Apr 2011

Search Engine Optimization is the art and science of getting your website to rank higher in search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing.

There are two aspects to search engine optimization:

  1. On-Page Optimization – This involves tweaking your website so that the content is more relevant and search engines are able to see the keywords that are in your website.
  2. Off-Page Optimization – Off-page optimization is when  you get other websites to link to you and use the right anchor phrases so that the search engines believe that your web site has the authority to rank well for a keyword.

Now, if you’ve been anywhere in this industry you’ve probably gotten a lot of spam emails from search engine optimization companies around the world guaranteeing #1 rankings. That is BLACK HAT SEO. Black Hat SEO is when a website follows slightly unethical tactics and promises too much in order to get your account White Hat SEO, on the other hand is Search Engine Optimization that is ethical, legal and okay in the eyes of search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

What are the differences between White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO?

When Creating Page Titles

The most important thing in on-page SEO are page titles. Good titles are attractive, clean and short. Usually less than 65 characters, they contain your target keyword just once and they are not stuffed with keywords. They focus on grabbing the attention of the user and getting the click. Bad page titles on the other hand are stuffed full of irrelevant keywords. They are not complete sentences and read like gibberish to humans. And because they’re not designed for us to read, they get a very bad click through rate. Although they’re designed to trick search engines in reality they usually get caught as spam and the site ends up, not being ranked.

When Improving User Experience

Badly optimized sites are often built around the wrong keywords and that’s why users are just not interested. Site owners may think that users are happy on this site but in most cases web stats will show them the users’s disappointment. Finally, badly optimized try hard to be aggressive and pushy and that always leads to visitors leaving and the site owner being very, very sad. Optimized sites focus on good use experience visitors quickly find what they’re looking for there’s plenty of great content built around keywords and excellent navigation makes it easy to find and these sites are rewarded by having a friendly interactive relationship with their visitors. These sites help users find the right information and they get loyal happy visitors in return.

When doing On-page Optimisation for content

You could smell a badly optimize page from far away because it is so full of keywords the keyword density of the page is extremely high and the content is very hard for humans to read.

Well optimized sites carefully include keywords and phrases into your existing text so that humans can read and like your site’s message and that communicates your business message clearly while occasionally including keywords for search engines. Remember to keep the focus on the user and don’t overdo it with the keywords.

In Ethical and Effective Link Building

Link building involves building a real network of links around your site getting links that don’t just focus on SEO but bring in real visitors and clients. You should get links from your customers, business partners, vendors and peers. Search engines will recognize your authority and give you a boost in rankings if your priority is building a network of topical natural links.

In Black Hat link building, website owners slink into some shady corner of the internet. Through a spam email, a pop-up link or an unranked EBay vendor’s site, desperate for a good ranking, they will do anything to get a bunch of incoming links including paying for links which is a pretty serious crime in the world of search engine optimization. After they’ve paid up, the vendor will pretend to do some work but all users really get are blog comments, forum links and other links that get absolutely no traffic. Website owners forget that it is the quality of the link that matters, not the quantity.

Hard Work really pays off in SEO.

All the websites you see ranking on top of Google and Bing, consistently have gotten there through hard work, and lots and lots of time so there is no quick fix for shortcut to ranking on top but there is a way and that involves making your website cleaner, more indexable and full of richer content. So if search engine optimization is something you are looking at, make sure you allocate the time and resources to add to your website, make it richer and do it consistently over time.

Rachit Dayal

Is the Managing Partner at Happy Marketer, and handles clients with needs in Web Analytics, Search Engine Optimization, Google AdWords, Website Design and Conversion Consulting.

As Singapore’s first Qualified AdWords Professional and one of the first Analytics Qualified Professionals in the region, Rachit has been on the forefront of search marketing in Singapore since 2004.

But as this industry comes into maturity, he believes now is when the fun is starting – when clients dare to dream of exciting campaigns, and we can finally show tangible positive ROI from all marketing campaigns.