When you have a website it is like having a really big advertisement for your service or products. But unless you get it right, this website may never be found by the people who could become your customers. There are millions of websites on the Internet and a good portion of them are likely to be offering the same things as you. Not all of them can show up on the first page of the search engines.
The problem is that most people who are searching for something on the Internet do not look past the first page of results that come up for their keyword. So your website may never be seen – unless you do some simple SEO marketing.
Here are three ways such marketing can help your business: –
Firstly, the right SEO techniques can make your website show up on the first page of Google so it does not remain invisible. What are the ‘right’ SEO techniques? There are many ways to make your website show up, from the actual design of the website through to the content on it, the keywords used in the text, the value the text gives to your visitors, the images and/or videos used and the inbound and outbound links – and where they lead to. You may think that design has no bearing on the matter, but what if you were looking for hiking boots and came across a website that featured ballerinas or dancing shoes in its header image? Would you click on that one, or one that showed say, mountains along with hiking boots?
To understand why search engines frown on Black Hat SEO marketing techniques, first you have to know exactly what they are. In general terms, black hat marketing is trying to hoodwink the search engines into placing your website high in their rankings so it will appear on the first page of the results for a given keyword.
There are many ways you can do this, but be warned; if the search engines catch onto it, your website could become history and you will lose any benefit you may have achieved with those extra customers or higher ranking.
Basically, search engines are in the business of helping people find what they want. If they don’t do this well, people will not want to use them. Black hat methods of marketing often lead searchers to websites that are spammy or that offer something they are not interested in – or to a website that does not give them the value that they could and should have found. They tend to blame the search engines rather than the website owner.
Black hat marketing techniques include: –
Using purchased links or link farms to get links to increase their traffic
Keyword stuffing – overuse of keywords
Invisible text such as white text on a white background can be picked up by Google bots
Adding keywords unrelated to text – slightly different from keyword stuffing
Changing the contents of a page completely after it has been ranked
Cloaking – the practice of hijacking a link to take clickers to a page different from what they expected.
Duplicate content – using the exact content another website has used.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, so SEO marketing is basically using the search engines to market your business. However, there are good ways and bad ways to do this. The good ways may take more time and effort, but they will ensure that your website is not penalised by the search engines – and they will give value and a good reputation to your website for many years to come.
The ‘bad’ ways – known as black hat SEO – are frowned on by search engine and as they become ever more vigilant, will eventually lose their value to your business and you may even find your website banned. Another reason to work on the good or white hat ways is that it is free; at least, it can be free if you do the work yourself. And who better to do it, since you are the one who knows your business better than anyone else?