Black Hat SEO Plus White Hat SEO = 50 Shades of Gray
What Color Hat Are You Wearing Today?
So, let’s start with why I am writing this post in the first place. Well, I was out searching Google for a product and I came across a forum, a black hat forum to be exact. I decided to go in and see what was happening in there and found it to be a bit of a disturbing place. The discussions and products being discussed were shady ways to promote affiliate links.
Now, what I want to make clear is that I am not here to toot my own horn or jump on the holier than thou train. My purpose in writing this is to hopefully help people stay clear of tactics that are not ethical and will hurt your site, brand, reputation etc.
I bought one of these shady products solely for the purpose of reviewing it and decided to see just how common this Black hat SEO stuff really is. Well, I am sad to say that it is very common and what really irks me is all the bashing of White hat SEO techniques. I mean, come on, I realize that some of the black hat of today was the white hat of yesterday, but at the end of the day, it is all about not bucking the system or finding some loophole to get away with things just so you can make money.
I see a lot of comments within the forums of people who are really struggling and need to make extra money fast so these schemes are appealing, but I must warn you that while you may gain some early pay outs, you may very well suffer irrevocable consequences later.
Google is clearly trying hard to find and punish those who continue to use these black hat tactics. Obviously it will take time but I am confident that with each update they release, another batch of losers will go down. The purpose of the internet search is for visitors to find quality content in an effort to provide a solution to what they need; it is all about the user experience. Making money is simply a by product of that and seems to have taken over the heart and mind of some people.
Now, with all that being said, let’s dig into the differences between White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO for those of you who are truly new to this business and have no idea what I am talking about. This post is for you.
White HAT SEO
What is it? White Hat SEO is basically the right way to do things. Operating within the Guidelines of Google and really focusing on the visitor is what will sustain you long term. This will be done by creating consistent, quality content, keyword research and using keywords naturally in your writings, as well as natural backlinking methods such as Social Media. White Hat SEO takes time and perseverance as you build out your business. You will use SEO to rank in the search engines and as an affiliate you will be earning commissions as you gain trust and become more of an authority on line.
This is the right way to do things as well as the safest. Not only that, you should feel very good about yourself for working hard. Your efforts will not be in vain.
Examples of White Hat SEO
- Site Optimization
- Quality Content
- Keyword Research and using in text, tags and headings while writing naturally for the benefit of the visitor
- Internal Links
- External Links to Authority Sites
- Natural backlinking such as social media
Black Hat SEO
For all of you risk takers out there, all I can say is that the high of beating Google at their own game is a short lived gain with long term consequences. And, the more that Google perfects their system for finding these tactics, the harder and harder you will have to work to continue to come up with ways around them. It just seems a bit exhausting, but maybe it is all bout the thrill of the chase that excites some of you 😊.
Examples of Black Hat SEO
- Illegal in some cases, such as hacking
- Content Stealing
- Paid Backlink services (bad idea)
- Keyword stuffing
- Negative SEO
When google finds you operating in this manner, you will be heavily penalized and in some cases your site will be banned from Google altogether. Depending on how long it took you to build it up, that could really, really suck!
While the rankings when using Black Hat SEO may look promising early on, they will more than likely be short lived. And, so that is why you see all these so-called affiliate marketers using one squeeze page with copied content or a video to get people to buy via their affiliate link. They target pre launch products with good pay outs and then once the hype dies down, they move on to the next one.
So, even if Google punishes them for using shady tactics that go against their latest guidelines, it is really not a big deal from a business standpoint because that one campaign did what it was intended to do. It is not about building a website, creating quality content, obtaining site/visitor trust, etc. It is all about making a fast buck and unfortunately that does appeal to a lot of people who have really lost sight of their moral compass.
In Comes the Gray
Gray Hat SEO is for those who are walking right down the middle and have not committed to either side. I believe this is where a lot of us are probably hanging out. A little bit of black, a little bit of white, no harm in that right? In all honesty I am not sure any one person can truly define what the “gray” place really looks like.
Google guidelines are not the law, but Google search is theirs and so their rules apply. Are you going to break the law if you pay for spammy backlinks? No, you are not. But, you are breaking the rules none the less and will suffer some sort of consequence at some point.
I see comments on other sites every day that say something like this: “Well, for the most part, I am white hat, but from time to time, I need to do what I need to do in order to succeed”.
Or, this type of comment that is a bit more rebellious: “Google is the enemy and we must defeat them at their own game!” Wow, these people are just bitter 😕.
It is easy to fall into the trap, but we really need to refrain from crossing the line and keep on keeping on with building our business the right way.
Now, in all fairness, gray hat may also simply be that place of interpreting Google’s guidelines in a different way than they were intended. Let’s face it, depending on who you ask about most things, the answers will vary significantly. So, in comes grey hat simply because we do not know what Google means. But, we will always find out with their releases and then we will be like, “Oh, now I get it” 😐. Better to air on the side of caution in this case. If what you are doing smells bad, it probably is.
Examples of Gray Hat SEO:
- Content Spinning
- Link Exchange, link sharing, link schemes
- Social Media Automation in the way of followers
- Using Old Domains for creating backlinks (Authoritative)
To Sum It Up
No matter what hat you are wearing right now, please consider why you went into this business in the first place. Maybe your sole purpose was to make money working from home. Maybe it was to make a difference in people’s lives using the internet. Maybe it was a bit of both. Regardless of where you fall, I have no doubt that most of you have put a lot of time into your business, your website, etc. and do not want to lose it or be severely set back because you decided to follow a path that appeared easier and possibly more profitable.
I will leave you with this final thought. Google is no doubt the major search engine out there today (although Bing is definitely making more and more of a presence). As long as they are in control, their rules will apply and you should not be fooled into thinking you or anyone else will have them all figured out. It simply will not happen as Google will continue to update their algorithm in an effort to dismantle those who refuse to play nice.
Please share your comments below. I would love to hear from those of you who are new to all this and what your thoughts are or if you have any questions around this topic, do not hesitate to ask.
Have a great day!