As much as we'd love to say that improving your search engine rankings is easy, it's not. Search engine optimization (SEO) takes hard work, dedication, and some skill.

There's a fine line between ethical (white hat) SEO techniques and unethical (black hat) SEO techniques; if you are not careful, you can end up doing your website more harm than good.

So, to help you get started, here are eight ethical ways to improve your search engine rankings.

1. Create unique and engaging content

The saying "content is king" gets thrown around a lot, but content is king only if it's unique, engaging, and relevant content that provides value to your website visitors.

Creating content with a purpose, rather than simply content stuffed with keywords, is the best way to improve your search engine rankings. It will attract visitors back to your website and show search engines that you are an expert in your industry, in turn leading to higher rankings.

2. Optimize your website and blog images

Images are great for adding visual appeal to your website and blog content, but they can also contribute to your SEO. Giving your images relevant titles and using keywords within the alt tags is the best way to get to get them ranking in image searches.

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Gavin King is managing director of Concept Creations, a digital marketing agency based in Nottinghamshire, UK.

LinkedIn: Gavin King