Everybody wants their website to be a success, to score well with Google and appear high up in the rankings; it’s THE place to be if you want to attract attention. Getting to those giddy heights in the search results isn’t easy however and can take a lot of time, lots of hard work…oh… and let’s not forget… money! Then throw in all the competition already out there, and well you may just feel like throwing in the towel.

But is there an easier way, a shortcut to get into the limelight? There are, but your success will be short-lived and you’ll jeopardise your website. Let’s have a look at the legitimate White Hat techniques that people are using, and the dreaded Black Hat ones that’ll get you nothing but TROUBLE!!

White Hat SEO

The majority of people will endeavour to use a combination of ‘white hat’ -activities to boost their website. These activities such as on-site optimisation and quality link building, are totally legitimate and adhere to Google’s strict guidelines. Over time, done right and consistently, white hat activities can provide long lasting high rankings for website owners.

Examples of white hat activities include…

Creating quality content:

Unique, informative and well-written website content that appeals to and interests a target audience is essential. This includes blogs and articles, infographics and other forms of multimedia content.

Using the right keywords:

Undertaking keyword research to see how customers are searching for your products and services and then using those keywords in your web page content will help improve search engine visibility.

Optimizing on-page elements:

Page elements such as title tags, meta tags and image alt tags can all be optimised to complement your chosen keywords. Make sure that your internal links make it easy for search engines to understand web page content.

Making sure you’re mobile friendly:

Google gives high priority to websites that are optimised for viewing/functioning on desktop, tablet and mobile devices. Responsive web design with fast page loading that enhances usability will score you well.

Creating quality backlinks:

Achieving links back to your website from authoritative and relevant websites is a win-win situation. Listing with local directories, guest blogging and content promotion are great ways to create natural backlinks.

Social Media Marketing:

Promoting your website and engaging with users on social media platforms builds your brand awareness and drives traffic back to your website. This indicates relevant and quality content to search engines.

Creating the best User Experience:

It’s all about user experience, for both visitors to your website and Google. Site speed, easy to use navigation, content readability and accessibility, are all major tick boxes in great user experience.

Black Hat SEO

Others, turn to the dark side and use ‘black hat’ techniques that are manipulative, unethical and which violate Google’s guidelines. These include activities such as keyword stuffing and negative SEO. Black hat activities may provide brief leaps in a website’s rankings before it is penalised, devalued or even de-indexed. Common sense would tell you avoid black hat activities at all costs, but maybe the search marketing company you are paying is taking short-cuts and undertaking them on your website without you knowing? Or maybe, even one of your competitors has it in for you!

Examples of Black Hat activities include…

Overusing keywords

Overusing keywords, or commonly known as keyword stuffing, in the hope of tricking search engines and scoring well will undoubtedly backfire. Overstuffing results in unreadable, confusing and befuddling text that puts off both customers and Google.

Hiding links and text

This black hat technique places links and text in webpage code to appeal to search engines, but which can’t be seen by users. Often these links and text use the same colour as the page background and are invisible to front-end users.

Paid for links

This activity includes paying websites known as ‘link farms’ to artificially create multiple links back to your website to make it seem more popular. It also includes paying websites with high rankings to link back to you, regardless of whether these websites are relevant to your business.

Copying content

Many lazy people copy text from someone else’s high scoring website and republish it on their own, hoping to improve their rankings. Quite the opposite – it can cause both websites to be penalised, have a drop in rankings and webpages de-indexed. Copying text is also copyright infringement and breaks the law.


This black hat technique offers one version of a website for search engine’s eyes in the hope of gaining better rankings. The other version of the website for users contains often poor content and is spammy.

Negative SEO

The stuff of nightmares, where competitors or paid companies attempt to sabotage a website using the methods shown above and more! The goal of negative SEO is of course to make a website get penalised, drop in rank, even get de-indexed!

Closing thoughts…

Life isn’t easy and getting high rankings on Google certainly isn’t easy. You can take shortcuts – do things the wrong way, cheat, be sneaky, all of those black hat things, but you’ll get found out sooner or later. Stick to white hat techniques, put in the time and effort, use a reputable search marketing company with proven track results, and you should reap the rewards.