single mistake may cost you the entire website, which would be such a huge waste of resources on your part.

Ethical search engine optimisation refers to the methods used to optimise websites for the readers and web visitors rather than for search engines. This is the basic difference between white and black hat SEO techniques.

Unethical Tactics Explained

You may know the black hat tactics, which include the following:

  • Developing content that creates a poor user experience
  • Violating the rules imposed by search engines
  • Using content that is meant more to gain the attention of search engine spiders instead of providing useful information to the users

These tactics used to be such a hit years ago. They were even considered legitimate back then. However, the excessive and improper use of these methods caused the search engines to brand them as unethical. Keyword stuffing is probably the most popular example of these black hat SEO techniques. It refers to the method of using a lot of keywords in a content, even if they are not really relevant to the topic.

Other forms of unethical SEO include doorway pages and invisible text. Doorway pages can’t be seen by users. They are mainly used to engage search engine spiders to give the site a higher ranking. Invisible text, on the other hand, makes use of keywords that are coloured in the same way as the background. It could be white on white or black on black, which means they can’t be seen by users but are certainly scanned by search engine spiders. These are tricks used to deceive the bots for a higher SERP ranking. If these methods are used now, you will surely get penalised.

Despite these risks though, there are still a lot of businesses willing to use these bad practices. They produce quick yet temporary results, making it seem like they are effective at first. But when you’re caught, the penalties would range from having a reduced website ranking in the SERP to being banned.

What Is Ethical SEO?

Given the risks that the use of black hat methods entail, website owners, businesses, and marketers realised that the only way to get sustainable and improved results is to use white hat SEO techniques. Add to that the fact that Google has made major changes in its algorithms, being ethical does seem like the best approach towards reaching the first page of the SERP.

In white hat SEO, the methods used are those in compliance with the search engine’s guidelines. It is usually about giving users informative and relevant content.

Content has always been king, but this point has been emphasised now more than ever with the introduction of the Penguin and Panda updates that are designed to ensure a good user experience. Lower quality sites are pushed back in the rankings, while sites with original content are being sent higher up in the SERP.

Content optimisation is best done using targeted keywords. Avoid overusing keywords though if you don’t want to be thought of as using keyword stuffing methods. Content should be original. It can stay unique through regular updates. But the most important thing to remember is to create content for the users, not for the search engines. Otherwise, users would be discouraged to visit your site and search engines may catch you and ban you from their results page.

Meta tags should be used in your white hat promotional efforts. These include title, description, and keywords and serve as an overview to the users and search engines. These tags should be original and relevant to the web page content.

For directory submissions, content should be submitted under relevant categories. A sitemap would help search engines find the links on the site quickly.

Although it would take time for the results to show from ethical SEO methods, they would be long lasting and significant. Temptations to use unethical efforts may be strong, but it’s just not worth it considering how smart Google and other search engines have become.

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