2020's White Hat SEO Techniques ( The Definitive Guide)
By Belabbes Brahim
This is a complete guide to the best white hat SEO techniques. If you want to make Google Happy and drive quality organic traffic to your site, then you will love the tips and strategies in this guide.
White Hat SEO is a term that refers to tactics and strategies that improve website visibility without manipulating or fooling search engines.
Any technique that helps website ranking in SERPs without violating major search engine terms and conditions is considered white hat SEO.
The relevance and quality of content are the key ingredients in any effective SEO strategy.
If anyone tries to violate major search engine terms and conditions, they have the complete authority to ban or decrease the website ranking.
Since Google is the biggest search engine in the world, you can read its quality guidelines.
In a nutshell, white hat SEO techniques:
Offer quality and relevant content for the users.
Make your website load fast and mobile-friendly.
The content is optimized for users first, search engines second.
Satisfy searcher intent.
Black hat SEO is completely the opposite of a white hat. Any activity that manipulates search engines to get a higher ranking is considered a black hat.
Generally, People employ black hat SEO techniques to maximize their website ranking and generate an income in a short period. They take advantage of gaps and limitations in search engines to maximize their short term gain.
The main focus of this practice is to deceive search engines instead of providing value for the users.
This is an old black hat SEO method and closely similar to cloaking. It’s a web page optimized to rank for specific search queries without proving any valuable content to the users.
Bridge pages, gateway pages, and jump pages are similar terms referring to doorway pages.
Micro niche and affiliate sites are notorious for using doorway pages.
You type on Google the following search query “teenage soccer shirts” and you select one of the page results. You’d think you will find a category page about different teenage soccer shirts.
No. You will be taken to a page with no or little content that says ” Click Here To Find Soccer Shirts”( The page you were originally looking for)
In short, you have to go through an SEO optimized page before you reach the targeted page.
Doorway pages are no longer working for SEO because they hurt user experience and Google may penalize your site for using it.
This term refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords in an attempt to rank well in the SERPs. Overusing a keyword in a single page can maximize its visibility, but the content is relevant for the users.
This method used to work for many years in the past. Since people started promoting irrelevant content stuffed with keywords, Google changed its algorithm and begins to penalize websites that did it.
Search engines are meant to connect businesses with their audiences and satisfy their intents.
When keywords are used out of their context and mainly for the ranking, then the algorithm considers that page as spam and not worth ranking.
After several algorithm changes, search engines have smarter and people too in a way they can spot rubbish content from the first sight.
Using software to create 20,50, or even 100 variations for the same article loaded in the spinner. This tool uses synonyms or rephrases the source article to pass the plagiarism test.
People spin content all the time, even in college to avoid plagiarizing the main source. Reading about a subject from multiple sources and write it in your word is normal and ethical.
But, rewriting the same content several times to make it unique is a different story.
This is bad for SEO because the new article versions are low- quality, and many times visitors won’t take time to read.
If the content doesn’t retain the attention of visitors, it increases the bounce rate which negatively affects the website ranking.
Buying links has a financial advantage for the seller. The link relevance and quality are not important as long as a link pointing to a website. This practice used to work before, but not anymore.
Buying links is not tolerable, and Google has taken a severe measure against link buyers and sellers.
is a known SEO technique that many webmasters use to optimize their websites. This tactic is designed to deceive both users and search engines.
Whenever a visitor heads over a web page, he is redirected to a completely different website that he would never bother visiting.
Online games, adult movies, and betting websites are known to practice cloaking. Usually, webmasters practice cloaking to rank for specific keywords irrelevant to the content they promote.
Search engines don’t index or rank a cloaked website. For that reason, they use a script to hide the spam content they serve to their users.
This practice goes against guidelines and terms of major search engines, including Google and Bing. Any practice that delivers irrelevant content to people is considered a black hat SEO.
If you’re a blogger, you’re probably familiar with spam comments. In case you’re new to blogging, this is one of the oldest techniques to generate links and traffic.
This method involves posting random and automatic comments one various blogs to get a backlink.
