Search Engine Optimisation: Black Hat or White Hat SEO?
If you are looking around for a search engine optimisation company to carry out some SEO work on your website, then make sure you choose the right colour hat. There are a large number of companies that adopt a fast and unethical approach to SEO, known as black hat SEO, while there are a smaller number or companies that implement ethical SEO work, known as white hat SEO. The key to choosing the right colour, which is obviously the white, is as follows…
Before you even think of taking on a search engine optimisation company, the first thing is to shop around and see what is out on the market. The same principles would apply if you were to buy a new computer. You would look at a few models, prices and what each model has to offer. If an SEO company was to offer a service that would guarantee you top ranks, there is a very good chance they are wearing a black hat. No SEO company can guarantee top ranks since they have no direct control over the search engines and their ranking algorithms. They can however mention that top ranks are highly achievable due to their previous success with other clients.
Be sure to look at a companies’ portfolio page (if they have one on their website or simply ask them) and carry out some research on their clients. This can be done by looking at the client’s website performance within the search engines for the selected keywords they have been optimised for. Another good idea would be to write a courtesy email to the client asking for a reference on the SEO company they have used to optimise their website.
The most important giveaway on a black hat SEO company is the way they would describe their services. If a company cannot go into detail on how they carry out their work (meaning they are very vague), and this involves justifying each step of their work, then it would be best to avoid their services. A proper SEO firm will be more than happy to explain their services in detail and justify their reasons for using such techniques. If you cannot quiet understand the techniques they use then be sure to do some research on the internet and read SEO articles that explain each technique. If you find that their work fits along the lines of your research and that it is all ethical, then they are a company you should put on your list.
A last point to mention, a company should stress the phrase ‘patience is the key to success with SEO’. If a company claims that they can achieve results very fast, then it is time to start running. In theory, SEO that is carried out correctly on a website will take time until the results start to show (most cases 3 to 6 months but could be longer).
Would you like to know what could happen to your website if you hire a black hat SEO company, regardless of how big or small your website is in terms of brand recognition? An example would be the story of the BMW German website. They hired a black hat SEO firm to carry out some work on their website and that resulted in their site being banned from the Google ranks. So it is best to do your research on SEO by reading articles such as this one and question a companies approach on search engine optimisation. This will ensure that you have selected the clean white hat and that your website will not be tarnished from the black.