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In the past, SEO has been pure chaos as the birth of the industry spawned many different types of digital marketing providers. The original SEO experts created techniques that ended up being labeled as "black hat SEO" or “white hat SEO" by Google. As an SEO expert myself, I can tell you that these techniques are not always distinct lines and the boundaries tend to cross over. Following Google webmaster guidelines is the only way to develop a safe and effective SEO plan for your business. Checking for changes in these guidelines is also necessary, and that’s where a Google expert comes in.

What is black hat SEO?

Black hat SEO describes a range of bad SEO practices used with the intention to increase the search engine results rankings of a web page or web site. Specifically, black hat SEO techniques violate a search engines' terms of service.

What is white hat SEO?

White hat SEO describes a range of accepted SEO practices used to increase search engine results rankings that meet the terms and conditions of the major search engines. Examples include creating relevant content and providing detailed, accurate descriptions of your products, services and expertise on your web site.

Short term optimization is not considered white hat by Google

For years, our approach has been to provide good on-site optimization and custom link building. In the early days, it was an easy shortcut to buy links to get the SEO boost that clients were looking for. Buying links led to amazing results, fast. We've always felt that was a short-term solution and it was just a matter of time until Google would find a way to stop this approach from being effective. Well, with the release of Google Panda on April 26th, that day has finally come.

What is Google Panda?

Google Panda is a new algorithm that will punish your inbound links if they are coming from a link farm or known spamming servers. This is where your links got built if you bought 20,000 backlinks for $20 (I just ran across this ad lately). In the past, Google would simply not count the links coming from these sources but now they are counted against you.

So, a good question to ask is: "How is Panda going to affect my rankings?". Well, first you'll need some sort of ranking report to determine where you currently rank for your targeted keywords. Once the analysis is done to determine if you've been affected by Panda, we can start fixing the problems if they exist.

The next step is to develop a long-term strategy for search engine optimization. Your provider should be providing you with ongoing ranking reports and strategic marketing plans for your digital marketing efforts. It was common for SEO companies to keep their clients in the dark about what they were doing but those days are (should be) over.

Look for an SEO and Google expert

Most small business owners do not know how to improve their search engine results rankings to drive traffic to their website. The best thing to do is to find an SEO expert who is knowledgeable about how to identify your weaknesses and work diligently to come up with a plan to strengthen your game plan. Keeping on top of changes to Google algorithms is a lot of work but an SEO and Google expert will be on top of it so they can help their clients achieve their goals to increase sales, brand loyalty and online traffic.

Softwired provides digital marketing solutions for our partner agencies and clients. We’ve got you covered for web design, blogs, landing pages, SEO, local online presence and optimization, digital marketing, digital sales, and digital advertising. We’re here to help. Read on:

17 SEO Myths  You Should Leave  Behind

Topics: SEO

Tony Sova

Written by Tony Sova

Owner of Softwired, a web design, SEO, and Inbound Marketing firm.