The link and comment post can be unrelated to the content on that page. Most of these links are no-follow and do not weigh SEO ranking.
If your blog is open for comments, make sure to put a system in place to stop a spammer from a comment on your site.
Spam comments make your blog looks awful, neglected, and unprofessional.
Small and new online businesses implement black hat SEO techniques to generate profit as soon as possible. The methods I cited above can work, but they can cause damage to your website.
Major search engines change their algorithms to banish spammers and reward quality websites.
If you want to protect your business from any troubles over the long term, I highly recommend to play by the rules and pursue white hat SEO.
As long as you follow Google rules and other search engines as well, you’re free from worries of getting knocked out or penalized. No matter which competitor comes along or a new Google update, your website performance will not be affected.
White hat SEO is a slow compared to black hat, but it produces better results over time and can last longer. Also, it can beat any form of marketing if you know what you’re doing.
Black Hat SEO sends signals to Google that you don’t care about your audience. Bad structure, keyword stuffing, and a lot of ads can push away visitors and increase bounce rate.
White Hat SEO mostly focuses on user experience and Google will reward you for that.
It’s Natural: There is no secret when it comes to White Hat SEO. It is ethical, transparent, and effective. No fancy software or special coding involved to get a higher ranking.
Keyword research is the process of finding, analyzing, and validating search terms people are using on search engines.
This process helps you determine the terms worth going after to rank higher in search engines. Also, to understand your target audience’s needs and determine the intent behind each search query.
Once you have that information, you can then prioritize which keywords to target first according to difficulty and relevance.
Keywords like SEO, weight loss and dept management are called the head or seed keywords. They’re broad and highly competitive.
Long-tail keywords are exactly the opposite of seed keywords. Generally, they have low search volume, less competition, and convert better. This is the type of keywords are very specific and include more than 3 words.
To start the keyword research process, think about general terms related to your business. Come up with 5-10 topics you think are important to your target audience.
Let’s say you’re in the health and wellness industry, and your target niche is skincare.
The most important topics could be:
Once you have a list of related terms, put each one of them into the search bare. Google automatically will suggest different search terms related to that topic.
This a great set of keywords you need to copy on a spreadsheet.
Since Google suggested a list of keywords, it means your potential customers are typing using these terms.
Repeat the process with other terms and keep adding keywords to your list. Another great place to find long-tail keywords is Google related search terms.
Put your head keyword into the search bar, then scroll down to the bottom of the page.
You will a new list of keywords. Click on each one of these keywords and Google will generate new set keywords.
If you find this process complicated, then I highly recommend using tools like:
In case you don’t money to invest in those tools, you can use:
Now it’s time to create a shortlist of keywords worth going after.
Open an account with MOZ.
Install the Moz SEO tool bare in your browser.
Put a keyword into the search bar of Google, then hit search.
There are two metrics you should focus on each website:
DA: Moz created this metric to measure how well a particular domain will rank in major search engines. In short, it’s the overall strength of a website.
PA: This is a metric that predicts how well a web page will perform in the search engines.
Both DA and PA use a 0 to 100 algorithmic scale.
Logically, a website like Forbes, Amazon, Wikipedia, and Youtube has higher DA and DA.
If your chosen keyword displayed on Google’s page 1 has DA of 60,70 or 90 websites
Scan all the results given on that first page.
If most of the results on that page have a DA of 60, 70, or even 80, it’s a signal that the chosen keyword is difficult to rank for.
Although DA is a huge ranking factor, PA plays a determinant role in ranking websites.
That’s Ok to find a high DA website.
The most important step in this process is to keep an eye on low PA results.
This is your opportunity to push down these pages with your awesome web page.
The best way to do that is to create long-form articles. A long-form article is an in-depth, detailed and resourceful content that exceed 1000 word count
Your potential customers are more willing to link to an in-depth article than a short piece of content.
When you generate enough backlinks to your website, you get more direct traffic and higher Page authority as well.
Short attention span led us to ask wonder whether people are willing to spend time reading 2000 word article
Since Google has started de-ranking low word content, detailed long-form content has become required to rank better.
