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.

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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.