The Different Types of SEO: Which to Focus On and Which to Avoid
Published May 14, 2023
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a tool for improving website traffic and visibility. But, not all SEO practices are equal. In this article, we will explore the different types of SEO, which ones you should focus on, and which ones you should avoid.
Types of SEO
SEO is the process of optimizing a website’s content to increase its visibility and ranking on search engines. SEO is achievable using different ways. Yet, not all SEO practices are ethical, and some can harm your website’s reputation and ranking.
White Hat SEO
White hat SEO refers to ethical and legitimate SEO practices complying with search engine guidelines. These SEO practices improve user experience and provide high-quality, relevant, and useful information. By following white hat SEO practices, you can build a strong foundation for your website’s ranking and reputation in the long run.
White hat SEO practices follow the principles of honesty, transparency, and relevance. They aim to provide value to the user by delivering high-quality content and a seamless user experience.
White hat SEO involves providing visitors with high-quality content and services. Another white hat SEO practice is using descriptive and keyword-rich meta tags, which help search engines understand each webpage’s content. Website owners should also make sure their site loads quickly and are mobile-friendly to improve user experience. Also, website owners should make their sites easy to use by including a clear and easy-to-understand access menu that lets users find the information they need quickly and easily.
On-Page SEO (On-Site SEO)
On-page SEO is the process of making each page of a website better so that it ranks higher in search engine results and gets more relevant traffic. On-page SEO focuses on optimizing a web page’s content and HTML source code. Among the many on-page elements that can be improved are the page’s title tag, meta description, header tags, content, and images.
On-page SEO is important because it helps search engines understand what your website is about and what information it provides users. Optimizing your web pages for on-page SEO can improve your website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs), increase organic traffic, and generate more leads and sales.
Off-Page SEO (Off-Site SEO)
Off-page SEO refers to all the actions taken outside your website to improve your search engine rankings. These actions include link building, social media engagement, online reputation management, and local SEO practices. The goal of off-page SEO is to create a positive online presence for your website, increase visibility, and drive traffic to your site.
Backlinks are a crucial aspect of off-page SEO. The quality and quantity of backlinks are important factors in determining your website’s search engine ranking. Links from sites with a lot of authority are more useful than links from spammy or low-quality sources.
Social Media Engagement
Active social media profiles with regular updates and engagement can improve your website’s online visibility and increase brand awareness.
Online Reputation Management
Online reputation management includes managing reviews and comments on review sites and social media platforms, responding to negative feedback, and addressing customer complaints. In addition, a positive online reputation can help improve your search engine rankings and attract more visitors to your site.
Local SEO includes adding your website to local business directories, creating location-specific content, and optimizing your Google My Business profile. Local SEO can be particularly effective for businesses with a physical presence, such as brick-and-mortar stores or restaurants.
Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO refers to a set of unethical and manipulative practices that violate search engine guidelines and aim to deceive search engines and users. These practices are designed to achieve quick and easy rankings, traffic, and revenue, without considering the long-term consequences and sustainability of the website.
Black Hat SEO includes techniques such as keyword stuffing, cloaking, link farming, hidden text and links, doorway pages, and other spammy and low-quality practices. Search engines do not approve of these practices, and they can result in penalties, low rankings, and even permanent bans from search results.
Keyword stuffing involves adding a large number of irrelevant keywords to a web page to improve its visibility and ranking in SERPs.
Doorway pages are web pages created specifically for search engines rather than human users. These pages are designed to rank high in SERPs for specific keywords or phrases and then redirect visitors to another page on the website.
Cloaking involves showing search engines different content than what is shown to users.
Hidden Text and Links
Hidden text and links refer to text and links that are not visible to the user but are in the website’s source code to manipulate search engine rankings by including keywords and links without affecting the user experience.
Link farming refers to the practice of creating or participating in a group of websites that all link to each other with the sole purpose of increasing the number of inbound links. These links are often irrelevant or of low quality.