Long-form content tends to be more informative, exciting, and relevant than shorter- form pieces of content.
Long-form content is evergreen and isn’t time-sensitive. Its value remains relevant over time. As a result, you will generate organic traffic over the long term and outrank shorter forms of content.
Generally, long-form content contains all the answers users are asking related to a particular topic.
Since you accumulated enough information in one place, your readers will spend more time on your site. Also, they won’t bother to look at other sources.
When people spend more time on your site, it sends a signal to Google that your content is high quality and deserves better ranking and higher authority.
It’s great to create killer content that covers all aspects of a given topic.
But if your content fails to capture the reader’s attention and makes them engaged, then you won’t get any return from your content.
Bad readability, broken links, poor navigation and a lot of pop-ups can push away visitors.
Content marketing is all about reciprocity.
You give your audience something useful that satisfies a need or accomplish a goal in the hope of getting an email address or making a sale.
In the marketing world, user experience can make or break your business.
User experience simply means the general feelings and impression someone has from using a product, service, or application.
It’s your job to smoothly move visitors through your sales funnel from the moment they visit your site to the buying decision.
User experience is a broad topic and sometimes can be confusing. However, I’m going to highlight mistakes to avoid to create a positive experience for your website users.
Pop-Ups are annoying and rude because they interrupt the reading process. When you irritate readers, they will likely finish reading your article or sign up for your newsletter. While people hate Pop-ups, they’re effective in terms of conversion.
To make pop-ups work in your favor, choose a better timing. Instead of displaying them the right way, adjust the delay option for 10 seconds.
It’s critical to optimize your website for specific keywords. However, it’s not an excuse to forget the intent behind the keywords.
In 2020, you should optimize your content for users’ intent.
In other words, the intention behind a search query and why they’re searching for it.
The idea behind whether you should write for search engines or people has been raging for years now. But the sure thing is that Google and other search engines are smart enough to know whether your content has useful information or not.
Your conversion is a great way to measure your site performance. But, it doesn’t stop there. Your website counts too.
If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load its important elements, it hurts the user experience. Many things can be done to speed up your site like:
Installing a plugin to compress images
Reducing HTTP requests.
Deleting plugins and software that aren’t necessary.
Investing in a reliable web hosting service.
Installing a CDN.
It is the process of getting links from other websites to your own. Any method that helps your business gets links from other websites pointing to your count as a link building tactic.
This process is one of the most powerful ways for your website to drive referral traffic and achieve a higher ranking. Also, it signals to Google that your website is a quality resource and worthy of citation.
There are several methods to build links, and they vary in difficulty.
Writing a piece of content for other websites to reach a new audience, get your word out, and of course, gain a link back to your website. Also, it helps to get traffic and establish your authority in your industry.
Common Google Strings.
Some websites have a dedicated page for guest writers. You can find these websites by typing on Google one of the following search queries.
[Your Niche]+ “Write for Us”
[Your Niche]+ “Submit A Guest Post”
[Your Niche]+ “Become A Contributor”
[Your Niche]+ ”Contribute”
Image for guest post results
I’ve come up with a huge list of websites that accept guest posts in a variety of niches.
Once you have determined the websites that fit your niche and audience, it’s time to propose topic ideas to the blog owner.
Broken Link Building
Is a white hat SEO tactics that involve finding web pages in your niche that are no longer active (Broken), recreating a better version of that page, reaching out the website owners who link to that web page, then asking them to replace that broken link with the one you recently created.
This method works because broken links hurt user experience and bad for SEO. Also, you’re providing value for the webmaster, instead of begging for links.
The internet is filled with broken links. Webmasters are constantly improving and changing their websites – expired domains, content removal or Url structure change leave a broken link ( 404 Page).
This method can be time-consuming but very effective.
Type on Google the keywords you want to rank for or a search term related to your niche.
Copy and past all Urls from that page on a spreadsheet. 10-20 a good number to start with.
Download and install Check My Link Chrome extension.
