White Hats, Black Hats, & SEO

by diyweb on April 30, 2012

Do you know the difference between white hat and black hat SEO (search engine optimization)? Are you asking yourself why it matters what kind of hat SEO experts wear?

If so, we don’t want you to wonder any more. While this blog is primarily about tools for building a website, we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about SEO regularly. There is so much information, and misinformation, available about SEO that it must be a factor in building a website.

And the best way to factor in SEO when building a website? Well, some people are starting to suggest you ignore it and just focus on creating quality content. And the biggest proponent of this approach to SEO? It’s Matt Cutts, the head of Google Webspam team. He participated in a panel at the 2012 SXSW and mentioned in passing that Google would be changing their search algorithm soon. Here is what he said:

“We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect.”

What does this mean? First, let me say that I don’t think it means that SEO is dead, as some are reporting. Instead, I think it means that Google is recognizing that not all great content is SEO optimized but that it still deserves a decent place in the search results.

And honestly, this is good news for those of you who read this blog. It means that your efforts in building a website that is full of quality material will eventually be rewarded with an increase in your search engine placement. And that is white hat SEO.

Once the algorithm is changed, “over optimization” (aka black hat SEO) will no longer be effective. That means key word stuffing and spammy link building are not going to help when building a website. It will allow for a higher quality of search results, meaning smaller, less well known pages will have an improved chance of showing up higher in Google search results.

This is great news for small businesses who are building a website! It means that your natural inclination to focus on providing quality content will pay off. All you have to do is to continue to use your key words naturally and continue to build relationships with other websites to create natural links that make sense to your end users.

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