Technical SEO focuses on the technical aspects of your website to ensure that it is accessible to search engines and users.
Technical SEO includes a wide range of factors such as site architecture, site speed, mobile responsiveness, duplicate content, HTTPS and security, structured data, XML sitemap, and more.
The goal of Local SEO is to improve a website’s ranking in relevant local search results. Local SEO also considers the needs of mobile users, who often rely on their devices to find nearby businesses.
The key components of Local SEO include local keyword research and optimization, on-page optimization, and creating local content. By using keywords relevant to your local area and optimizing your website’s content and structure for those keywords, you can increase your chances of appearing at the top of local search results.
International SEO involves various factors, including language, content localization, and cultural differences. Therefore, it’s important to research and understand the needs and preferences of your target audience in different countries and to tailor your website and content accordingly.
One key aspect of International SEO is identifying the right keywords for your target audience in each country. This involves conducting thorough keyword research and understanding each country’s search behavior and trends. Localizing your content and optimizing it for the target language is also critical to ensuring your website ranks well in search engine results.
Gray-Hat SEO is a term used to describe SEO practices that fall somewhere between white-hat (quality content, etc.) and black-hat (link schemes, keyword stuffing, etc.) practices. While Gray-Hat SEO can yield results in the short term, it carries significant risks and can lead to long-term penalties from search engines.
While Gray-Hat SEO carries significant risks, it can also yield rewards in the short term. By using methods that fall somewhere between white-hat and black-hat practices, you can achieve quick gains in search engine rankings. However, Gray-Hat SEO practices can harm your website’s reputation in the long run. Search engines are becoming increasingly sophisticated at detecting and penalizing sites that engage in unethical SEO practices.
The goal of content SEO is to make your content more visible to search engines and, in turn, more discoverable by your target audience. The process of content SEO involves a range of tactics, including keyword research, copywriting, site structure, on-page optimization, and link building.
Negative SEO is a term used to describe unethical tactics used to harm a website’s search engine rankings. Negative SEO can take many forms, including creating spammy links to a website, copying content from a website and publishing it on other sites, giving negative reviews or feedback, and using black hat SEO techniques like keyword stuffing and cloaking.
Further, negative SEO is a serious issue for website owners, as it can significantly impact a website’s search engine rankings and organic traffic. In extreme cases, negative SEO can even lead to a website being removed from SERPs.
Mobile SEO refers to the process of optimizing websites for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Mobile SEO aims to improve the mobile user experience by ensuring that websites are easy to navigate, fast to load, and mobile-friendly.
E-commerce SEO is the process of optimizing e-commerce websites to improve their visibility and ranking on SERPs. The goal is to attract more organic traffic and increase sales through better search engine visibility. E-commerce SEO involves a range of strategies and techniques, including on-page optimization, off-page optimization, keyword research, and content marketing.
Types of SEO to Focus on and Avoid
The types of SEO to focus on are On-Page, Off-Page, Technical, and Local SEO. As these types of SEO practices involve optimizing:
- The content and structure of a website’s pages such as URL structure, title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and content for relevant keywords.
- A website’s external factors, like high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites, social media signals, and other factors that demonstrate a website’s relevance and authority.
- The technical aspects of improving a website’s performance and visibility help search engines understand the structure and content of a website and how it can be effectively crawled and indexed.
- Attract more targeted traffic from their local area, which can lead to increased foot traffic and revenue.
On the other hand, of all the types of SEO listed above, those that should be avoided are Black Hat and Negative SEO, as these SEO types use unethical practices like keyword stuffing and cloaking. In addition, performing Black Hat and Negative SEO can lead to penalties and negatively impact a website’s ranking in SERPs.
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About The Author
Krizzia Paolyn, is an SEO Specialist and author based in the Philippines. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. It has always been her passion to share her voice, and at the same time, to encourage others to share their voices as well. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.