White Hat SEO- How to Rank by the Search Engine Rules
A few months back, I released complete Google ranking factors and mentioned all 100 SEO checklists. After that, I have written about the concept of black hat SEO. In this blog, you will know the best white hat SEO practices.
Who does not want to rank on Google without getting penalized? I think everybody wants it. But due to cutthroat competition, many of us get frustrated and start practicing black hat SEO, which leads us nowhere. They end up landing in marshland.
So before you learn more about white hat SEO, you must be thinking that can avoiding black hat SEO completely really help me to outrank my competitors?
The answer is YES. Even if you wisely practice black hat SEO, then it is very expensive, highly risky, and requires technical expertise. Even if you manage all these factors still your gain will be short-term. In long run, you can not fool Google and it will hunt your site down.
What is White Hat SEO?
When you improve a site’s ranking, and traffic on SERPs by strictly following Google Webmaster guidelines and practicing Google-approved SEO methods, tricks, and tactics called White Hat SEO.
Here you focus mainly on 3 things;
- You do not play any bluff game to cheat search engines.
- You put all your efforts to impress humans not search engine bots.
- You focus 100% QUALITY over QUANTITY.
How Does White Hat Deffer from Black Hat SEO?
Unlike White Hat SEO, when you practice against Google Webmaster guidelines and violate every optimization rule made by search engines, then it is termed Black Hat SEO.
3 major reasons why people practice black hat SEO;
1. You only focus on the site’s quick ranking and higher traffic in search results
2. You have nothing to do with the problems of your users/searchers
3. Desperately you try to maximize short-term gains for a website by exploiting search engine algorithms’ loopholes, limitations, or blind spots.
Let’s breakout best white hat SEO practices as per the website, technical SEO, keyword research, on-page SEO, link building, and other off-page SEO factors.
White Hat SEO Related to Website
When we talk about websites, it is a whole lot of things. I have seen many people running n number of websites. But the thing is, creating one excellent website is way better than creating hundreds of pathetic websites.
The website covers visual hierarchy, navigability, consistency, responsiveness, accessibility, and establishes E-A-T.
Buying a credible domain, choosing a great hosting platform, and purchasing an excellent theme, are some of the white hat practices.
Avoid: Do not buy a spammy domain name, shady hosting, and cracked theme, as it may look active but Google may penalize you for unethical and black hat practices.
UI and UX Design (User Experience User Interface)
The UI design means user interface. The user interface is defined as the graphical layout of your website that consists of the clickable buttons, readable texts, visual elements, interactions, the images, sliders, text entry fields, and all the rest of the micro elements the user interacts with.
Whereas, UX stands for the user experience that determines how easy or difficult it is to interact with the UI elements. The better the UI, the better the UX will be.
UX and UI is a collaborative approach because UX decides how the user interface works while the UI decides how the user interface looks.
Hence, a great website always has an excellent UI and UX.
More than 52.4% of worldwide traffic comes from mobile. used mobile phones to access the internet. But Unfortunately, nearly half of Fortune 500 websites are not mobile-friendly according to Google’s standards.
So, if your website is not mobile-friendly then you are losing tons of potential traffic and leads. The reason is simple; if your site’s visitors can not navigate your site then how can they stay and engage?
White Hat SEO Related to Technical SEO
Apart from choosing great hosting, theme, CMS, and powerful plugins, there are many more white hat practices related to technical SEO such as CWV, URL structuring, crawling and indexing, HTTPS codes, schemas, and mobile SEO.
Core Web Vitals
It is a set of search console metrics on the basis of which Google evaluates the page experience score of a user. Core Web Vitals Update consists of 3 major elements, LCP, FID, and CLS.
i) Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) talks about “Loading Speed”. It measures how quickly the main content of a web page loads and is visible to users. Any web page that has a load speed from 0–2.5 seconds signals Green (GOOD) in the Google matrix. If the web page load speed is from 2.5–4 seconds then it needs improvement and if the load page speed is more than 4+ seconds then its score is poor and it needs serious attention.
ii) First Input Delay (FID) talks about “Interactivity” which measures the time it takes for a user to actually interact with your page. Following are the representation with respect to time.
- 0–100 ms: Green (GOOD)
- 100–300 ms: Orange (NEED IMPROVEMENT)
- 300+ ms: Red (POOR)
iii) Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) tells about the “Visual Stability”. And its representation along with the color and ratings are as below;
- CLS score of 0.1 or less: Green (GOOD)
- 0.1–0.25: Orange (NEED IMPROVEMENT)
- 0.25+ ms: Red (POOR)
Click to read the step by step guide on Core Web Vitals and User Experience
Make your web page URLs SEO Friendly. Create short URLs and write them in such a way that it describes what overall your blog is about. Make sure your site does not create the same URLs for different web pages. Every web page on your site must have only one URL. These URLs should not confuse search engine spiders and humans.
Examples of URLs:
You can also have paginated URLs as divided content across a series of pages to bifurcate the list of articles or products into a nice format. It is a widely used technique by eCommerce, and news publishing websites
Safe browsing is another white hat SEO practice that allows webmasters to resolve security issues with their websites. Webmasters can use Google Search Console to access the security issues report that mainly detects six major security issues such as malware, deceptive pages,
harmful downloads, uncommon downloads, hacked content, and social engineering. It also provides recommendations for each type of security issue for a better page experience.
