I have been in this industry for over 8 years now, and I have witnessed a lot of things come and go. I live the web and SEO every single day. From clumsy HTML sites to clean WordPress designs, from old keyword-stuffed SEO to modern reader-centric SEO – I’ve seen all of those, and I proudly say I’ve been part of almost everything related to the web and search in these past 8 years.
For you, a period close to a decade might sound huge, but I never feel like that because I’m still coming across a lot of new things every day like I was doing in those initial months. The crazy nature of how search works amazes me every time I look closely at it and make future game plans.
All search engine optimizers go by the belief that search engines are getting stronger and stricter, and sites engaging in Black hat SEO techniques are getting flagged.
That’s been taught to every one of us, but what does this Black Hat SEO exactly mean? Does it mean the SEO tactics that are implemented to gain short-term rankings are purposely kept hidden from search engine bots? If yes, then its counterpart White Hat SEO must mean that the techniques are all clean and transparent to search engines?
But I’ve never seen any SEO strategy that goes entirely by the search engines’ guidelines. And, I don’t think any website does 100% transparent stuff and shows everything it implements to the search engines.
I believe these Black Hat and White Hat SEO are nothing but some exaggerated or overstated terms mostly used by marketers. There is no broad significance of either of those that would trouble the SEOs.
In this post, I’m going to prove exactly that.
Let’s first know what Google says about White Hat or Black Hat SEO.
Google says SEO means awesome content on the pages and making those pages easy to crawl. Anything other than that will be treated as Black Hat.
Quite interesting, right?
But, do you understand anything from Google’s viewpoint? Do you see Google tell anything about the so-called White Hat SEO?
To make it more interesting let me tell you that Black Hat and White Hat SEO have in fact one major similarity. Both try to exploit the loopholes in the search guidelines and use them to their advantage and gain rankings. That’s what both Black Hat and White Hat techniques do. White Hat techniques are no great or 100% ethical because White Hat was originally focusing a lot on buying links but they stopped that practice after Google decided to start penalizing link selling and buying tactic.
So, when both Black Hat and White Hat do technically the same, why do we differentiate between them? Why do we even care about them or give them a little worth when they don’t deserve it?
5 Myths about Black Hat SEO You Must Know
1. Black Hat SEO Tactics are Unethical
This is a serious misconception about Black Hat or any SEO technique. The reality is SEO techniques are not based on ethics, they are based on whether they are going to achieve the result or not. Following Google’s guidelines doesn’t make someone ethical and not following those guidelines doesn’t make unethical.
If Black Hats are painted as unethical just because they use strategies that are beyond search engine guidelines, White Hats should also be regarded as unethical.
So, instead of naming the SEO techniques as ethical or unethical we should name them as Good or Bad. That’s understandable and makes more sense.
2. Black Hat Tactics Gain Short-term Results
Most black hatters know that their efforts are going to get them short-term results, and they openly admit this. Making short-term profits when the opportunity is available is not a bad idea at all. If you don’t do that, someone else will. There is no point of showing good, putting little efforts and waiting for the result to come in this ever-changing digital age where changes are occurring way too fast.
If a White Hat technique is built and implemented with the purpose of getting only long-term results, then who knows there might be NO RESULTS at all by the time the same technique dies.
3. Search Engines Hit Black Hats Badly
Search engines are changing and evolving. They can hit anything or anyone that doesn’t follow their guidelines, so not only Black Hats, but also most White Hats can get penalized if they are against those guidelines.
In this situation, Black Hats have an edge over White Hats. They make enough profits until search engines actually know this and punish them. On the other hand, White Hats try to fool search engines by buttering up and acting smart, but that doesn’t make them invincible. Search engines can hit them anytime.
4. Black Hats are Useless
This is not true. All Black Hat SEO techniques are not useless. In fact, majority of the Black Hat tactics work because there has been a well thought out game plan upfront that acts as a support system. Google or any search engine only decides what is good or constructive SEO and what is aggressive SEO. Oftentimes, a Black Hat tactic does the job it’s supposed to do before it’s caught.
Most White Hats claim they use all good SEO techniques, but they don’t. They too spam. A proper scan finds that they have a black hat under their white hat. Their work and activities prove this.
5. Black Hat SEOs Have NO Knowledge of SEO
This is a big myth because most Black Hat SEOs have a thorough knowledge of SEO. They know exactly how SEO works and they make strategies accordingly.
They use some Black Hat techniques to earn more in less time, and also use White Hat techniques to generate a good amount of value for a long-term business. Many reputable SEO people have admitted that they have used the Black Hat SEO model knowingly for a short-term gain. Do you think they have no knowledge of SEO?
So, here’s my final word for you.
- Don’t think of Black Hat or White Hat, or Any Hat. These are only marketing gimmicks.
- Stay within what the search engine giant Google says. Create awesome content only for users, give plenty of reasons to them to love your website and make your pages easy for crawling. That’s all.
- Tell everything that you do to your clients, never hide anything. Tell why you’re doing it, so they know what to expect. Hiding anything from them will make you unethical, violating search engine guidelines won’t.
- Do good for your users, readers, clients and customers. There’s no need to be extra good to search engines.
- SEO is a long-term model. Help your clients understand that.
I don’t support or use any Black Hat tactics, and I don’t encourage any of my support staff to practice that. It’s not because we treat Black Hats as unethical or unlawful; it’s because we believe Black Hat techniques don’t bring in a long-term success for our clients.