Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) describes techniques used to help a website rank naturally in search engines such as Google and Bing. Search engines use a sophisticated algorithm which uses many factors to determine where in the search results a website ought to rank. Some of these factors include
• Domain age
• Title of web page
• Number of links pointing to website
• Page Rank of site
This is by no means an exhaustive list and there are over 200 factors used.
SEO is a constantly evolving field as search engines continue to develop their algorithms to ensure their results are relevant to user queries.
White Hat v Black Hat SEO
These two terms were coined several years ago to describe the two sides of SEO. Broadly speaking, white hat sticks to search engine guidelines whilst black hat ignores them. Black Hat SEO’s will use any tactic necessary to get a website to rank. The downside to high rankings is that success is often short-lived and sites can get banned by search engines for flouting their guidelines.
White hat SEO techniques adhere to search engine guidelines so sites don’t get banned. Although page 1 success may take more time and effort, the results are long lasting.
Search Engine Algorithm Updates
As mentioned above, search engines are continually refining their algorithms to give searchers a better and more relevant user experience. Over the last 2 years Google has released two major updates named Panda and Penguin. These updates adversely affected sites which had used Black Hat SEO tactics, some of which got de-indexed by Google. Businesses which relied on the internet for new customers got into serious trouble.
The best way to ensure your website can withstand the effect of these updates is to play by the rules laid down by the search engines and stick to White Hat SEO.