What’s better? Black hat or white hat SEO?

One of the things we get asked from time to time is if we do Black Hat or White Hat SEO. In reality, any type of SEO is viewed upon by Google as Black Hat SEO as they view doing things to manipulate your rankings as against their standards. But, I guarantee you that anyone ranking on the first page for competitive keywords like “[Insert city name here] Real Estate”, “[Insert city name here] personal injury lawyer”, “home security” etc. are using SEO companies or have somebody working for them who is doing SEO.

Gray Hat SEO

The fact is that both Black Hat and White Hat SEO done right works if done correctly. Search engine optimization that works is a mixture of both. Maybe we should call it “Gray Hat SEO” or “50 Shades of Gray SEO”?

Here’s a fantastic (and long) post by Alex Becker over at Source-wave.com who explains all of it even further:

Why Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO Do Not Work

What peeves me…is how strongly opinionated 99% of SEO community is about black, grey, and white hat SEO when they don’t have a clear idea of what they are(or how to effectively do them)

People either go to Black Hat World, SEOmoz or Matt Cutt’s blog and make DRAMATIC opinions about what they don’t truly understand.

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White Hat SEO Myths

The White Hat SEO evangelists (and I’m not one of them) like tell us crap like this:

The key to high rankings is quality content.

Wrong. It’s been disproven time and time again. But, it’s important to keep rankings.

Manually created links are better than high quantity automated links.

Wrong. Manual link building succeeds in wasting time and doesn’t work if you are posting to sites with a PageRank of a big fat 0. It’s a great way to go out of business quickly.

What Matt Cutts and Google says is Gospel.

Wrong. Google is in business to make money and that’s primarily off of Adwords (pay-per-click). In reality, what he says is propaganda to confuse everyone and make it more difficult for SEOs.

Sites that are using White Hat techniques don’t get penalized.

Wrong. Google is not a group of people analyzing your site and your backlink profile. It’s a mathematical algorithm. If all of the things you are doing – or even somebody else – adds up to the wrong number, you’re penalized.

Black Hat SEO is unprofessional

Wrong. Huge multi-million dollar corporations are doing it. Yes, that doesn’t make it right. But, they seem to be pretty solid at the top of the rankings.

The bottom line is that you can’t get to the first page of search results for hugely competitive search terms without doing Gray Hat SEO. You need to take what works from White Hat and Black Hat and mix them together.

3112 replies
  1. itb-development
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    Unless its natural, all link building is Blackhat!

    I often read many posts where SEO experts frown upon Blackhat strategies but then openly promote link building. According to Google’s TOS, natural links are links others point back to your site without the need to pay for it, ask for it, comment for it or insert a link in your article to gain it.

    So, if all link building strategies are in effect manipulating search engine results, doesn’t it stand to reason that all link building is Blackhat and the majority of off-page SEO practiced by SEO firms is in effect, Blackhat?

    Isn’t having an online business all about rankings, traffic and conversions in the first place and search engine optimization should essentially be a technical, and possibly not a moral or ethical issue?

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