Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short is basically making your website look better for search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and that other one Microsoft keeps trying to shove at us that we don’t really want. When working on building SEO, there are two main methodologies: white hat SEO and black hat SEO. White hat is essentially legitimately making your website more appealing through content, good coding, and getting linked to from other relevant websites. Black hat is generally buying referring links on a website with a high ranking that point towards your website. White hat is an organic process that takes longer, but is cheaper over the long run and is actually sustainable. Black hat is an artificial process that is actually quite looked down upon, costs a great deal, and is typically not sustainable without a lot of money. Black hat is in fact so bad that if you get caught, a search engine like Google will de-list you from their index.
So, why do I bring this up? It’s not to bore you, but to explain something interesting that is happening right now when you search for ‘Kenya’ on Google. At the very top of a list of about 128 million results is a rather average-looking tourism website for a company that operates in Kenya. This is interesting as according to this search, it outranks the Wikipedia page, Kenya Government page, Kenya News Results, the CIA “Factbook”, and a whole bunch of other results. How is this possible? Surely those other results it sits on top of are more relevant?
I would warrant a guess that yes, the other results are indeed more relevant and that this company is buying referral links for black hat SEO purposes. Sure, I have no proof of this as I can’t see what this company is doing nor what Google is doing as performing a backlink search on Google is indeterminate. But, check out a similar search for neighboring ‘Uganda’ on Google. It pulls up Uganda’s Official Tourism website, Wikipedia, and again, the almighty CIA “Factbook” as the top three results. This is much more what one would expect on this type of search. Hell, it doesn’t even have to be Africa. A search for ‘Germany’ on Google yields a similar result to this Uganda one.
The reason that I don’t link to this Kenya site in question is because I don’t want to throw any traffic their way. I would just like to see them go back to some minor listing on Google and leave us with the more relevant sites that we actually want.
Kenya's most relevant search?