Make sure the extension is active and open each website on the spreadsheet.
Check Out My Link is a tool that spots dead links on any page you’re reading.
The extension will highlight broken links with 404 Tag
Take your time to browse each website to find any dead link.
Once you spotted one, take that Url and put it on the Way Back Machine. WBM is a great tool that shows you how a web page used to look.
Now you have two option:
You can create a similar page on your own words.
Or build a better and different version.
Ahrefs is a complete SEO toolset for online marketers and SEO professionals with powerful features from keyword research to site audits.
This software is paid and it’s basic plan starts from 99$ per month. If you’re on a budget, you can start with the trial plan for 7 $ for 7 days.
Once you’ve opened an account, go to site explorer.
Put one of the URLs from the spreadsheet under the site explorer and hit the search button.
This process will take a few seconds if not minutes to analyze the given URL to prepare a report about the site.
Once it’s done, from the different menus on the left side click on Pages ==>> Best By Links.
From the filter options select 404 not found.
Once the site explorer gives a list of broken links, export them into a spreadsheet.
Now, remove all links that don’t match your topic.
Go to The Way Back Machine.
Then enter each broken link into the search box.
Select one of the green dates on the calendar to bring up the old page.
You made a list of prospects, found broken broken links on their websites, created a better alternative.
Now, it’s time to find their email addresses and notify them about the broken links.
There a variety of tools that help find email addresses such as:
Hunter: This chrome extension scans any business domain and gets a list of email addresses related to that website. The free plan includes 50 requests per month.
Toofr: this tool is closely similar to Hunter. Toofr allows you to find email addresses just by typing first and last name or business domain. The free trial plan includes 30 credits.
Find that lead: This is one of my favorite tools to find emails. Simply put an URL and hit search.
You will get a list of email addresses related to that website.
Voila Norbert: Once you created an account, you’re allowed to perform 50 searches per month.
Put the webmaster’s name and business domain, then hit search.
Once you’ve made a list of addresses, it’s time to send a pitch to those webmasters.
The pitch has to
Subject line: an issue on your site
Hi (contact name),
I was doing some research on ( your topic) and I came across your website.
I love what you’re writing, especially your post on ( article with the broken link).
However, I spotted a broken link that leads to a 404 error page. As you know, broken links hurt user experience and it’s bad for SEO.
I just created an in-depth guide on this topic that will add tremendous value to your readers.
(Link to your article)
Have a great day.
Subject line: RE an issue on your site
Hi ( contact name),
I’m following up on the last email.
You have a dead link on your site here ( Page Url with the broken link).
The broken link points to that page ( broken link URL)
I created a page that would be a great replacement ( Your URL)
It is a white hat SEO method developed by Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko in 2015.
The main purpose of this technique is to turn that piece of content into a backlinks magnet, and eventually, rank higher on search engines.
The skyscraper technique is closely similar to creating 10x content, but more work is involved than creating content.
This method can be broken into the following steps:
You start by checking what’s popular in your niche – it could be a trend, topic or study. Your target topic needs to have some social engagements and there’s already a demand for it.
Let’s say we are in the digital marketing niche. One of the hottest topics in the industry is traffic generation.
Open Buzzsumo and put a keyword or topic
Result A has XYZ social engagements.
Identify potential linkers and sharers: Buzzsumo, Ahref Content explorer, and Moz are great tools to monitor popular trends and identify topics that have the most social engagements.
On the same page, click on the view backlinks and download the CSV file.
Add more layers of awesomeness to that content: Now, you have to create a better version of that content by making it well designed, updated, data-driven and more in-depth.
Send your awesome content to the right people: Since your audience has shown interest in the popular content, they’re more likely to link back to yours.
From the CSV file, send an email to your list of contacts and ask them to link back to your website.
Hi Contact Name
I was doing some research on (Your Topic) and I came across your blog ( Name Of The Blog).
You’re publishing great content. Keep it up.
Also, I noticed that you’re linking to ( Article Title). I loved that article.
I just wanted to let you know that I created a piece on the same topic and thought it would valuable for your audience.
