Just about everyone over the age of 3 is familiar with “The Lion King,” arguably one of Disney’s most famous films (and rampantly successful Broadway show). One of the film’s quintessential songs is “Hakuna Matata,” which Timon and Pumba teach to young Simba. The moral of the song— no worries.
I’ve seen plenty of experts and clients fret over their SEO. Sometimes it feels like our entire industry lives by the will of the search engines and their algorithms. A new update comes down the pipeline and website owners are scrambling to make sure their site will pass muster. But it doesn’t have to be that way! SEO may not be totally worry free, but we are a lot closer to Hakuna Matata than you may think.
If you stay white hat, there is no need to worry.
Most algorithm updates are designed with one end goal in mind—to improve the user experience. Search engines want to keep their users happy and coming back, just like any other business. Delivering the best results for a user’s search is how they make that happen. This means combing the Internet for the most relevant sites, and hopefully that means yours.
Google’s Panda update that launched earlier this year was designed to take on content farms that were cluttering the search results. The low quality, spammy sites were not what users were looking for, so Google updated their algorithm to remove them from the SERP. A lot of site owners claimed to be unfairly affected by the Panda crackdown, but my company’s site, as well as the sites of all my clients, sailed through with flying colors. Why? Because I take a strictly white hat approach to SEO.
If you are a site owner or marketer looking to expand your knowledge of SEO, I suggest you start with the Google Webmaster and the Bing Webmaster SEO Guidelines and consider the information in them your line in the sand. When it comes to SEO, you have to play by the search engine’s rules if you want to succeed! Abiding by the search engines guidelines is white hat SEO.
Black hat SEO includes any tactics that are designed to artificially manipulate the search results and trick the search engines. Black hat SEO can be very appealing because it often produces quick (yet unsubstantial) results. It usually cheaper and faster to go about SEO in a black hat fashion, but sooner or later the search engines catch on and the site is penalized. Some sites drop into the depths of the search results, while others are removed entirely. If no one can find your site in a search engine, you’re practically dead in the water.
Because I practice white hat SEO and white hat only, I know that no matter what updates the search algorithms put out, my site and my client’s sites will weather the storm perfectly. Nothing I do is on the fringe of being black hat, so I can be sure than any updates (like the attack on content farms) won’t affect me. I have my SEO Hakuna Matata.
For a more in depth look at black hat SEO, check out this Brick Marketing blog post.