SEO is a service that many website owners engage in as it is essential for their websites to rank highly on the search engines for commercial keywords. A drawback for many people in regards to SEO is the fact that as an industry SEO is constantly changing and evolving.So for many people this can cause confusion and also open up temptation to engage in ‘bad SEO practices’ or as the industry refers to it ‘black hat SEO’. The main problem is that ‘black hat SEO’ techniques do have positive effects on your Google rankings but only in the short term.In the long term Google’s Algorithm has become very advanced and designed to detect manipulation. As such this means that websites engaging in poor SEO and link building techniques (black hat SEO) will find themselves penalized and potentially black listed off the listings.So What Do We Mean By White Hat & Black Hat?This is really simple when you look at it based on Google’s guidelines, as they pretty much explain everything you can and cant do in regards to SEO. Much of ‘white hat’ and
‘black hat’ SEO now falls under the link building that a website undertakes as link building is a key ranking factor for websites.We sometimes find it a challenge with some of our clients who can see their competitors ranking above them, while their website is gradually rising month by month. We can utilise a tool called ‘Open Site Explorer’ that actually allows us to view competitors link profiles. Essentially we can see if a website is using ‘white hat’ or ‘black hat’ techniques.As we stated above, ‘black hat’ techniques can work but in the short term, and so while our rise to the top of the search engines might take some time, our aim is to have our clients on Page 1 Google for the long term, not the short term.Think About How Google Sees Your Websites Link ProfileIt is often helpful to think about how Google sees your website and the links pointing to it. So for example if your website has 100 links coming from low quality domains, all with the same anchor text back links (see here if you don’t know what we mean by the term anchor text) and from unrelated markets – then it wouldn’t take much for an algorithm to deem that your site isn’t going to rank well.On the other hand if you have 100 links all from relevant websites, with diverse anchor text and links from high quality domains, then your site is going to rank well. When you look at SEO in this way, it is less confusing and quite simple. Quality links breeds quality results.What Can We Do To Help Our Link Profile?There is plenty you can do to help improve your own link profile, which then enhances our own link building efforts on your behalf. We have put together a nice little check list (as everyone likes checklists) below:Industry Related: What we mean by industry related is directories and governing bodies that are related specifically to your market. After all no one knows your industry better than you do, and as Google is all about relevance, links from high quality governing bodies or high quality industry specific directories are going to help your rankings immensely.Anchor Text: If you do build some links, then it is a great idea to try and remember to keep your anchor text as broad as possible. So using Bang! as an example, we are an online marketing company meaning our anchor text links would want to be broad with terms such as ‘online marketing in perth’ , ‘affordable online marketing in perth’ , ‘online marketing company based in perth’ etc.Social Media: Google is now looking at social signals much more than it ever used to and so its key to have activity and presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus. This means you should be looking at building up your presence on these social sites. If Google is deciding who to rank higher, you or your competitor – then the one with a bigger social media presence is going to win ever time if all other areas are equal.Don’t Go For Quick Fixes: As our industry is competitive we find many ‘bad black hat’ SEO companies target businesses by playing on their confusion and use sales tactics that include phrases like ‘guarantee first page Google positions’ etc. Remember no-one can guarantee this and quick fixes on Google will only ever be short term. Think about if you are planning on being in business for short term or the long term. If the answer is long term, then invest in a long term SEO strategy – no a quick fix.Diversification OF Links: Remember that every time you get a link from a new quality related website, that it is good for your link profile. So it is a good idea to keep an eye out for any opportunities from industry related websites or blogs that are willing to give you a link for your website. If you ever get any press for example, request a link from their article to your website – it’s an easy link to get and the value of press related links are superb.Links From Suppliers: Another great link tactic are links from your suppliers websites to your own. If you stock a specific brand then you should be able to get a link from their website as an official ‘stockist’. Again this is an easy link which is highly relevant to your website, so it makes sense to acquire it asap.Create Exciting Content: If your company website has a news section or a blog section then utilise that each week or month with some interesting industry news. You can then have a company like us distribute that to social bookmarking websites, which can help it get exposure. If the content is really great then it could go viral and generate huge traffic numbers!Reviews: Many of our customers have a lot of happy clients of their own but do not leverage this in online reviews. If you have a particularly happy client, then ask them to leave you a review on one of the online review websites as Google looks at this data and gives value accordingly. Moreover it’s a great way to convert new clients if they see positive reviews about your business on third party websites.So the above points are some areas that you can manage yourself, however if you really want to push your SEO rankings, then give the (friendly) team at Bang! a call and we will be happy to help you achieve some search engine success in 2013!