I added more details, examples, and studies
Feel free to add it to your website.
Either way, keep publishing great content.
A links round-up is when a website curates the best content related to a particular topic or niche. Depending on the size or industry, it could be daily, weekly or monthly. This method is very effective because it provides mutual benefits to the linker and site owner.
Since the site owner is constantly seeking content, you can easily score links back to your website. Also, you will notice a jump in your organic traffic because your links are featured on relevant sources and people are more likely to share it over the web.
The way to find links round up opportunities is similar to the resource page. Just type on Google one of the following strings. Make sure to replace the word ‘ Keyword’ with a term related to your topic.
“Keyword” + “link roundup”
“Keyword” + “weekly roundup”
“Keyword” + “weekly link”
“Keyword” + inurl:roundup
“Keyword” + intitle:roundup
“Keyword” + best posts of the week
“Keyword” + best blogs of the week
Based on the results, make sure to build a good list of blogs that are doing round up. Not all blogs are worth pursuing because they might be stopped doing round-up for different reasons.
Once you’ve done with this step, it’s time to pitch the site owner who doing round up.
Go to their website, first their email and pitch them your content.
Hi, contact name
I just wanted to pitch you a piece of content for consideration in your roundup.
1 Sentence summary of the content
If interested, here is the Link
Keep me posted- I will be happy to send it to my social media followers and email list.
Before we get into resource page link building, let’s define what a resource page is first.
A resource page Is a web page that curates a list of helpful links on a particular topic or industry.
For example, a fitness blog might have a dedicated page for low-fat recipes. Also, it might include different sections for weight loss programs, instructional videos and fat shedding moves.
Resource page link building is the process of making your good content included on that page ( resource). The webmaster might no idea that your resource exists, but it’s your job to reaching him out and letting him know about it.
This is a link building tactic works because it increases the relevance of that page. Since a resource page quality links, Google increases the ranking of that page for the value it provides.
To find resource page related to your chosen topic, type of into Google one of the following strings:
Keyword+” Top resources”
Keyword “best resources”
Keyword” useful resources”
Keyword “helpful links”
Once you’ve collected a good list of resource pages related to your niche, it’s time to pitch your useful link to the webmaster.
Hi (First Name),
I was doing some research on (Topic Related To Your Niche) and I found your web site.
I noticed that you have an awesome resource page. Keep it up, Bro.
I had just created an article on Topic and I thought it would be valuable to your resource page.
I would be pleased if you found my material a good fit for your audience. I can’t wait to hear back your feedback.
Repeated website visitors can significantly affect its loading speed. Most SEO professionals enable caching to their websites. While the term caching sounds scary and technical, it’s simple to make your site load faster and responsive. Plain and simple.
When caching is enabled, your site saves some relevant information related to the requested web page in its hard drive. The next time a user visits the same page, the browser will load that page without making an extra request to the server.
It ensures a quick transmission of information from the server to the user’s browser to make a web page load up faster.
Speed is better than perfection! More specifically, website loading speed matters a lot to your business success.
Whether you believe it or not, Google has publicly announced that loading speed is a ranking factor.
A website that takes much time to load can perform poorly across different metrics like organic search, bounce rate, social engagement, and conversion rate.
I know that loading speed isn’t one of the sexiest things to consider in your business, but it will positively impact your website performance.
This white has an SEO technique that has nothing to do with marketing, but it covers the technical aspect of your website.
An image is a powerful tool that does a lot for your online business. Images can persuade, tell a story, and simplify complex topics. We live in a visual driven commerce world and images are longer an option, it’s a requirement.
However, visual elements on your website like images, infographic and charts can slow down its loading. One of the best ways to avoid this is to compress your images.
I highly recommend Smush image compressor. This WP plugin is 100% free, easy to use and very effective.
Not only you can compress and optimize image, but also define the maximum height and width for all images to ensure their loading speed.
There are countless hosting services all around the web offering different plans. Not all of them work the same way and each plan or service type has its advantages and disadvantages.
