Lots of so-called search marketing experts will tell you they can get you highly ranked on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) using the “latest techniques” in SEO ranking.
And while they may get you onto page 1 or page 2 of Google, Yahoo! or Bing in the short term, once Google, for instance, discovers that they are employing “black hat” SEO tactics, your rankings will drop like a meteor – and crash and burn.
What many who are not schooled in SEO strategies and tactics don’t understand are the differences in white hat and black hat practices.
That’s why it’s critical that you use white hat tactics to legitimately get you ranked and keep you ranked on the SERPs so that those searching for your vending, OCS or micro market services can find you when conducting a google search.
This is especially critical in our industry where local business SEO rankings are so important. If you’re not a national company like Canteen, Aramark or Sodexho, you must absolutely have a local SEO program in place to ensure your showing up for local businesses, schools, hospitals, high-rise residential buildings, government facilities, grocery stores, you name it.
The Vending Marketer only uses white hat SEO strategies and tactics, managed by our expert team and lead by our partner who has more than 20 years of software development and architecture, website design and SEO/SEM experience to our team.
Top 5 Black Hat Practices that you Should be Asking Your SEO Provider:
- Keyword stuffing: This is where your webmaster or SEO provider writes into your website’s coding – often in the Meta descriptions – the same keywords over and over again, mostly to ensure that the search engine crawlers will read the keywords and rank your site higher.
Remedy: Write original content that uses your keywords naturally, and then make sure they are coded properly. Meta description should be only be used to describe the content of your page accurately and be no longer than 160 characters, including punctuation and spacing.
- Hidden content: Many black hatters disguise content by embedding into your HTML coding or your CMS back end programming. Another common technique to hide keyword content is to make it so small it’s unreadable to a visitor or hide it by using the same color for your on-page type as the background.
Remedy: Provide access to an objective third party and expert at both HTML and CMS coding to check that your back end is free of such content. It it’s not, you may be putting your site in jeopardy.
- Meta keywords: Unfortunately, keywords have been abused so much in the past that search engines will oftentimes skip them if they suspect they’re being abused. Here’s an example of improper meta keyword coding: <meta name=”keywords” content=”vending,snack vending,food vending,Pepsi vending,Coke vending,great vending locations,beverage vending,office coffee service,coffee condiments,coffee room, coffeepots,dark roast coffee,light roast coffee,best coffee”> You get the idea…)
Remedy: Ensure that your site’s Meta keywords are coded properly; for instance: <meta name=”Keywords” content=”vending, office coffee service, OCS, workplace café, micro markets, convenience services, snack and beverage vending” />
- Gateway or Doorway Pages: Such pages are almost 100% created with search engines in mind and not for visitors to your website. They can be phony pages that are crammed with tons of content and your keywords, oftentimes using an internal link to a key web page or landing page on your site.
Remedy: Don’t purchase commodity-priced SEO services or be talked into these types of pages by a shady provider. If you even get a whiff that your provider is suggesting gateway or doorway pages, then run in the opposite direction. The search engines are simply too sophisticated now, and will detect such pages and your site will be penalized or, worse yet, banned for them.
- Link Farming: Because the search engines value back links in both quality and quantity, especially those that offer strong authority, with residual value to your website and its ranking, many black-hatters try to fool the system by hyperlinking a bunch of websites that they own to the benefit of yours. In fact, such “farming” can be done through an automated program, which is considered a form of spam by search engines.
Remedy: Simply DO NOT engage in link farming, unless you want your site banned from Google and other search engines.
More to come on this topic. But for more information now about these and other black hat, white hat and gray hat techniques, contact The Vending Marketer. We can ensure quality SEO all day, every day!