What Is Black Hat SEO

This is my first topic in my blogging with out the Internet experiment and to get started I am going to rely on my copy of Website Magazine. It just happened to show up yesterday on my way out of the house for vacation and a cover story called SEO Building Blocks caught my attention. Happily I shoved it in my PC bag for reading while relaxing in the mountains. Yes SEO’s are weird people, I am aware of this.

Anyway I went through the article and it was more of the same old tired stuff. Bla, bla meta tags with nothing about how title and description effect CLICK THROUGH RATES when done properly (I can’t be the only one that knows this!). Yadda, yadda, CSS and basically any table use hurts SEO (Then why does my old table based Broadband Phone Site kick so much ass in one of the most competitive niches in the world?)

Ok I am being to hard on the author, sure I know all this stuff and I can poke holes in it and so can many good SEO’s, however these articles are not really for us they are for the typical corporate reader trying to learn about SEO and Internet Marketing in general.

Black Hat SEO

Why must every article on SEO state that Black Hat is evil and to stay away from it wholesale and then go on about techniques that real Black Hats never bother to use?

It just drives me nuts! Here we go again, key word stuffing, autobot blog spam and doorway pages! Ok I am black as they come in some of the stuff I do, I don’t do any of these things, why, they are pointless.

The author even seems to indicate that if I build a whole network of sites rather then just one and leverage them into common niches that, that is black hat. My friends that is not black hat, that is smart marketing. It is also the business model of companies like Yahoo, Google and MSN! It make’s me think of Stoey Griffith from the T.V. show family guy when he says, “do you even hear yourself talk”.

What we in the real black hat world really do is test the engines, push the envelope and find out what works. We stay ahead of the curve, we know what gets you toasted and we don’t do it or if we do we do it so no one can tell we were the ones that did it.

What all the lily white hat people need to understand is two main things.

First – if you are not a black hat SEO, you don’t know anything about it. You can’t know from the outside you see what you want to see. You see what you can understand and you can’t really understand how the true black hat world works from the outside. So the best thing you can do if you don’t want to go into this world is stay silent on it. Not because I say so but simply due to the wisdom of an old saying, “It is better to be silent and thought a fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt”.

Second – the main people that condemn or advise against black hat techniques are those I mention above that don’t know anything about it. What they really hate about black hat is that the black hat community is constantly kicking their butts in the SERPs! They get annoyed that we can take rankings at will for so many terms. They point out that we get caught sometimes but leave out how getting caught is part of the process.

You see part of black hat is seeing where the line is so you can walk the edge of it. My job with a client is to do everything that works to make them a success, not 50, 60 or 70% of the way but 100% of the way. Now I am not about to risk my client’s domain or brand with out first pushing my own intellectual property to the edge so I can define it.

I will also do things to protect a client and pass traffic to them with out getting them caught.

So where does this black hat term come from anyway?

I guess reality is it goes back to the old stereotype about the good guy wearing the white hat and the bad guy wearing the black hat in western lore. Yet the reality is the first technology “black hats” were computer hackers that pushed programs and security exploits to the edge. Most were actually good guys, working with companies to make their programs better, more stable and more secure.

They were not shunned by main stream programmers, quite the opposite they were and are considered the elite. Somehow the term but not the respect got carried into the SEO realm and “black hat” became a slang term a bunch of amature spamming techniques.

So I am off my soap box now I just wanted to really explain how far off the mark these people that constantly warn against black hat are in more ways then one.

So what is your opinion of black hat and what do you base it on? I don’t fish for comments in my blog often but this is one that really could lead to great discussion.