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Black Hat SEO, White Hat SEO: What’s The Deal?

Black Hat and White Hat SEO practices are a lot like the fictional little angel and little devil that sit on our shoulders dispensing advice. One of them offers solid advice that’s always the right thing to do, while the other one offers up short cuts with short term benefits.

We all know that we’re supposed to listen to the little angel most of the time, but are there are some advantages to going black hat?

Black Hat Benefits

Black hat SEO practices run the gamut form simple spamming and scraping to more elaborate methods buried in your source code, like invisible text and hidden pages. The idea behind these tricks is fooling Google algorithms into thinking there’s a lot more on a site than is really there.

Putting aside the ethical concerns about these techniques, they’re all usually very effective…for a little while. Black hat methods are cheap to implement and yield quick results. And if you’re not planning on being in business for an extended period, they should work out just fine for you.

Google Is Not Stupid

The problem with black hat SEO is that it’s almost always a short term solution that can cause big problems. Google didn’t get to be a huge, very successful company by getting outsmarted by a bunch of people looking for short cuts. And if you think that Google is too big to notice what one or two small affiliate sites are doing, guess again.

Web masters who try to skirt Google’s master plan are frequently punished with great fury by the search engine giant. Publishers risk losing their AdSense accounts, Gmail or even being overlooked completely in page rankings when engaging in black hat methods.

You may be able to fool Google for a little while, but you won’t be able to do it forever. Google updates its algorithms on an almost daily basis and those big Panda updates are becoming regular fixture on the SEO landscape.

Wearing A White Hat

If you’re more inclined to listening to the little SEO angel sitting on your shoulder, your benefits will be long term and very stable.

It’s no secret that Google is putting a heavy emphasis on quality and authority these days.  That means the days of keywords stuffing and link farming are long gone. High Google rankings these days are dependent on lots of quality content and links to authority sites. Implementing these new white hat friendly methods may take more effort from webmasters, but it’s the customers who really benefit.

Today’s web consumers are savvy customers. They’ve been using the Internet for well over fifteen years now and can spot a scam very quickly. Black hat operators may get a short term boost in traffic, but if these folks looked closely at the average time those visitors spent on their site they might not be so impressed.

Long Term Plays

If you’re interested in staying in business for an extended period of time, there’s no point in fooling around with black hat SEO. White hat practices play well with Google and your customers.  If you can keep those two entities happy, you’ll be in business for a long time.

Have you ever utilized black hat SEO? Tell us about it on our SEO Forum.