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White-hat SEO is any practice to improve your site’s rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs) while meeting search engine guidelines.

Last Updated November 13, 2023
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White hat search engine optimization (SEO) embraces ethical, user-first tactics for improving your rankings in search results. What is white-hat SEO, though, and how can you get started with it? Keep reading to learn more!

What is white-hat SEO?

White-hat SEO is any practice to improve your site’s rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs) while meeting search engine guidelines.

White-hat SEO vs. black-hat SEO

In contrast to white-hat SEO, we have black-hat SEO. Black-hat SEO is any process that goes against search guidelines to try and improve a website’s ranking in the SERPs.

While white-hat SEO is honest and rule-abiding, black-hat SEO is — at its worst — straight up deceitful.

While white-hat SEO is honest and rule-abiding, black-hat SEO is — at its worst — straight up deceitful. For example, some companies redirect users to unrelated pages, hide content on the page, or use link spamming to improve their rankings. All these examples ruin the user experience.

Many websites attempt to get ahead in the SERPs by using black-hat SEO. However, Google is getting better at detecting these methods, and these sites are often removed from the search index as a result.

Why use white-hat SEO?

Google Search Essentials — the guidelines for all things search related — break down what to do and what to avoid in terms of your website. They are very specific about what kind of results they want to provide users. They want to offer trustworthy, relevant content to all searchers.

Failing to meet these requirements could lower your rankings or even have you blocked from the SERPs. White-hat SEO keeps you out of trouble with search engines and provides a better experience for users.

If you want your site to have any hope of ranking in the SERPs, you should focus on creating a quality site that naturally encourages traffic. Other white -hat SEO benefits include the following:

  • Conserving resources: Imagine you spend tens of hours and hundreds of dollars on your site, just to have it wiped from the search index for breaking the rules. If you want to prevent resource waste, you should stick to white hat tactics.
  • Pursuing longevity: White-hat SEO tactics can help you see more results over time. Also, using white hat tactics encourages conversions and sales over a longer period without risk to your site’s standing.
  • Building your reputation: Using white hat methods also helps you build your reputation with search engines and users. Both parties will recognize your site as a trustworthy, respectable place for information, products, and services.

White-hat SEO techniques

So, what does white-hat SEO look like? And should you use it? Of course!

Any SEO technique listed in Google’s guidelines is fair game. White-hat SEO will help you rank without breaking the rules. And, generally speaking, white-hat SEO will help you create a better site overall.

Here are a few common white-hat SEO techniques that anyone can do:

Keyword integration

Adding keywords to your website is key to helping your pages rank for those terms. To help your pages rank, select one target keyword and add it to your content, title, and meta data.

Keywords tell users and search engines what your pages are about. They also help answer intent and make sure that users are getting the content they want when entering a query:

Keyword integration example

While black-hat SEO would have you add these keywords as often as possible, the white hat approach only involves adding them when necessary. Above all, you should focus on the reader’s experience.

Landing page optimization

Your landing pages are the pages users go to when they click on an advertisement or results in the SERPs. When you create landing pages, they should be attractive enough to keep users on the site and encourage them to browse.

Some sites try to trick users by advertising one page and then redirecting traffic to an entirely unrelated page. Instead, you should be as upfront as possible to give users the best experience and encourage them to stay on your site.

When creating landing pages, you should:

  • Target relevant keywords
  • Use images or designs related to the topic
  • Include specific calls to action (CTAs)

Link building

Finally, one of the most important methods of white-hat SEO is link building. This area is where many companies look for alternative methods to build links fast since they play a huge role in SEO.

To help build links naturally, you should:

  • Create informative content that earns links from other industry sources.
  • Ask other sites to link to your content.
  • Offer your link as a replacement for broken ones on reputable sites.
  • Write guest content and get consent to link back to your site.
  • Share your content on social media.

Never buy or trade links from companies. Normally, these links will come from irreputable sites, which only hurts your SEO in the long run.

Improve your SEO approach with SEO.com

Now, you understand the importance of ethical SEO practices. But how can you use those in your daily routine?

SEO.com has numerous free articles on SEO to help businesses across the board improve their approach. Check them out on our site, or contact us online if you want to chat about SEO directly!

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