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white hat SEO

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

White hat SEO is the body of approved search engine optimization tactics designed to increase a website's position on a search engine results page (SERP). 

Search engine results that appear as a result of approved methods, rather than payment or trickery, are referred to as organic search results. Because paid ads and sponsored links are prominently placed on search results pages, the portion of visible search results dedicated to organic results is limited, so top placement is very desirable.

Tactics for improving a website's placement in search results include:

  • Ensuring that the title  and URL include important keywords.
  • Adding sufficient relevant keywords to text on the page -- but not keyword stuffing.
  • Adding links and buttons that will draw a reader deeper into the site. 
  • Featuring links to social media accounts and interacting with users in those accounts. 
  • Posting video content. 

According to Chitko, an ad network, the top organic search result receives 33 percent of the traffic; the second result receives 18 percent and the numbers decline sharply for results that appear lower on the page.

White hat SEO contrasts with black hat SEO, which involves exploitative and/or deceptive methods of attempting to improve a website's search results ranking. 

This was last updated in September 2013

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