The RAM, hard drive and bandwidth are the main features you need to look on on any hosting providing. These elements are what make a website load faster and perform better when it gets traffic.
When you build a WordPress for the first, it will be like a clean sheet. Over time, you will notice that it’s full of themes, images, and plugins. We all have been tempted to download many things on our website.
However, too many things can cause your site to grow in size and affect its load speed.
I would be smart to spend some time cleaning your site from useless elements.
If you find any plugin, theme, or image that has no utility for your site, it has to be removed.
Do you think optimizing your site for mobile isn’t that important?
The smartphone has become a permanent fellow of ours. Whenever you go ou, you notice Everyone seems glued to their devices.
Yes. We live in a mobile world.
Mobile accounts for approximately half of the web traffic worldwide. In the fourth quarter of 2019, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 52.6 percent of global website traffic, consistently hovering around the 50 percent mark since the beginning of 2017.
As you can see from this graph, the mobile search number is in constant growth.
After seeing these stats, it would be foolish to not optimize your site to mobile to maximize your search traffic.
This is an open-source project made by Google and Twitter to create a better experience for mobile users.
It creates a separate version of a web page (The AMP version) dedicated to mobile.
AMP uses a constricted HTML version of your website to make pages load faster. Any HTML tag that would slow down your website will be eliminated.
The main downside of using AMP is you won’t be able to collect email addresses.
Your email list is your strongest asset, so sign up forms are out.
The choice is yours.
If you’re a word press user and want to get started right now.
Go to Github and click on the Download Zip button.
Then, install and activate it as you would with any other plugin.
When it comes to developing a mobile-friendly website, Installing a responsive design is a great deal.
Responsive design is a revolutionary web development approach that makes your site content optimized and easy to read on any device.
The traditional method requires to design multiple versions of a site for Desktop, Smartphone, or tablet. This approach can be time-consuming and requires some web development skills.
A responsive design eliminates all that and adjusts your site according to the devices and platforms are displayed on.
Google recommends installing a responsive design for various reasons:
Since your website is user friendly, it delivers a great UX which is Good for SEO.
Here is a list of some responsive WordPress themes.
Pop-ups are annoying and irritating on a desktop for users, especially if they aren’t relevant. On mobile devices, they’re a nightmare because they can hide content and the close button are less noticeable.
On January 10, 2017, Google updated its mobile search algorithms. Web pages where content is not easily accessible to the user may not rank as high.
Example of Popups on Mobile:
It’s Ok to have a pop up that encourages your visitors to join your email list or buy your product.
But, to reduce any risk of de-ranking your site makes it easy to close.
When I first started my writing business, I made a huge mistake that sabotaged my ranking.
Not optimizing images for SEO.
I believed that Google could not read images. Big Mistake.
On September 4, 2018, Google updated its algorithms to improve the quality of image search.
Since then, Google started showing more visuals in the core web search results.
According to SEO clarity, more than 1/3 search queries contain Google images.
If you’re neglecting this part, then you’re missing a lot of potential organic traffic.
When you upload an image to your site, the file image name is one of the things you need to consider.
Your image file name should be descriptive and keyword- rich to help Google understands its context.
Millions of images are uploaded daily that have generic names like DC00012.jpg.
If you’re promoting an iPhone 8 Plus, the image file name should be something like this iPhone-8-Plus.jpg
This is the most important element to make your images SEO- friendly. All your images should include Alt texts. This tag describes your website pictures to both search engines and users.
If the image fails to load or can not be shown, the Alt tag will be displayed in place of the image.
The Alt text doesn’t have to be complicated to fill. Just include the keyword you’re targeting on that page whenever possible. Also, avoid using too many sentences or keywords.
A descriptive keyword-rich sentence or two is enough.
The title tag is another element where you can make your images more descriptive to users. This tag has nothing to do with SEO, but it just adds another layer of clarity.
This is the first guide I write on my blog. I want to know what do you think about these white hat SEO techniques. I’m open to harsh critics and brutal honesty.
I can’t wait to hear your feedback. If you have any questions, go ahead and leave me a comment below.