Like every web-savvy individual knows, SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization, a discipline devoted to the improvement of visibility of web pages and websites in search engines via the organic or unpaid search results. There are two (2) types of SEO, namely white hat SEO and black hat SEO. White hat SEO is the use of the best practices of the profession to achieve desired placements of sites on SERPs. White hat seeks to adhere to search engine guidelines for webmasters and the results are positively long-lasting, if done correctly. White hat SEO companies spend a lot of time on research, analysis, rewriting of content and Meta tags, URL restructuring and sometimes website redesigning. On the other hand, black hat SEO is the use of methods that are against the guidelines of major search engines for webmasters to achieve targeted rankings. Black hat tends to take shorter and unacceptable quicker routes to success, which is generally transient.
Black hat SEO service providers are used to guaranteeing to rank web pages at number one (1) position on Google SERPs in less than a week or so. Practically, it’s not that simple to achieve, and even if they rank your site at the first position on search results, it won’t remain there for a long time. Moreover, your site can easily be penalized, when the methods used to rank it trigger the web spam filter of Google and other major search engines.
Tips on how to avoid hiring a black hat SEO company:
- Never trust a company or an individual that guarantees first position on Google search results for the target keywords you choose. None of the major search engines, including Google, can assure anyone a ranking position.
- A very good way to get to a reputable SEO company is to ask someone knowledgeable to refer a locally-based firm. If reference doesn’t work, find a couple of local companies on the web and interview them, to ascertain how they operate. Do proper research, and never blindly trust anyone.
- Ask for past projects and examine how well the previously optimized sites are doing on SERPs. View the source codes of the web pages, to see how they abide by the best practices of search engine optimized web design principles. The source codes should not contain any form of cloaking, which is against search engine rules. Moreover, there shouldn’t be microscopic texts or fonts colors that are exactly the same as their background colors.
- Get References from SEO companies. Once you have a few of them, ask about the total improvement in specified actions, such as signups, sales, and visitor/rank increase from the baseline. The answers will give you a general impression of the caliber of the SEO service they provide. I believe that increase in actions is much better than increase in ranking. The two don’t normally go hand-in-hand, but do in unpaid search.
As a rule, ask the company you’re about to hire the type of link building techniques they employ.