Although internet had indeed become a household name, the word “internet” was not commonly used before the 1990’s. As the internet gained more and more popularity, companies began to market their products and services online for profitability. It has become important for companies to have an “online presence” more than ever. Internet marketing strategies include SEM (Search Engine Marketing), SEO (Search Engine Optimization), banner ads, e-mail marketing, and Web 2.0 strategies. SEO is used particularly more than other internet marketing strategies to drive internet traffic to certain website.
This is in part because e-mail advertisements end up in the “junk mail” folder usually and never gets opened. Also, because SEM and banner ads are a paid advertisement, small business owners who don’t have the budget to pay for advertisement usually opt for the free method. Web 2.0 might be free but very time-consuming. Because of the popularity of SEO, it has gained much attention and some of it is not so good. The terms “white hat” and “black hat” describes the kinds of tactics that a person or marketing company uses. White hat refers to acceptable methods of marketing online. Black hat refers to unacceptable methods of marketing online. Notorious users of black hat strategies include BMW Germany and Ricoh.
Both companies were removed from Google in February of 2006 for using black hat SEO tactics. Black hat seeks to better online page ranking using methods not approved by search engines. Black hat can also seek to deceive searchers by taking them to a page not requested when searching. Some examples of black hat SEO are link farming, keyword stuffing and article spinning. Because search engines tend to list websites that has more clicks on top, link farming tries to pay other websites or people to artificially click into their site and thus, ensure a higher ranking. Keyword stuffing is described by Google as Randomly Repeated Keywords. This method hides popular keywords into the background of the page to get searched.
The keyword can be miles apart from the content being searched for by the searcher. “Noscript” tags is another keyword stuffing technique. White hat SEO, on the other hand, means following search engines’ rules. It is honest marketing because it is connecting searchers with the web sites they were requesting. Some legitimate methods of white hat SEO to increase traffic are cross-linking, writing relevant content writing with widely searched keywords, and URLs normalization tactics. While black hat tactic might get your website the prominence it needs for a month or two, it can spell disaster if Google or other popular search engines discover it and block your site from searches. White hat requires build up time in order to have online prominence; however, it can only go up from there.