Digital Marketing: What is Black Hat, What is White Hat?

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Digital marketing is a very competitive industry, and when a SEOs’ pay and pride are dependent on the performance of their sites search rank, drastic measures will be taken. What is meant by drastic measures is that SEO’s will attempt tactics and maneuvers in attempts to get their page higher within search results. These frowned upon activities are known to be Black Hat. The inverse to Black Hat activities is titled White Hat, where White Hat consists of the methods of SEO that are endorsed by the search engines. Because the readers’ best interests are at heart, some of the major Black Hat tactics will be discussed in efforts to prevent the taboo tactics from being used on your respective pages.

The most common Black Hat tactic is Keyword Stuffing. It is well known in the SEO community that the use of specific keywords is critical to the rank of your page, but what has happened is users are stuffing their pages with a desired keyword. Users have been creative enough to hide the stuffed keywords in hidden HTML text to only be read by the Google bots. Another dirty tactic used is referred to as doorway pages. This is simply creating a page that will only be seen by the Google bots in efforts to get the pages rank up. Other tactics include

–        Interlinking

–        Duplicate content

–        And Cloaking

There are many White Hat tactics like honest link building that will raise your rank, but it’s important to remember that interesting original content is and always will be king. So avoid the aforementioned Black Hat tactics. Even though they may provide a boost to your rank in the short term, the unethical behavior will be caught on to and your page will be dropped or even banned form the search engine.

How To Interpret Google Hummingbird?

Google has launched a new search algorithm in August 2013. This launch has some digital marketers worried, but first let’s discuss what’s different about Google Hummingbird. The new algorithm is tailored to fit Google’s mission: best serve the users with the results that they desire. But what caused the change in strategy is the fact that users of Google are not searching for specific keywords, they are asking questions. The accessibility of the internet is changing the way the users search, for example when someone has an unanswered question or conflict, what do they do? Out comes the cellphone or tablet, waiting for a voice command or long tailed search question to be entered.

Google, now having this information, has adapted to give the users what they want. Google previous to Hummingbird would look at a long tailed search input such as, “What is Steve Yzerman’s birthday?” and give you search results to “Steve Yzerman” but not necessarily a connection of the question as asked. So Hummingbird was built to do just that: answer questions. Now if you were to type the same question a search window will appear with the answer atop the page.Image

This is excellent for the users because you no longer have to browse pages for the content you desire. But how does this affect SEO’s? Hummingbird giving the answers to questions that SEO’s sites provide can be a click reducer. Users are no longer clicking on the page that SEO’s worked hard to rank up. Swallow the sour milk and move on. This will not be detrimental to the SEO’s. The common good practices will still work and the sites will still move accordingly. The sites will simply have to “adapt or die” as Billy Beane states in Moneyball. Tailor future posts to fit the “how-to” nature of the common user and reap the benefits of the new algorithm. If not, someone surely will, Google or not.

Worried about the Google Partners Exam?

 

You’re not alone. Thousands of aspiring digital marketers and SEO’s are prepping for the Google Partners exam. This brings about an opportunity to share a link for a practice exam that is a helpful tool in preparations for the exam.

A few of the major topics on the exam consist of Google Adwords and the various facets within, including: Google search & display, Keyword planner, and deeper tools like Google remarketing. Remarketing hasn’t been touched on so far by this page but that’s not due to a lack of importance. Remarketing is the concept of reaching out to the customers that have already been to your page.

To dig a bit deeper, lets go over an example of remarketing. Say you’re running a website for a ticket exchange. Customers will come and go as they please but not always find what they are seeking. What remarketing will allow us to do is target a more specific ad to customers that have already been to the page. So in the ticket exchange example, we can serve a specific ad for a great ticket deal for team X that the customer has already been documented as browsing.

This remarketing feature both serves the customer with what they are interested in, in a specific manner as well as improving the conversion rates for a campaign within Adwords. Your common digital marketing courses will cover remarketing as well as the other Google tools in depth. So if you’re still nervous for the Adwords exam check out some of the tools within Adwords. Practicing is the best way to acclimate yourself with the levels and terminology.

How Competitive is Digital Marketing?

Lets take a look at the frame work for search results, as you can see in the picture at the bottom of the post, a great deal of the screen from a typical search result is comprised of paid advertisements. The usual places consist of the top of the page, the upper right bar, and the bottom of the page. The ads at the top and the bottom of the results consist of a yellow border notifying the, now educated, searchers that it is in fact an advertisement.  These advertisements are considered “paid” and the typical searches that are not advertisements are considered “organic” searches.

Now to address the question, “why is it so competitive?” Well, according to a study done by Search Engine Watch, 85 percent of the clicks from search results are organic vs. 15 percent paid. They went on to say that 53 percent of the organic clicks go to the top result, 15% to the second, 9% to the third, and 6% for the fourth. The trend continues.  What makes this information useful is the fact that these clicks are converted to dollars and the jump of 53 to 15 percent can calculate to a significant difference in revenue for the respective companies.

The underlying point here is that it pays to be at the top of the search results and it stings to come in second and third. In an industry where metrics are compiled for every click and possible variation it is wise to invest in good ads and develop good links. Simply put, if you fail you could be out of a job in a hurry.

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Some Respected Digital Marketing Schools.

If we take a look through some Google search results we can see a few prominent schools appearing near the top. Because of this, the information shared will be based on what’s in the Google results.

The University of Michigan-Dearborn, in Dearborn Michigan.

Georgetown University, in Washington D.C.

Rutgers University, in New Brunswick New Jersey.

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I would be happy to discuss more schools but that would require scrolling down in the search results… Which is not ideal especially with regards to digital marketing. The schools above have my respect with little research solely based on page rank. It would be difficult to convince me that a school has excellent Digital marketing program if they cannot illustrate critical digital marketing techniques. Google page rank being one of high importance.