The best ways to deal with such threats are never to include unnecessary lead generation forms on your website and only to include high-quality and reputable ads and links.
Focus on Mobile SEO for a Better Mobile Experience
Each of your pages should be mobile-friendly with no mobile usability errors. The best white hat SEO practices for a better mobile experience are to use large fonts that are visible even on small mobile devices. You should also include plenty of whitespace for easy navigation.
Use Correct HTTP Status Codes
To get better user experience status in Google Search, your webpages should be served over HTTPS.
If your website has too many HTTP URLs, Google will show you the warning banner, and the HTTPS section will show “Failing” on your site.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is nothing but a combination of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) with the Secure Socket Layer (SSL)/Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol. Therefore, if you add HTTPS to page URLs then it offers three layers of security in the form of i) data encryption, ii) authentication, and iii) data integrity
One of the pro tips to nail HTTPS is, to use a schema markup generator tool to add structured data to your site’s HTML. This is completely white hat SEO practice.
No Intrusive Interstitials or Misleading Pop-ups
Interstitials or pop-ups always interrupt fine browsing user experiences that irritate your users. These interstitials always distract your users from the main content of that web page.
Hence, for a white hat SEO practice, you should use pop-ups with discretion and place ads only on non-disturbing places such as sidebars, above or below the web page content.
Schema markup converts unstructured data into structured data and informs the search engine exactly about your content type.
If you add schema in the correct way then it also helps the search engine in crawling, indexing, and better ranking. This way, schema markup is a great way to stand out from your competitors on SERPs.
White Hat SEO Related to Content Marketing
Content marketing can be of many types such as blogs, videos, data-driven visuals, infographics, GIFs, and SlideShare.
If you create 100% original and excellent content of any type then it will be loved by search engines and users both.
But creating 100% original content is one of the biggest challenges, so more than 90% of content writers either rewrite the content or use cheap tactics such as writing thin content, or do content plagiarism, duplication, or republishing existing posts without attribution. You must note that any of these practices are not a white hat at all. Hence you should avoid such wrong black hat SEO tricks.
White Hat SEO Related to Keyword Research
Doing proper keyword research is one of the best SEO practices and writing keywords can hook a site’s ranking and traffic on SERPs in no time.
You can target short-tail, medium-tail, and long-tail keywords as per business needs. While optimizing your content with keywords, you can use focus keywords and LSI keywords. These are white-hat SEO practices and are completely safe.
But over-optimizing your content with the main keyword is a black hat SEO trick that you should avoid. You should also avoid keyword cannibalization. If you apply any of these tricks on your web pages then Google and other search engines will devalue your pages, lower the domain authority, and very soon you will see a massive loss in ranking and traffic.
White Hat SEO Related to On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is not only a white hat SEO practice but it is also 100% free and safe. Unlike off-page SEO, you can perform on-page SEO without having any dependency on other websites or brands. Here you control and enhance the search engine visibility and user experience of your web page that relates to the title, description, slug, heading, subheading, content length, content quality, text visibility, image alt text, structured markup, URL path, internal links, and external links.
So, in off-page SEO your focus should be on creating fine page titles, headers, meta descriptions, image alt text, page URLs, and internal and authentic external links for your blog pages.
Do not use too many exact-match anchor texts, do not create irrelevant internal and external links, and do not duplicate the title, description, and page URL.
White Hat SEO Related to Off-Page SEO
Grabbing link opportunities from broken links, doing guest posts on high authority sites, and participating in interviews, events or podcasts to increase brand presence is one of the best forms of white hat SEO practices related to off-page.
You can create industrial reports, do press releases, and submit your website on reputed platforms like social bookmarking sites, document sharing sites, Q/A sites, and article submission sites is also a white hat SEO practice.
But, again submitting your sites on irrelevant platforms, performing massive cold outreach, and buying links is not white hat SEO practice at all. So you should avoid spamming and bulk buying or selling links.
White Hat SEO Related to Link Building
Any SEO activity is not complete until you build high-quality backlinks and scale them. There is no doubt that backlinks play a vital role in any site’s ranking, traffic, and established E-A-T on SERPs.
There are many proven ways for link building that are 100% white hat in nature. You can build 100% safe links via guest posting, web directory submission, social bookmarking, blog commenting, creating infographics, and viral content, testimonial link building, using HARO, and so on.
You can also make your site’s presence on top social media platforms. Submitting your website to top search engines can not only widen your brand presence but also you can drive more quality traffic and leads for your business.
Do not involve buying or selling links. It is a black hat SEO practice and will dilute the quality of search results, ranking, and traffic.
So, what is the white hat SEO alternative? The answer is there is no alternative. You must focus on BUILDING LINKS, NOT ON BUYING LINKS.
Conclusion on White Hat SEO Checklist
White-hat SEO is all about having the right mindset: put users first, create genuinely useful content, and don’t spam people.
Sure black hats may be able to get results in the short term, but a white-hat operation is essential for long-term success.
Remember, white-hat SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.
In the end, it’s a long-term plan that pays off.