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The Google algorithm incorporates hundreds, if not thousands, of signals when determining where pages rank for a search. Knowing which factors carry the most weight and optimizing accordingly can be the difference between success and failure. This post will concentrate on areas that, in my experience, deliver positive results and a big return on investment.
On a related note, keep close tabs on Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This open source initiative relies on AMP HTML, which promises “instant” loading—a real benefit on mobile devices. Google has been pushing this hard, but early reviews are mixed. Unless you have a news site, I’m not ready to recommend jumping on the AMP bandwagon just yet.
Google has always encouraged webmasters to make their primary focus one of providing a good user experience. As the algorithm gets “smarter”, websites that do so are positioned to benefit the most. A good user experience goes much deeper than writing clean code.
Mobile search and local search are inextricably intertwined. Per The Mobile Playbook , 20% of ALL searches have local intent. Of smartphone users:
At its core, RankBrain is machine learning. This allows Google to put things in context rather than rely solely on strings of metadata. Google now understands language nuances like stemming, synonyms, and answers.
According to The Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 B2C study, only 37% of respondents believe they are effective at content marketing. Since content is one of the top two Google ranking factors, it’s pretty important to get it right. Once again, this presents a huge opportunity for those willing to invest the time to make that happen.
In 2014 (the most recent data available), Searchmetrics reported that over a third of Google search results incorporated Rich Snippets supported by Schema, but only 0.3% of websites were making use of the Google-approved Schema tool. I suspect that percentage has improved over that past couple of years, but the opportunity to use Schema as a competitive edge is still huge.
Schema, found at Schema.org, is a collection of different HTML tags that can be added to a Web page. These tags create an enhanced description that appears in search results (commonly known as rich snippets). Schema is commonly used to create Rich Snippets for Organizations , Events , Music , People , Products , Recipes , Review Ratings, and Videos .
That’s right—keyword research is still important. With Google providing less KW data all the time, two of the largest SEO tool providers, Moz and Ahrefs, have developed and improved KW tools hoping to fill the void. However, the way one goes about performing and using the results from KW research has changed, thanks to RankBrain.
Mobile is Local – Claim Your Business Listing.
Useful x Enjoyable x Inspired = Innovative Content.
Everyone talks about creating “great content”, but what does that even mean? It really comes down to having useful content, finding the right audience, and then reaching that audience. This doesn’t have to be a difficult exercise. It boils down to having empathy with your prospects and customers. Ann Handley created the following formula to sum it up:
Editor Note: Here are 10 FREE content marketing tools that you may find useful in developing your own epic content plan.
As Google continues to improve its ability to deliver hyper-local results, it is critically important to have complete and accurate data in one’s Google My Business profile. This continues to be an easy win, as less than half of all businesses have claimed their business listing.
More importantly, I suspect the conversational search/rich answers technology is being applied to voice search. Voice is the fastest growing type of search; 55% of teens and 41% of adults already use voice search daily . As devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home gain market share, I would expect the pace of voice search to grow exponentially.
I first started promoting a “mobile first” approach to SEO back in March of 2015, when I dubbed Google’s pending mobile update “Mobilegeddon”. The name caught on, but the April 21, 2015, update didn’t create as big an upheaval as expected. It did, however, put everyone on notice, that mobile was here and no longer “the future”. Those who did not heed the warning to go mobile will soon be paying the price.
According to this study from the Oxford Journal, “The goal of UX design in business is to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty through the utility, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction with a product.” For our purposes, your website is the product. The objective is to first determine a user’s intent, then develop a methodology for smooth navigation—a methodology that evokes a positive emotion and leads to an overall good experience.
Keep in mind “conversational” search queries. As of July 2015, over 30% of all searches returned rich answers. Many of these answers were in response to “who, what, when, where, why, and how” queries. While it’s great to appear in position 0 and garner the traffic associated with it, the benefit is usually short lived. The churn rate for rich answers exceeds 55%.
The new generation of keyword tools takes this into consideration by creating things like Parent Topics and Keyword Groups. Armed with this information, users can develop content that incorporates a series of contextually relevant phrases. Just be smart about it and avoid the temptation to stuff every variation of a phrase found in a KW batch onto a page.
White hat SEO is important because, without it, search engine results would be chaotic. Without rules to guide the internet, website owners would rely on more dated SEO methods to rank on the search pages. And users would have to comb through a lot of irrelevant sites to find what they’re looking for.
Using videos and images.
White hat SEO is important because it benefits everyone. Google makes sure its algorithms only rank great content that captures user intent for every keyword search because it encourages millions of internet users to use the search engine. Site owners also benefit because they can boost their ranking without resorting to dishonest tactics. Lastly, users benefit because they can find what they’re looking for easily through organic search.
What Are Some White Hat SEO Strategies?
To get a quick view of your website’s overall search engine presence regarding organic traffic and the number of backlinks, use our Domain Overview tool.
We also offer effective keyword research tools to ensure your content includes the primary and secondary keywords relevant to users’ search queries.
White hat content complies with search engine guidelines and builds links by guest posting and authentic link building strategies, while black hat’s strategy is to buy links.
Type your URL into the search box of Google’s mobile-friendly test tool. You’ll get an answer on whether your website can be viewed on mobile phones. You’ll also receive a screenshot of how your pages look on a phone screen with a list of recommendations for optimization.
Formatting your content for skimmers — use subheadings and leave a lot of white space.
White hat SEO produces high-quality content that matches user intent, while black hat strategies put out low-quality, duplicated, or heavily templated content.
Black hat SEO doesn’t have to be seen as an insidious SEO service because looking closely, some of the strategies are the same. It’s just that black hat strategies create and produce content strictly for search engines instead of people — a practice often referred to as “cloaking.” However, it’s still best to stay away from such practices and build your site authority with long-term, sustainable strategies.
Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly.
To better understand white hat SEO, it might make sense to examine black hat SEO and understand their key differences, such as:
White hat SEO strategies focus on providing readers with high-quality and relevant content that optimizes user experience rather than using more spammy techniques, like duplicate content that’s only optimized for search engines.
A white hat strategy includes using well-labeled images with thoughtful alt text, while black hat uses more dated SEO practices, like keyword stuffing and invisible text.
With 67% of digital marketers citing search engine optimization (SEO) as the most efficient content marketing tactic they’ve implemented in the past year, having an effective SEO strategy is important for your overall digital marketing plans.
Build your business and your website’s reputation on solid ground. White hat strategies may take time, but they produce long-term results. Below are some white hat SEO strategies you should implement.
Why Is White Hat SEO Important?
White hat SEO uses keyword research organically on a page. In contrast, black hat SEO takes a target keyword and overuses it in headers, meta tags, or unnatural anchor text throughout a piece of content.
Whether they engage in white hat or black hat strategies, content marketers want the same thing — to boost their ranking on Google. Why are SEO strategists clamoring to make Google’s algorithm happy? Because your website ranking high on Google means reaching 86% internet users worldwide.
Satisfying user intent is Google’s No. 1 goal, so you should also aim for it as a website owner. User intent is the person’s goal when they type a query into a search engine. For example, if they type “keto pasta recipes,” they’d expect the results to show them keto diet-approved pasta recipes.
Knowing your audience and what they’re looking for.
You’ll also want your content to be relevant and authoritative so that others will use it for reference.
In this guide, we’ll discuss what differentiates white hat from black hat SEO strategies. We’ll also cover the basics of effective white hat SEO tactics and how they can improve key ranking factors.