There is a lot of hype and mythology out there about SEO, but what does it all mean?
With all the different shades that SEO can take, from content marketing white hat to link farming black hat, it’s difficult to know what ‘real’ SEO is.
Search engine penalties, algorithm changes – the SEO world moves fast and it’s hard to keep up with the latest best practices.
And different SEO’s say different things depending on what hat they wear.
So, what does white hat, black hat, and gray hat SEO really have to do with ranking a website?
And what do these different types of SEO mean for your business?
Delve a little deeper to unearth their true SEO credentials.
White Hat SEOs are Prone to Specialization:
Find an agency who have worked in your type of business.
It’s great to work with SEOs who understand all your unique business challenges and have experience of your specific search environment.
SEO is Part of the Bigger Picture:
White hat SEO is often part of a digital marketing and content strategy package.
Good SEO should be closely integrated with long-term discussions about your business and can help you launch into new marketplaces.
Most black hat SEOs are very open about being black hat – there is a whole underground black hat SEO community where sharing link building tactics and search engine loopholes are common practice.
For black hats, experimentation and testing are central SEO tenets and they are much more likely to take risks with search engine rankings in the hope of making a profit.
Black hats rarely surface outside of online marketing circles because black hat SEO is rarely client-focused.
So there isn’t much risk of your business website getting into black hat hands – unless you answer one of those emails that promise to rank your website number one in Google for $100… (never answer those!).
Gray hat SEO is a term that’s been doing the rounds in the SEO community more recently.
Being gray hat is often a reaction against ambivalent industry and search engine guidelines and it’s driven by a curiosity for more mass-scale SEO.
Gray hat SEO might be riskier, but it’s a method some SEOs feel is justified in today’s commercial search market.
In can be much harder to spot a gray hat SEO, but often it comes down to how they prefer to build links or market themselves.
It’s probably worthwhile thinking about whether you want to invest in SEO because you see SEO as a great way to grow your online brand, or whether it’s something you’re just testing the waters with?
SEO ALWAYS works best when it has your full commitment and is a long-term investment.
All the things that accompany modern SEO – video content, social media, paid advertising, design, and development – are all part of the overall marketing mix for your business.
Embrace your business’s online potential outside the world of SEO too.
And leave the black hat SEO methods to people who are willing to take the risk!
Do SEO providers make their intentions clear enough?
What industry guidelines do you think would help consumers?