September 23, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

White Hat SEO vs. Black Hat SEO

White Hat SEO vs. Black Hat SEO

It’s not Spy vs. Spy. It’s different.

I’ve only been to one SEO Event, as it’s much easier (faster,
cheaper…) to do my research online. Recently there’s been a lot of
chatter about one of Danny Sullivan’s events that some felt went too
far into Black Hat Territory. I found a response that said “Guess what suckas! There is no White Hat!” of course I paraphrase.

For n00bs (new people, to you n00bs), most believe there are two ways to do better in search engine results: White
Hat – being “honest” and not doing Black Hat – making changes to your
site, or getting links that have nothing to do with the user experience
, and are done solely to score higher in the engines.

Jason Calacanis deployed some astonishing Ju-Jitsu a little more than a year ago, stating that SEO was all BS.
He issued a challenge made a lot of important points and said that SEO
is “pissing in the community’s well”, based on his image of what the
future would be (and I think he’s on the mark). The beauty of it all
though is that it both validates the business model and drives traffic
for his new venture Mahalo. A beautiful example of participating in
social media and leveraging community. It’s not possible to buy or fake
that kind of hype – but kids, don’t try this at home, you’re watching a
professional stuntman here.

Ok, so all that said… What to do? From what I’ve seen I think the
wild west days are over. The web has become a community and the search
engines are the law enforcement professionals. Black Hat has become
like any other life of crime – it can provide benefit, but the downside
is that you are always at risk of being found out and crushed. The
truth is that you have your business on the line and the law
enforcement people have no emotional involvement whatsoever. The guys
that tweak the search algorithms come to work every day and think about
how to tighten it up.

This will continue for years, people going to work and the corporate
bureaucracy, patching holes at a slow pace, but crushing everything in
their path. And it’s just like these cold case shows on TV, you may get
away with it today, but 3 years from now they come up with a new way to
examine the evidence and you get the cuffs.

Don’t take on the risk of Black Hat until you’ve exhausted everything possible from White Hat.
Building an easy to navigate site with lots of great resources that the
rest of the world can’t help but link to is a great way to build
traffic that you can work on and never have to worry about waking up
one morning and finding your site banished and traffic wiped out. This
is becoming less and less of a technical function (making sure your
html tags are properly formatted) and more of a copywriting one.

Wear the black hat if you have no long term plans for the domain.
There’s a reason why PPC (Pills, Porn, Casinos) excel at black hat – if
they have to close down spankme.blackjack.bluepill.com that’s not a big
deal, if you have a legitmate URL with your company name the stakes are
much higher.

There are many people who can make money off of exploiting
weaknesses in the search engines, but like most neighborhoods where the
exploitation gets the attention of law enforcement, you probably don’t
want to hang out there.

(Note: This article originally appeared at Ronin Marketeer.)

John Wall discusses current marketing techniques every week on the free Marketing Over Coffee Audio Program. He likes getting gift certificates to Amazon. He blogs at Ronin Marketeer.

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3 Comments

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  2. Eshbaugh@gmail.com'
    Jalisa Melear

    The backlinks action are links that start on another site and point to yours, you can discuss with the of the other site details like the anchor text, for example.Is not the same as manage your own sites,backlinks is part of the page rank algorithm is that if a page is good, people will start linking to it. And the more backlinks a page has, the better,the link need to be live.

  3. youtube@fantomaster-seo.com'
    Samuel Symes

    Most link building by most SEO firms is not “natural” and is in fact blackhat according to Google. If you have to pay for it, ask for it, comment for it or insert a link in your article to gain it, then you are manipulating Google search results and Google terms that as blackhat. You just need to view the many video’s by Matt Cutts to realize that if you are doing any of the above, then you are creating links manually and you violating Google’s TOS.

    It simply baffles me how many SEO experts will quickly denounce Cloaking as “unethical” or against Google’s TOS or even label it as spam which manipulates search results but then on a daily basis create artificial, manual or software generated backlinks for clients.

    If you are distributing countless articles with links or posting on blogs/forums to obtain backlinks or using automated backlinking software, isn’t that also spamming to manipulate search engine results?

    What is the difference? It all violates Google’s TOS.

    So does “blackhat” or being “unethical” really exist anymore? Isn’t this really about traffic, conversions and surviving within an ever tightening monopoly created by Google for which we now are left with few other options, unless to line the pockets of Google shareholders.

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