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White Hat Links vs Black Hat


Google uses three primary barometers to rank the websites for its index. One of the most potent and most exploited gauges is backlinks. By building backlinks, you generate a hyperlink on another site that points back to you. Google keeps track of how many backlinks exist for a particular website to determine a site's popularity. Because these backlinks are a popularity vote, the more you have, the higher Google ranks you in its index.

There are two kinds of backlinks. There are the "whitehat backlinks" that Google likes to see. When you have a lot of these, Google will reward you by granting you a higher position in its search results. Then there are "blackhat backlinks." Google doesn't like these at all. If you want to get Google angry and evaluate your website badly, this is how to do it. When (and it inevitably will) Google discovers blackhat backlinks, it dispenses judgment. That penalty can range anywhere from lowering your rank in the search results to delisting you from its index.


Way back at the beginning, people recognized the power of being listed at the top of Google's search results. And getting your site listed at the top of the search results was simply a matter of repeating keywords endlessly on your website and having loads of backlinks pointing to your site. It didn't matter where these you got backlinks. You could make up your sites, agree to swap with other people, or buy them from someone. There were plenty of people selling cheap backlinks by the boatload. Back then, Google was new at this, and the hackers were very talented, so it worked. But now, things have changed significantly in the search engine world, and Google is very good at spotting backlinks that don't follow their guidelines.


Now, you might truthfully claim that you would never use black hat techniques. However, Google could still find you guilty of having blackhat backlinks, and you would never even know it. Google has a very aggressive approach to identifying blackhats. Sometimes they will flag backlinks that are innocent but are "close to the infraction line." We are going to cover Google's definition of backlinks, so you don't accidentally use them and get your site's ranking penalized. We will also include a few of the other types of typical blackhat techniques that people use to try to trick Google's crawler into ranking them higher, so you don't stray into that territory either.

The first thing we need to establish is what are whitehat links and how you can get them for your site. Technically, Whitehat SEO activities are methods used to promote your website that Google has sanctioned and that it approves of. They are mostly activities that make your site a better experience for Google users. Google has fashioned its criteria for defining a high-quality website based on the quality of the experience of its user. So, it rewards these quality components and activities with a higher ranking in its index. Included in these are things such as a fast loading site and easy to navigate the site, naturally occurring and placed keywords, high-quality content, and having a well-liked website. The last one on this list is what we are talking about today. The way Google learns if your site is popular is how many other sites mention you to their users. Whenever these other sites promote you by using a link to your website, that is a high-quality backlink. 


There are several legitimate methods for getting whitehat backlinks. Probably the easiest way is to make sure that you get listed on all of your industry listing sites. If you belong to a trade group association, they would probably have a list of all their members. Make sure that you are registered on that site as many times as they allow. If they allow you to have a listing in different categories, make sure that your website URL shows up there. Some sites list providers of various services and products which align with their services or products. Here is one effective method for discovering these "backlink discovery" sites. Check those backlinks that point to your competitors' websites. We can find this info out for you or there are several tools available to do this, such as backlink checker by Small SEO Tools. Once you discover these sites, contact the management to get your website listed.


The best method by far to get good backlinks that both your users and Google will like is by creating content - good content When you create a useful infographic, or write an engaging and helpful blog, or put out a great instructional video, you are on your way to getting the most potent backlinks that exist. When users see this great content, they are likely to share it on their sites. Not only will this bring people to your site that might never have heard of you before, it tells Google that this other site likes you. It's a reliable vote from another website on the internet. Getting such "popularity votes" is the best thing you can do to affect your ranking on Google's index. And you get the added benefit of providing outstanding content and improving your reputation in your industry. This method is absolutely a win-win situation.


Probably equal in power are positive reviews from your customers (if they include your website URL). The reason reviews are so good is that they serve a double purpose. They're excellent for placement in the Google search engine because Google has recently upgraded its search algorithm to give much higher weight and importance to positive reviews. This method is especially useful for local SEO. But there is another reason reviews are an excellent source for improving your position on the internet. That is because reviews are the new currency of the internet. When a shopper learns that you exist and that you have what they need, they go and look at your reviews. If your reviews are good, they will buy from you. If your reviews are non-existent or even worse bad reviews, they will avoid you like a disease. 


As I mentioned earlier, don't ever buy backlinks, no matter how cheap. These cheap backlinks are produced by "backlink farms." These "farms" create thousands of websites whose only function is to house counterfeit backlinks. Using these kinds of backlinks will raise a huge red flag for Google, and you are sure to regret it.

If someone promoted their site like that, they would probably see excellent SEO results for a brief time. Their Google search ranking would shoot through the roof. They would be the person of the hour at their company. And then he or she would probably get fired because Google would delist their company's website. It has always been the case, and it remains today that the best way to get high-quality backlinks is to provide an excellent product or service for your website user.

An executive from Google did a very unusual thing recently. He announced an inside secret about how their super-secret algorithm evaluated websites. This announcement was so strange because Google never tells anybody anything about their algorithm. As it turns out, two top methods are relevancy and popularity. Relevancy has to do with your content, keywords, and consistency of presentation okay website. But it's the popularity criteria that is most interesting for our discussion because it has to do with backlinks. Google values backlinks very highly. That's why they reward you generously for high-quality backlinks, and they come down like a "ton of bricks" when they think you are cheating with backlinks. 


Of course, there are other things that Google considers cheating or not playing fair when it comes to promoting your website to the search engine. Most of these have to do with keywords. As I mentioned before, the practice repeating keywords throughout your site used to be rewarded. But now, every way you could stuff more keywords into your website has already been tried. Google is on the lookout for it.

Keyword Stuffing - One such technique is called "Keyword Stuffing" And is the practice of inserting your keywords throughout your text in an unnatural and in a "not-normal speech" method.

Unrelated Keywords - Another method is using "Unrelated Keywords." Google wants to see content that is consistent throughout your website. Sticking in random keywords here and there to influence the web crawler is a huge red flag.

Duplicating Content - When Google crawls your site, it checks for duplicated content. If you have a paragraph on the home page that you like a lot, you spent a lot of time on it, and it is perfect. It cleverly lists all the keywords you want to promote, and it says it so nicely. Then you decide to copy that "world's best paragraph ever" to other pages on your website. After all, you created it - it's original content. If you copy it, you will have duplicated your content. That's a big No-No, and you will get penalized.

Spinning Content - Some people think that they can get away with duplicating their content if they run it through a Content Spinner. There are services on the internet that will take your text and jumble it somewhat, so the result is not the same as the original text. Once upon a time, content spinning was a strategy that worked but not anymore. It is one of the techniques that will earn you a severe punishment from Google. You check how Google views your website with our free SEO audit tool.

Promoting a website through proper search engine optimization is part science, part art, and then a large part of "old-fashioned experience." Here at The Click Depot, we have been the leaders in SEO services for years. Call today and talk to one of our SEO consultants about how we can improve your website ranking.

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