“Yes, A Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. If once you start down the dark path, forever it will dominate your destiny.”

A powerful quote given by a powerful Jedi Master, Yoda. Though quite intense, there are parts to which we can all relate to, especially when it comes to our best search engine optimization practices.

Are Your Search Engine Optimization Practices on the Dark Side?

With the new year and the new highly anticipated Star Wars movie coming there is never a better time than now to re-evaluate today’s white hat and black hat SEO tactics to see which side your business chooses to fall under.

The Light Side: White Hat SEO Practices

Quality Content

One of the biggest steps you can take to help your business’s site rank higher in SERPs is providing good quality content on your site. Whether this is through blogging or writing and creating your own content, Google highly favors websites that produce user friendly content.

Quality Backlinks

Another positive focus for your business is creating quality backlinks to your site. Backlinks are links from other websites that direct visitors to your site. You may think this sounds too easy, but making sure you are getting links from quality websites require more time and effort. This will ensure the right people are getting drawn to your website. For example, obtaining a link from a reputable university website will carry more weight than your cousin’s obscure blog.

Correct NAP

Making sure your business’s information, including NAP (name, address, and phone) are listed correctly on your own website and across multiple platforms is a surefire way to get your business found but on good terms with customers searching for your services and products. Getting your business listed correctly on all top ranking platforms and industry specific platforms can help create citations, which can lead to Google determining your business’s authority online.

The Dark Side: Black Hat SEO Practices

Keyword Stuffing

One of the easiest ways to fall into black hat SEO is keyword stuffing. As you write quality content for your website beware of keyword stuffing. Continually repeating keywords multiple times within your content can severely drop your website’s rankings with Google. This apply to both keywords that relevant to your business and random keywords in content.

Multiple Websites

Another black hat search engine optimization practice is creating multiple websites for your business. Though this may seem like a good idea in getting your business “guaranteed” found online, this can actually create confusion with Google. Your business’s information is duplicated online, which lets Google see your business and multiple businesses. Not only is this confusing to Google, but also to your customers who are looking for you. Sticking to just one site and using the time and money you would have used to help create multiple sites, is a better way to help your ranking efforts.

Spammy Links

Creating spammy links to help your website rank can be very dangerous. Just like normal links, you only want the best websites giving your website a digital “thumbs up”. Bad, spammy links are only generated on low end sites that are often paid for and seen as “black hat” in Google’s eyes. That’s why Google created the Penguin update back in 2012, to rid the web of bad/poor links.

Although a lot of people have different conclusions for the new Star Wars movie, one sure conclusion we do know is that we can expect to see the same white hat and black hat SEO practices moving forward this next year and whether your businesses chooses to fall under the light side or the dark side is up to how you use the force and represent your business online…may the force be with you.

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