This week's A List Apart
has a really interesting article about accessibility and search engine optimization
. To sum it up, whitehat search engine optimization is more effective than blackhat search engine optimization. What exactly is the difference between whitehat and blackhat and why should you care?
Whitehat SEO is optimization of a site by making it simple, well written, accessible, and all around user friendly. Blackhat SEO refers to the approach of using SEO "tricks", such as keyword stuffing
, cloaking, and landing pages. More often than not blackhat SEO ends up making your site harder for your real users to use. Whitehat SEO, on the other hand, goes hand in hand with usability and well implemented web sites. Whitehat SEO isn't really SEO at all, but it results in better search engine placement. Whitehat is really visitor optimization (VO).
Here at iMarc we recently revamped our website with a focus on making it easier to use and more concise. Not only is the content better, but we designed it using common sense principles. We used relevant title tags and accurate h1, h2 and h3 tags. Our html is xhtml 1.0 valid for cross-browser consistency and accessibility. We also started using more descriptive page and directory names. All of our news articles and communiqués have the headline in the url and title. There are lots of other little tweaks we did, but you get the gist of it.
But what point am I getting to? Try searching Google for any one of our team members
. That's right, every team member comes back in the first six results for their name, and all but one are in the top three. Dave
has a couple of personal sites that are very popular (including http://dave.imarc.net
) and push his iMarc Team page down a little in the results. Oh well, I guess Google actually does return more relevant results first...
Between this and the spike we have seen in web site traffic since our launch, I think it is fairly safe to say that whitehat SEO is the best way to go. Not only do you get good search engine rankings, but you deliver what visitors are looking for. From what I hear that helps turn visitors into customers.