What Is SEO?

The term ‘SEO’ is an acronym for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’. It’s essentially the optimisation of a web-available item (mainly websites) for Search Engines to make it more visible to those searching online.

Search Engine Optimisation has been around for many years in many different formats. They have over 200 factors that contribute to your ranking on Search Engines and each factor carries it’s own weight.

Over the past few years, SEO has become much more prominent, especially within businesses that try to market themselves online, or have a web-shop available on their website. There can be lots of money to be made with SEO within the e-commerce sector, and being able to drive more relevant traffic to your website is key to getting in those online sales.

Within these factors that contribute to your standing with a Search Engine, they are filtered through into their own categories:

  • White Hat
  • Grey Hat
  • Black Hat
SEO is one big subject

White Hat’ SEO methods are the most reliable methods to use for SEO . Not only will White Hat SEO methods be favoured by Search Engines which will help your ranking on them but they will also help to minimalize your risk of your site being de-indexed.

Black Hat’ SEO tactics are the complete opposite of White Hat in that they abuse a flaw in Google’s algorithm to rank higher on Google. Things like backlink farms and creating location-based pages for every single page on your website are included within this, and have a high risk of being penalised by Search Engines and potentially being de-indexed from the search results.

Some of the problems businesses face is that when they use a third party to manage their SEO the only SEO method being used is ‘Black Hat’ due to its quick implantation and fast-results.

As an example, Interflora (popular flower distributor) purchased thousands upon thousands of backlinks to their website from untrusted sources (link farm). Due to this Google approached them just before Valentines day to notify them that they were going to be de-indexed until all their bad backlinks had been removed. With Valentines day being a very popular season for the business the effect of the untrusted sources would have an effect on not only their rank on Google but their profit margins for that month.

Grey Hat’ SEO tactics are in the middle of the two and can’t be categorised into either Black Hat or White Hat due to the fact that they can be used for both good and bad techniques. Grey Hat tends to be more related towards using a lot more keywords than you should, or having false misleading information on the website to drive more traffic towards it.

Over the years, Google in particular have implemented many different big updates (Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Possum etc) and these tend to knock off any ‘Black Hat’ SEO tactics that people may be using but it’s safe to say that some businesses still reap the rewards of using these methods on their website despite the risk of being penalised by Google being so high.

After a recent Google update, bad backlinks are no longer taken into account and are simply ignored by Google instead of recognising them and penalising websites for having them.

SEO isn’t just about technical elements either, a lot of what’s physically on a website matters because of the user experience. When doing SEO, you’re supposed to keep to one motto:

“Users First, Search Engines Second.”

Naturally by optimising your website for your users, you’re going to signal to Search Engines that users are enjoying their visits to your website and that others may benefit from the same experience.

On-page analysis is key to getting conversions whether you’re a business that sells services, asking enquiries online or if you’re a business that sells products online through an e-commerce store or web shop it should be a top priority for your company. Being able to identify what your users are doing on your website and what they’re interacting with is the first step in the right direction when trying to optimise your website, to not only gain sales but customer interaction also.

So before commencing any work on your website towards SEO and before entrusting others to improve your SEO, make sure that you always use White Hat SEO tactics to keep Google on your side and for you to get the best out of your business.

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