SEO is an ever-changing frontier. As Google (and other search engines) constantly updates its algorithms to give web browsers the best SERPs possible, online marketers have to adjust equally quickly to ensure optimization. Being an SEO involves a good part of guesswork. What does Google value? Will I be penalized for the same old methods I’ve always done? One thing is becoming increasingly clear—building relationships rather than links is proving to be more valuable.
Black Hat SEO
Black hat SEO has long been a part of what online marketers do. It has nothing to do with interaction between actual people; instead, it involves the placement of links just about any place that will accept them. Placing comments on blog posts with a link to your site may still be a good way to increase your ranking for a specific keyword, but it’s also a good way to give yourself a spammy name. And how long before Google finds a way to penalize for that?
White Hat SEO
There are SEOs who avoid black hat altogether, although the majority take part and deny it. There are more profitable, long-term solutions to building a brand and improving your site’s rank. Guest posting on another blog is a great way to get a link. Many times, though, we get our link and happily move on to the next task. So how can we take advantage of these opportunities in a way that will benefit us in the long run?
The role of the SEO is changing and is likely not going to be the same again. A search engine optimization specialists job description used to include link building, keyword research and on page optimization. Today’s “SEOs” do not have it that simple.
I put the term SEO in quotations because I believe that the role has evolved into a more all-encompassing job title such Organic Marketing Specialist or Director of Search or Internet Marketing & Organic Search Manager. Because social media and search engine optimization are becoming more and more intertwined, to be proficient in SEO one must also have a strong grasp on all other customer facing behaviors such as social media and other marketing activities.
As we touched on in previous posts, search engines are putting more of a social emphasis on search results and this is subsequently affecting the role of search professionals. The role of SEO is disappearing and those involved with SEO are becoming more like Public Relations Coordinators then strictly organic search gurus.
White hat vs. black hat search engine optimization seems like some sort of battle straight out of an intergalactic science
fiction novel. A fight to death struggle between the forces of good and evil may come to mind. Unfortunately, it is not so grandiose. What white hat and black hat search engine optimization basically boils down to is ‘ethical’ marketing approaches and ‘non-ethical’ marketing approaches.
I use the term ‘ethical’ loosely. If someone says that they use black hat tactics please do not infer that they are clubbing baby seals and making shoes out of their pelts. Unethical simply refers to methods that are a little off the beaten path and most of the time are viewed as SPAM. While black hat may sometimes yield great results initially, inevitably they are found and indexed as SPAM by the search engines.
White Hat – For visualization purposes we will use Obi-Wan Kenobi as our depiction of white hat SEO. He uses natural sources to create links. He manually builds outbound links, inbound links and relationships for the betterment of his website. He trustfully builds unique content to bring to their followers. Relentlessly working to build a library of pages and resources that with be valued and shared by their readers.
He comments on related blogs and answer questions on relevant forums to help spread their knowledge in hope that the reader will reward him with page views and eventually shares and links. He optimizes his websites with clean, readable titles and description so that they will be found by potential customers that are pertinent to their niche.
White hat SEO’s methodical approach sacrifices quick page views and search engine rankings for a much more sustained, continuous growth over time. While this may be perceived as weakness by the dark side, the white hat internet marketing specialist has a vision of long term success that will be of greater value to his business.
Black Hat – Like Darth Vader, black hats also had good intensions. Hoping to grow their website’s traffic and customer base by any means necessary, they slipped into a much more sinister approach. He uses robots to blast websites with links by the tens of thousands. By doing this he confuses readers and negatively effects they content on
the linking page. He does not write his own content but, instead, steals content from others sites, spins it and claims it as his own.
The back hat uses hidden text and cloaking programs to display different content to the search engine than what the users are seeing. He stuffs keyword and titles to that again confuse readers in hope to show up higher in the search rankings.
Black hat SEO’s hurried and unethical approach can lead to quick results but almost always leads to bans and suspensions by the search police (Google). By preying on website owners whose minds are set on instant results, they can almost always be paid and disconnected from the project long before your website is stuck in search purgatory due to their tactics.