One of the most important aspects in any field of work is to keep a close eye on your competition. In the world of SEO, it is always a hard tackle for white hat SEO agencies to beat the black hat tactics employed by competition and make SEO truly sustainable.

Added to the black hat SEO tactics are exploiting social media, negative PR bad reviews on Google Places and many other ways to generate negative online presence. The most powerful black hat SEO to bring down a competitor would be to simply hack the client’s server and include ‘no index no follow’ instruction in the root directory of the website.

Here are some white hat SEO tips to tackle black hat tactics:

Domain Cloaking

Use a text only browser like Lynx which displays web pages as viewed by a search engine spider and compare with what is being rendered on a regular browser. Compare the content thoroughly.

Record every single URL

Track any 404 errors with webmaster tools regularly and monitor the inlinks to pages that have been taken off. Place an appropriate 301 redirect to a page with relevant content/information.

Keyword stuffing

Moderate and track the keyword density for every page in the meta data and content.

Buying links

Monitor inlinks coming in from link farms and other link building-only websites and/or networks. These are treated more as a spam link and introduce a high risk of website getting dropped from Google.

Hidden text

Monitor dynamic content like Javascripts and Ajax on the website. A tech head would be advantageous to dig into the many dynamic scripts that get executed and show up hidden text.

Server downtimes

Ensure the server is up and running at all times, get in touch with the hosting partner immediately if you notice the website is down. Being down frequently will make your website untrustworthy to search engines.

External linking

White hat possible solution: Monitor outbound links and ensure they do not lead to any irrelevant websites and/or content. It is also advised to make the link a ‘nofollow’ if it leads to an external source of information.

Apart from the above basic tips, it is always a best practice to have dedicated resources in place to monitor SEO, social media, PR and other online reputation management activities. The best way to beat the dodgy competition is to forge ahead proactively with sustainable and long term “white hat” SEO!

4Ps isn’t just another SEO agency. To discuss how SEO and content are evolving together in order to keep pace with new developments in user interaction and search algorithms, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about data, marketing and technology across all inbound channels. How could a 4Ps search marketing consultant help to grow your business?