Is your SEO bod good or bad??

If, like most recruitment businesses you don’t have an in-house SEO function, you’ll need to outsource that to a 3rd party. You can’t not do SEO; you probably don’t have the skillset yourself – so it gets farmed out.

BUT…if you don’t understand SEO, and the best practices for it, it can be hard to find the best recruitment SEO partner for your firm. How do you know their work is healthy SEO and not “Black hat”? SEO is difficult to implement effectively and as a concept to non-techie people is often confusing! Sounds more like something way technical rather that a useful marketing tool!

“SEO? Isn’t that something to do with websites??” is typically question asked by those who aren’t familiar. IFKYK, and if you DO know, you might get that properly done SEO can increase a website’s Google rankings. Very rarely does anyone except an SEO expert understand specifically how the process works.

Bad SEO practices can actually do damage to your online visibility, and a lack of knowledge in tur processes behind SEO can often leave businesses vulnerable to bad practices. If the damage to your visibility is bad enough, it can even mean that ranking on Google could be impossible – not just more difficult! When you’ve built an impressive, effective website, the last thing you need is to be invisible due to shoddy SEO.

How Do You Monitor Your SEO Contractor?

Ideally when you hire an SEO, you’ll need to understand SEO at a basic level, both as a tool and a concept. 

As I’ve said before, SEO is nothing more than a process. A process that is used to (usually) positively affect your website’s position in the results pages on Google for example. Good SEO practices can boost your positions and in turn offer exposure of your brand, attracting new clients and candidates. For example, if you’re a finance recruiter, you want your website to appear before your competitors’ when someone searches the words, “finance recruitment” or “finance recruitment agencies” etc. You can increase your search rank by implementing certain good practices like including keywords and internal linking. Hiring an experienced SEO agency or consultant can help to boost your rank subsequently increasing your visibility.

Could Hiring an SEO Threaten Your Current Rank?

To understand how a person hired to increase your rank could actually harm it… think about what motivates an SEO. Our job is to make your website rank higher than your competitors’. It’s literally our one and only objective. Everything that we do serves that purpose.

The problem is, Google doesn’t make this easy. AT….ALL. It looks at hundreds of factors to decide on its rankings, and some of those factors are difficult to change.

The enterprising SEO, who wants to keep their job or not jeopardize their contract, feels a lot of pressure to get Google to bend to their will. The quicker the SEO can get results, the better. If an SEO discovers a way to cheat Google – to lie about the factors Google considers to make rankings – then there’s very little to stop the SEO from trying it out. When these tactics are employed, they’re called “black hat” because they go against Google’s guidelines.

Google spends a lot of time searching for black hat offenders. When Google finds them, they tend to punish the websites by penalising sites, removing them from the results pages, even sometimes even taking down websites completely! In to the abyss! So, you may pay an SEO to boost your site in the rankings only to later find your website hit by a Google penalty that removes it from the results pages entirely!! 

How Do You Know If the Tactics Your SEO Expert Implements Are Black Hat?

To evaluate if your SEO tactics are white hat or black hat, you need to analyse them from Google’s point of view.

Google WANTS to show the best pages first. If somebody searches “finance recruitment,” Google wants to show the searcher a list of finance recruitment firms organised with the best choice at the top, whether that means the recruiter who is physically closest or the best rated. This is true of any search. Google prioritises the person searching, not the business the searcher is looking for. It provides the very best result it can, every time.

If a tactic your SEO implements seems to be tricking Google into thinking your website or your business is better than it is, that tactic is likely black hat. For example, your SEO might tell you that links are powerful indicators of a website’s worth, so the SEO suggests buying other domains, building a network of other websites, and using them to link to the one you want to rank. Google would see those links and think your website is particularly good – look at how many other websites link to it!

This tactic is sometimes referred to a PBN… “private blog network”… and would be black hat. Those links weren’t created by other websites because they legitimately thought your site was good. They were created solely to make Google increase your rankings.Building links by adding your website to listings or writing articles with links for other sites would be white hat practices.

Your SEO expert shoud suggest that you create strong, follow-links on different sites to support your own domain – this is how I do it! Your SEO will also explain how you need keywords in your target search terms on the page. Still, your SEO might advise a black hat technique. For example, if you’re a finance recruiter in Manchester, your SEO could suggest putting the words “finance recruiter Manchester” all over the website.

To prevent people from thinking that looks spammy, the SEO will say to make the words “finance recruiter Manchester” white on a white background so they’re invisible to visitors and are only visible to Google.Again, this technique is tricking Google into thinking your website has a lot to offer about “finance recruiter Manchester,” when a human visitor wouldn’t see it that way.

You’d be lying to Google about what’s on the page, so that would be a black hat technique.Aaaaaaand, even if you visibly add in too many keywords for no apparent reason, Google could count this as “keyword stuffing,”  which would be considered black hat. 

Ensure Your SEO Practices are Executed Effectively and Correctly

You don’t really need to know all of the specifics of SEO to determine whether or not an SEO’s tactics are black hat. You’d just need a basic understanding of SEO and to ask questions about certain tactics to ensure your hired SEO is not trying to trick Google.If you don’t, Google will find out and punish your site. Like most crime, black hat SEO doesn’t pay…at least, not in the long run. Protect yourself from Google’s penalties and your website will enjoy a lifetime of traffic, leads, and revenue.

If you’re ever on doubt, and want an impartial bit of advice I’m more than happy to chat to you and offer my opinion, freely of course. 

Any questions on anything in this piece drop me a line either on 07486 571264 or email me directly at

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