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Search engine optimization has been much talked about in the online community, and will continue to be. Though it’s much talked about, many still don’t understand what it is all about; especially those just starting off with running web properties.
So, what is search engine optimization?
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is the manipulation (whether deliberate or in-deliberate) of web pages by webmasters to make it rank high in the search engines for certain targeted keywords or phrases. It is not just link building in itself.
In this particular article, we will be examining SEO to make it understandable for the layman or beginner. Search engine optimization is quite vast, but let’s have a look at its various aspect.
Understanding Search Engine Optimization
It’s important that you understand the very fundamentals of search engine optimization if you have got anything to do with websites or if you design websites. You don’t need to be a guru or SEOer. Basic understanding of its concept is needed though.
White Hat SEO
This is the method of using healthy and google approved means of optimizing or ranking a website. It includes such practices as writing good content, using the right meta tags, titles and article length, incorporating videos and optimizing your pictures as well.
This method is often tedious, time-consuming and takes quite some time for the effects to be seen. This is often the least chosen path by many SEOers because of the heat from the competition and the time involved to see returns.
However, this is the method loved most by the search engines.
Black Hat SEO
This involves all the tactics and manipulations carried out by webmasters and SEOers to game the search engines and rank higher than the competition. It involves strategies frowned upon by search engines and could get websites de-indexed when eventually found out.
Such practices as keyword stuffing, buying links, link farming, gross permanent redirects and every other method that doesn’t involve natural ways of building links or optimizing a website. This method of ranking a website is often short-lived.
Grey Hat SEO
This is the strategy of ranking a website that involves both white hat strategies and black hat strategies. It is considered grey in that it involves all the tactics of white hat seo and also a few borrowed shades from black hat SEO.
The rules are kept in that all what the search engines wants are stuck to; but also broken in that there is a deliberate attempt to game the search engines by inculcating unnatural means of ranking that the search engines are blatantly against.
The most notable form of grey hat seo is the use of private blog networks to lift up money sites. No matter how well built or natural the PBNs are, as long as they are being used to boost money sites; it is a grey hat tactics because it’s not natural.
There are those who even classify PBNs as a black hat form of SEO. I don’t agree with them anyway. While it might not be white hat, it is not totally black hat. There is a way to build a blog network and make it just like a money site, with all the rules of white hat kept. This takes time and patience though.
There is risk involved anyway when it comes to blog networks, but I guess that is a topic set for another day.
What Method of Search Engine Optimization Is The Best?
I guess we now have a better understanding of what SEO is, no matter its form?
If we have understood what search engine optimization is really all about, then which is the best route to take when trying to rank or optimize your website? Well, everyone would have something to say about this, and depending on your long term and short term goals.
But one thing is very obvious. The search engines want us to do white hat SEO, and they are continuously out to fish out those doing black hat seo. Google rolled out many algorithms to combat various means of black hat and grey hat SEO and they are continually on it. This is because Google wants the best for the end user and frowns at any means of un-natural page rankings or optimization; especially for undeserving and inferior web properties.
However, if you want to rank a web property fast for a purpose; maybe to earn quick and fast cash, you could use black hat tactics. This will provide fast results but the site will get burned in the end. There are many webmasters that do this.
There are also those that do grey hat and are able to keep under the radar of google. These are those that build private blog networks and mini sites to promote their money sites. They practice all the white hat strategies, then build a network of powerful aged domains to power up their money sites.
This could be very powerful if well done. This is only if you do it properly and are able to keep away from big G’s radar. Google hate PBNs and had loads of them de-indexed months back with their algorithm.
I hope you are not confused?
I made this the first article under this category so you have a basic understanding of what SEO is all about. We are definitely going to be coming back to some of these terms in the future and dwelling more on them.
So, which method of SEO is the best? The answer is: that would depend on what you want both short term and long term. But if you want to build a site that stands the test of time, and would eventually be an asset that continues to earn you income, then white hat is the way to go.