Modern White Hat SEO & Content, Part 1
Last time, I discussed the meaning of the phrase “black hat” with respect to SEO best practices. Black hat SEO generally refers to gimmicky, spammy, or otherwise shady techniques which solely pursue short-term gains in search rankings. These gains often come at the expense of quality of user experience, and are the bread and butter of some unethical SEO specialists who aim to make a quick buck. In the long run, Google and other search engines crack down on these practices and heavily penalize sites who use them.
There is another, more righteous side to SEO- White hat SEO is the term used for sustainable search engine optimization practices which aim to improve both search rankings and user experience.
White hat SEO is a broad topic, so let’s start by covering white hat practices for content marketing:
-Writing instructive and genuinely useful content. Content writing should go beyond its bare minimum purpose and teach its readers something new. While it is true that a “good enough” content article with reasonable keyword usage and interesting information can help rankings, content writing as a medium is capable of much more than that. Interesting content will engage readers, encourage them to browse the site and build a larger following for a company’s activities.
-Know your products and services. A content article for Jim’s Bowling Balls, Inc. written by a bowling enthusiast will almost certainly be more informative and engaging than one written by a writer who has never bowled before. While some content writers have many clients and it is unlikely that they are personally invested in all of these clients’ goods and services, a little research can go a long way toward making content interesting!
-Correct usage of keywords. Keyword stuffing is a black hat technique which used to be rampant in the SEO industry. Marketers would cram content articles with repetitive, droning overuse of keywords, hoping to get Google’s attention. At one time, this technique was considered largely effective.
Google took notice and cracked down on sites and articles engaged in “keyword stuffing”. A new concept has arisen to measure efficient keyword usage: keyword density. As the name suggests, keyword density is a measure of what percentage of an article is made up of keywords. A keyword density of 7% or higher is a widely accepted sign of keyword overuse, as it lessens the quality of an article. Take note, writers!
–An absence of content is preferable to bad content. This runs contrary to the beliefs of many observers and newcomers to content writing. In fact, content which wastes readers’ time and wastes a website’s space will likely be frowned upon by Google and other search engines. Be sure to put in the time to make compelling articles!