Search engine optimisation is the process of increasing the ranking and, therefore, the visibility of a website in a search engine’s organic results.
Internet search users rarely ever click past the first page of search engine results; therefore, it is important to get your website on the first page of search engine results and as close to the top as possible. Preferably, you want to be the first result on the page for your particular keyword phrase.
It doesn’t need an expert to tell you that the higher your website ranks in the organic search engine results, the greater the chance of the site actually being visited. Sometimes, even being on the first page isn’t enough to get your site noticed. Search engine optimisation is not just about increasing your website’s search engine ranking, but also making sure your website is relevant to the user’s search query to increase the chances of your search engine result being clicked.
In simpler form, you want to optimise your click through rate. The click through rate is the ratio of the number of times a user clicks through to your site per the number of users who simply view the link to your site without clicking through. You do not want your website ranking well for the wrong keywords phrases, so by ensuring your page’s metadata is correct, concise and appealing in the context of your intended search query, you will start to see your website’s click through rate increasing.
There are a few types of search engine optimisation methods that you should be familiar with.
The first is Organic Search Engine Optimisation, which is the process of obtaining a natural place in search engine results.
This is usually achieved by writing good quality, keyword rich content as well as by using keyword analysis, keywords, backlinks and link building which helps to improve link popularity. Many search engines use link popularity to gauge the importance of a site to determine its placement in search engine results. The importance of a website is based on the number of good quality inbound links to your website.
The second method is White Hat Search Engine Optimisation also known as Ethical SEO. The White Hat method involves the use of optimisation strategies, tactics and techniques that focus more on a human audience rather than search engine bots, although this method still follows the rules most search engines require websites to abide by.
Website that don’t follow certain rules set out by search engines can be penalized by being artificially ranked lower or even by being de-listed. White Hat Search Engine Optimisation is better for your website in the long run; it is basically just the Organic Search Engine Optimisation method with an increased focus on the human audience.
The third method is Black Hat Search Engine Optimisation also known as Unethical SEO. The Black Hat method uses aggressive strategies, tactics and techniques that focus on search engine bots, but not necessarily a human user. Since the Black Hat method does not usually follow or obey search engine guidelines and rules, users of this method run the risk of having their site permanently banned from ranking at all in many search engines.
The Black Hat method involves the use of invisible text, keyword stuffing, doorway pages, using keywords irrelevant to the page content and page swapping. Keyword stuffing is the unethical practice of overloading usually irrelevant keywords into a web page to trick search engines into listing the page as being relevant in a search.
Search engines scan web pages for certain words that are entered into the search engine by a user, the more times the word appears in the page, the higher the search engine will rank the page even if the actual content of the page is totally irrelevant to the keyword itself.
This is very frustrating for users who are expecting to find what they were searching for. Many search engines will penalize sites that use this unethical practice by various means, the most extreme being complete de-listing. A doorway page is used to capture the “attention” of search engine bots by means of keyword phrases that the bot will pick up. The doorway page will then re-direct the user to a page that the website wants them to visit.
Many search engines can detect this practice and will impose penalties. Page swapping is the process of creating a page and waiting until it has been ranked high by a search engine, then completely swapping out the contents of the page. These methods all suit those who are impatient and who try to get results immediately.
Wrapping up, you will agree that it’s just not worth using Black Hat Search Engine Optimisation methods. In the long term, you will be better of using Organic and White Hat Search Engine Optimisation methods and waiting patiently for results that will last – until Google changes its algorithm… again.