In the world of Search Engine Optimization, there are a number of ways that businesses work their ways to the top of search engines. Some of these tactics are what you would call “White Hat” SEO tactics. These go along with Google’s terms of service and take the approach of improving a website by focusing on users rather than rankings. Using these tactics can take a bit of time to get your website off the ground, but will garner you long-term results that will make it easier for your customers to find you through search engines. Just remember: "Slow and steady wins the race."
Adding good descriptive tags: keywords, meta descriptions, image alt tags, page titles, etc.
White Hat tactics provide your website visitors with relevant information that expands the relevancy of your website. The reasons that these tactics work so well is because, over the years, Google has adapted their algorithm with updates such as Hummingbird, Penguin, Panda, and RankBrain. These affect how Google analyzes content, links, the user experience, etc.
Avoid Black Hat Tactics
Black Hat tactics traditionally involve methods of tricking the search engines and utilizing tactics that are purely based around exploiting certain characteristics of the Google Algorithm. All Black Hat tactics will damage your site and reputation.
Black Hat tactics include:
Purchased and/or irrelevant links
Hidden, unrelated text
These tactics, while they can generate short-term success, can lead to your website being blacklisted by Google or other search engines. Once search engines catch on to tactics that violate their terms of service, a website utilizing these tactics could disappear from search results. This is why it is so vital to do SEO correctly. According to Google, "Not even the most experienced SEO can guarantee a certain rank for your site." If someone says they can- RUN. They are bad news.
There are many ways to optimize your website without breaking the rules or tricking the system to gain favor in search results. Make sure that you are doing things the right way when you are optimizing your site so that you gain proper search engine placement that will be long-lasting. Proper SEO takes time to do well. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Work hard, appropriately, and be patient. You'll see results over time.