SEO is still a relatively unheard of term, many people have not heard it before let alone know what it is. So what exactly does SEO mean?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. “What does that mean?” you may be asking. Search engine optimisation is the practice of optimising your website in accordance with search engine (such as Google) requirements to increase it’s rank and performance online. Search engines have particular ‘standards’ that websites need to meet in order to rank well.
There are various methods that this can be done, and each search engine optimiser will have slightly different techniques and methods which they use to do this. There are also clearly recognised methods, the main to being black hat and white hat SEO.
Black Hat SEO
The definition of black hat SEO is “To intentionally manipulate a search engine to rank one website over the another. This would require the “Blackhatist” to know a significant part of the search engine’s formula and trick it to think one thing when in fact something completely different applies.” Good examples of this are ‘keyword stuffing’ and the purchasing of backlinks. Black hat methods are generally considered unethical by search engines.
White Hat SEO
The definition of white hat SEO is “No intentional involvement around the off-site SEO plus ensuring the website design including content is as per the search engines guidelines.” This means that your website is left to organic, or natural, growth. If not done correctly, it could take years and it is entirely possible that it will not happen at all.
There is a lot of controversy online, however, about what exactly is considered white hat and black hat. There are hundreds of forms and articles discussing the fact, and ultimately it will be the choice of the optimiser to decide which methods they want to use.
Search engines today have become very smart and can quickly detect blackhat SEO methods, which results in the website being penalised for it and therefore dropping out of ranks (often completely). This can take years to recover from. So there is a risk, but how big will depend on what you want to achieve and if it is financially worth it for your business.
SEO is either form is essential for a business to succeed online and generate the business you are looking for. Without it, there is almost no point in having a website, because no one will find it! If you would like to find out more about SEO, visit our Search Engine Optimisation page on our website.