Now those of you reading this who are in the online marketing industry or who have some degree of knowledge about SEO will understand that not all techniques employed by SEO . . and I use the term loosely … “professionals” are the same. For those of you who might not have heard about these methods then let me take a minute to explain.
There are two distinct SEO techniques referred to as “black hat” and “white hat” with anything in between generally referred to as “grey hat”.
So what’s the difference?
First let’s think about what Google is trying to do, apart from making ridiculous amounts of money! They want to provide the most RELEVANT, useful, helpful, awesome results to the searcher.
Why do they want to do this?
Because if they fail to do this then the searcher will go elsewhere to find the most relevant results, such as to Bing for example and this could mark the beginning of the end for the big G.
Black hat SEO is all about using techniques to “game the system”. These could be elements on the actual website itself, such as showing one page to the search engines and a different page to the user, or techniques employed offsite such as link spamming.
If you effectively game the system then you could in theory rank an extremely poor website on the first page of the search results that does not provide any value to the searcher. If the search results were filled with very low quality sites then people would stop using Google due to the poor results displayed from its search engine algorithm.
White hat SEO on the other hand is all about being “natural”. If you create fantastic websites that consistently deliver great content for the relevant keyword searches then you will “naturally” get people talking about and sharing your content around the net such as on social sites, forums and blogs. This is what Google wants and the core to white hat SEO is always great content. The other skill to white hat SEO comes in getting your content in front of the right crowd of people to help get it noticed and shared and spreading the message about your site across the web in a “natural” way in the eyes of Google.
So How On Earth Will Black Hat SEO HELP Great White Hat Marketers?
Well Google CEO, Larry Page has previously stated that Google’s mission (besides world domination and owning your soul) is to make their search engine AI-complete (artificial intelligence). They have already created software that can recognize cats (It’s a lot cooler than it sounds! I’ll put the link at the bottom of the post) and in the last 12 months have made huge advancements in being able to detect black hat methods and filter out poor quality websites.
They still have a long way to go before they reach their goal however so how do these black hat marketers actually help us right now?
Black hat marketing is basically highlighting to Google the imperfections in their search engine. Things can only be improved when they are broken and tested to their limits and all the techniques that are being employed by the black hatters are showing Google exactly where they are weak and where they need to improve. They also prove to G that it needs to work harder and faster to improve if it wants to rid the search results of the darker techniques that currently game it’s system.
The better Google get’s at weeding out the black hatters, the more scope and less competition there is for the white hatters and the better quality of sites for the searcher.
This race between search engine and marketer has been ongoing pretty much since the start of the Internet and will no doubt continue to exist for many years to come, but recently it’s hard to deny the ground that Google has gained literally changing the game for the majority of marketers.
What’s that I hear you say? What about you and your clients?
Well I can safely say that while many businesses were being wiped off the map (as you will see below), none of Google’s changes have affected our clients and they still continue to rank for the keywords agreed.
If you want a quick fix then you might want to risk black hat marketing. It might work for a month or it might work for a year, hec it might even work for 5 years, but I predict with 100% certainty that you WILL eventually get caught out and when you do, your business could be erased in a day if it is de-indexed from the search engines – at least the online or a large part of the online side of things anyway.
If you want a long standing, sustainable business with growth potential and to build a reputable brand (Tip: Branding is now much more important to Google so if you have been neglecting this then start now – it will help your rankings and your business) then do yourself a favour and don’t try to cut corners. Too many SEO companies that use underhand tactics, they just cut their losses and move on if a client goes under due to a Google penalty so choose carefully.
Oh and if you are thinking something along the lines of:
“Well we are a global, corporate enterprise so things like this won’t affect us” … or …
“I don’t think we’ll get caught” .. or ..
“I’m a risk taker, you need to take risks if you want to get anywhere”
Then think again!
I agree with the 3rd statement about risks by the way but there is risk and then there’s skydiving with a bed sheet!
Let me put this into context for you:
5 Companies That Used Black Hat SEO And Felt The Mighty Wrath Of Google
- German BMW site banned from index possibly for using doorway pages.
- JC Penny penalty for using what appeared to be paid links.
- Overstock penalty for alleged unnatural links.
- Forbes penalty for allegedly selling text links.
- Go Compare penalty for allegedly buying links.
Link to Google cat recognition: Google Cat Recognition