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SEO, white hat or old hat?

One of the toughest things to do as a Webmaster is to get your website to rank high enough in the search engines. With so much help and advice available on the internet it can be tricky to know which methods to use. Let’s take a look at both traditional SEO techniques and the value of good content to see which one has the potential to be most beneficial.

SEO vs Content.

Traditional SEO came about when the internet ‘big boom’ happened. It actually wasn’t that long ago that people began to realize the potential for building an established business online. This not only led to a massive increase in the number of websites vying for the top spot in the search engines but also a sudden increase in companies trading in SEO techniques. These techniques worked and made a lot of people and companies a lot of money. Is traditional SEO still a viable option?

It was a little while before Google got wise to this and figure out that traditional SEO had a way of manipulating the Search Engines. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that SEO is a bad thing but it does seem to be a way of ‘playing the system’. If you think about it, traditional SEO is a way to rank higher in the search engines regardless of anything else.

When it comes to good quality content, SEO takes on a whole new meaning. Although the outcome is the same (highest ranking possible), the search engines have changed to consider the end-user more than the actual website itself. Do you remember the days of searching for ‘rabbits’ and coming across sex toys? I do!

It was the birth of the Panda algorithm which saw a lot of websites dropping their rank position and while this was not good news for those who run the websites, it was for the end-user. The biggest change that the Panda introduced was the need for relevant and useful content. Gone were the days of keyword stuffing and content fillers, welcome to the era of finding exactly what it is you are looking for.

The other big thing was of course original content. Google had finally realized that people do not want to be reading exactly the same thing on three different sites! This was also a big problem for a lot of webmasters who had previously gotten away with this type of content due to the SEO strategies used. 


Hummingbirds (Photo credit: Amyn Kassam)

The Hummingbird algorithm was set to make some more serious changes to the search engines. This change acknowledged the changing face of the internet as well as the Social Media frenzy. The Hummingbird is more in tune with how society uses the internet and allows the search engine to answer questions more easily. Google have realized that most people will ask a question (What is…?, Where is….? Why does….?) and the Hummingbird is supposed to recognize the whole question and not just the keywords.

The role of Social Media is increasing too. You know those little buttons for Facebook and Twitter? Yeah they are not there to just look pretty, social recognition is a great way for the search engines to see if your content is actually worth reading (you know you want to give us a ‘like’!). Google+ is set to become the biggest Social Media platform for business over the next few years (hmm.. wonder why?).

The overall effects of the more recent changes at Google can be seen as detrimental to some websites, and certainly SEO companies but ultimately beneficial to the end-user.

The internet is supposed to be a place where you can find information about anything and everything with ease and this is becoming more so with each new algorithm.

So which is better, SEO techniques or good quality content?

The short answer is…. there is no short answer, it largely depends on your budget (SEO can be more expensive than good content) and how quickly you want to see results. Getting traffic to your site is important but is it more important than keeping the traffic there and turning it into paying customers? Good SEO techniques can only go so far but good quality content can certainly finish the job!

Which do you prefer? Feel free to let us know in the comments.


Written by Emma Pollard.


Post filed under Content Creation.


  1. Very nice piece.

    It’s absolutely true that quality content is vital, and can do amazing things for a website that the old SEO “tricks” just can’t achieve.

    The way I see it, the SEO of today is about creating entirely natural content that your visitors will actually be interested in. Forget trying to manipulate people into coming to your site, don’t create content just because you want to hit a big subject, readers coming to a pet blog because there’s an article on Hunting will NOT be worth targeting.

    The solution is to really consider related subjects carefully, consider why people might be searching for it, then write content to meet the information needs of your existing visitors.

    So, SEO is now about making sure your site is user-friendly, giving visitors what they need, and backing that up with as much information as possible. I would even now ignore the old simple tricks of synonym use and repeating a keyword – just write natural content that aims to inform, this will help far more than any other “trick” Google can (or will) destroy.

  2. Using black hat SEO doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have relevant content, but it does mean you re cool with cheating and breaking the rules and if you get caught as the search engine algorithms wise up to your tricks, your website could end up in the search engine jailhouse.

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