Types of SEO Practices
There are three primary types of search engine optimization (or SEO) practices: Black Hat SEO, White Hat SEO, and Gray Hat SEO. I will give a brief breakdown of these three methods below.
What Is White Hat SEO?
White hat SEO is the simplest and safest form of Search Engine Optimization. This strategy only uses tactics that follow the guidelines set up by search engines such as Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc. Simply put, you follow the rules. This is the best SEO practice you can follow.
What Is Black Hat SEO?
Black Hat SEO is the opposite. This strategy attempts to maneuver around the guidelines set by these search engines in order to take advantage of weaknesses in the algorithm. By learning what the algorithm is looking for, Black Hat SEO experts can take advantage of the system.
A simple example of this is when Google Search once prioritized backlinks. At one point, there were SEO companies you could pay to put your link on a variety of websites, improving your search results. However, often these companies would put your links on completely unrelated websites.
This can elevate your website in the search engines rapidly but comes with potentially devastating side effects. Search engines like Google or Bing are constantly watching for these practices. When they catch you (e.g., your website) breaking its rules you can be penalized or even blacklisted from their search results. If you think it’s hard getting website traffic with bad SEO, imagine being removed from the search engines altogether.
What Is Gray Hat SEO?
Gray Hat SEO has a more vague description. When you hire a typical SEO-only company, this is typically the strategy they will implement. If White Hat SEO is following the rules and Black Hat SEO is breaking them, how do you meet in the middle?
Well, Gray Hat SEO is about following the guidelines and rules, but with the intent of and focus on improving your SEO ranking. Often this means learning the rules so you can get as close as possible to them without breaking them.
For example, let’s bring back the backlink. Backlinks are in fact a good method for improving your search results. The White Hat tactic for this would be to create content that is highly valuable and relevant to search engine users making website visitors share your link.
The Gray Hat SEO version of this would be to call various websites and potentially pay them to put your link on their site, but first making sure their website is relevant. This isn’t breaking any rules but it is going against the intent of the algorithms. Therefore it could be considered Gray Hat.
The Best SEO Practice
So, you can hire an SEO firm to improve your sites search results. However, due to an ever changing search algorithm this isn’t sustainable in the long run. So what’s the best SEO practice you can implement? Blogs.
Blogging is the single best practice you can easily implement to improve your website’s rank in the search results. Search engine optimization is all about trust, authority, and relevancy (for a breakdown of this, check out my article—SEO Made Easy).
Writing blogs on a regular basis will show that your website is active. This can build trust when updated on a regular enough basis. Authority is built when your site is referenced via backlinks (along with other factors). Well, by adding more content to your website you are creating more opportunities for visitors to create backlinks. Finally, by discussing more topics in your industry or niche your site will increase in relevancy for said industry and niche.
A great example of this… THE BLOG YOU’RE READING NOW!!!
You’ve found this article, yes? Whether it’s from a shared post on social media or one of the many search engines, this article has driven you to my site. This gives me the opportunity to offer what I want. Whether it’s simply building awareness, liking, or trust, or it’s to sell you something, this article has served its purpose.
Getting Started with Blogging
Now that you understand what the best SEO practice is, how do you go about it? When it comes to writing blogs, I will admit it can become very tedious. So I don’t want to leave you with this massive task and no game plan. So here are some helpful pointers for getting over some of the biggest hurdles you may come across.
Coming Up with Blog Ideas
The first struggle many bloggers come across is idea generation. Here are a few tactics I’ve used to come up with more ideas.
1. Write a List of Problems You Can Solve
Simply gathering a list of all of your services will help in coming up with topics to discuss. You can take these services and simply describe how these services can help your audience. By sharing your expertise, your audience can learn more about you, appreciate your candor, and trust that you can get the job done.
2. Create a Lead Magnet—Fill in the Blanks
By creating a lead magnet, user guide, or some other digital product you can give away or sell to your audience, you can come up with more ideas. For example, this article is based on a lead magnet I’ve created for my own audience. After defining some ideas in the lead magnet, I decided to develop those thoughts further in blog articles, such as this one.
3. Ask Your Audience
When your well of ideas start running dry, the next best step is to ask your audience. Ask them questions such as:
- What would you like to know about my industry?
- What about my industry do you find confusing?
- Are there any topics you wish I would cover?
Then use these responses as the titles of your blogs and fill in the blank!
4. Ask Google!
Is your audience too small or have too little understanding of your service? Head over to Google. Start typing your services into Google and see what comes up. Based on these suggestions, you may come up with article ideas for your blog. Additionally, this practice can enhance your SEO by quite literally looking for what others want to know and providing it for them.
5. Check Out Quora
Struggling to find topics still? Head over to Quora.com. Here you can simply search for a broad topic and find the top questions around that topic. Here you can enter your industry for broad topics, services for more niche topics, and information from your audience or Google searches to get even more specific.
How to Write the Blog Article
After you’ve come up with some topics, the next struggle is writing the article itself. This can be time-consuming if you’re anything like me and struggle to narrow down your thoughts. When trying to focus on one subject, I’ll often tangent left and right to adjacent topics and can never end an article. Especially if you’re an expert in your field! Here are a few tips I’ve come up with to help in staying focused.
- Decide on your topic of focus
- Create a bulleted list of items to discuss in the article around said topic
- Organize these bullet points into a relevant order
- Change these bullet points into headers
- Finally, write 1 to 3 paragraphs beneath each headline
This simple guide can help you narrow your focus and finish your article in a reasonable amount of time.
So What’s Next?
Now that you’ve applied best practice with your SEO, there’s something else you’ll want to do. At the end of every article, you should be sure to add a call to action (or CTA). This can include things such as “Share this article” or “Get this FREE Resources!” where you can add a link (such as I’ve added to mine) to take said action.
This will ensure your hard work doesn’t go to waste! Typically you should focus on one call-to-action, but a secondary CTA can be used as well, such as this—”If it helps you or your business, feel free to leave me a review.” By adding these little details you can turn your blog into a tool used to increase traffic and collect leads.
Anyway, I hope this article has helped you on your path to building your business. If you have any questions about Search Engine Optimization or Content Creation, shoot me an email. I’d love to help! ❤