White Hat SEO is when you only use approved strategies to optimize a website for search engines. This often refers to following Google’s guidelines and putting the user first instead of the search engine.
There are two main types of SEO that you will come across, White Hat and Black Hat. We have discussed Black Hat SEO in a separate entry in our Glossary, so let’s learn a little more about White Hat.
What is White Hat SEO: A Definition
White Hat SEOs try to make their website as awesome as possible for human visitors. Their primary goal is providing the highest quality content – by giving visitors exactly what they want, when they want it.
This is opposed to Black Hat SEO where the primary focus is on making Google rank the website highly at all costs.
Google loves White Hat, and they are using their indirect relationship with White Hat SEOs to make the web a better place for everyone. By rewarding webmasters that focus on quality, the quality of the entire internet also improves (because no webmaster can ignore Google).
Basically, what Google wants, Google gets – and Google wants quality.
Let’s take a look at a few White Hat SEO techniques that are known ranking factors – which also benefit the internet as a whole.
With every year that passes more and more people are consuming the internet on mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets are quickly becoming the main way people interact with websites. To ensure the web using population of the world gets a great user experience, Google rewards webmasters that make their website usable on mobiles.
Mobile usability is a confirmed ranking factor, and any website that is responsively designed (or has a dedicated mobile website) will get a little extra love from Google. They take this very seriously, in fact, they are splitting their main index in two. One index is designed for mobile and the other one is designed for desktops.
And check this out – the mobile one is going to be their primary, most important index.
Making a website awesome for mobile users one of the most basic things any SEO should check when auditing a website. Increasing mobile usability will please your visitors, and Google at the same time.
They even have a dedicated tool that you can use to see exactly how they rank your websites speed and tell you exactly what to do to improve it.
People with disabilities can often find the web a frustrating place. Many websites are not being designed in fully accessible formats. This is despite there being internationally recognized accessibility standards. These standards interact with accessibility tools that many people rely on to use the internet.
Again, because Google wants to reward quality – they are rewarding webmasters that make their website fully accessible for people with disabilities. Using things like alt tags, and creating transcripts for audio will earn a webmaster some much needed Google love – and it will make the web a more inclusive place for everyone.
These three are just a small sample of Whitehat SEO techniques, but you get the idea.
If you are creating the fastest, most accessible website you can – and you are designing it for humans (not just Googlebot).
Then you are a Whitehat SEO.