Why “White Hat” SEO Is Just Another Excuse For Not Delivering Results
Posted on August 31st, 2011. Written by Nick LeRoy.
Going back to the comments. I was told by several individuals that I was unethical and that they wouldn’t ever consider hiring me based off this one “white lie”. Since ignoring such statements is simply dumb I decided to address them head on. Many replies later I noticed the conversation wasn’t going anywhere. In fact it almost felt like an individual getting in trouble, being hauled down to the police station and being asked to talk. Anything you said at the point was only going to make matters worse. Regardless I continued to stick up for my tactics while acknowledging difference of opinions and “Acceptableness” (a fun word I decided to pull out during a response).
SEO Regulations, “White Hat” SEO , & Ethics
The first part of the conversation I didn’t blink about. It was about Ethics. Yup, I have them but they may not align perfectly with yours. Case closed. Where I was taken off guard was when Tom Parker (yay free link!) told me about “White Hat” SEO. “white hats are the good guys, black hats are the bad guys, and the gray hats are worthless individuals who straddle the fence and play both sides.” REALLY!?
This sure has been a hot debate in the past. Some people think it would be good for the industry and others don’t. The one thing in common between the two groups is neither really has a good idea on who or what would deem anything SEO related “Good” or “Bad”. Until then every SEO technique will only be judged by the SEOs who deem it one way or another. Which brings me to my next issue. “White Hat” SEO.
“White Hat” SEO & Ethics
This issue has been going on even longer then SEO regulations. What is “White Hat” and what is “Black Hat”? Let’s for a moment assume “White Hat” SEO is built around 100% positive & ethical behavior. No lies, no deception, and SEO done by the rules. A questions that I asked in response to “White Hat” SEO: “would a ‘White Hat’ SEO consider offering search engine optimization (or any service for the fact) for publicly questionable or “unethical “businesses? Let’s be more specific. Porn, Poker, Pills. Many people would argue that these industries just in themselves are unethical.” Let’s forget about SEO tactics & link building for a moment and focus on the question. By accepting a project in one of the many publicly questionable niches does that automatically make you a “Black Hat” SEO?
More importantly I want to touch base on SEO being done by “the rules” aka what im assuming is the “White Hat” way. Last time I checked there were no guidelines to “Proper SEO”, nothing sanctioned by a regulated business or SEO commission. Just because Rand Fishkin white boards one topic or Matt Cutts talks about certain SEO-ish stuff through his videos im to take it as “the rules”. I DON’T THINK SO. I respect both individuals immensely but I refuse to take anybodies SEO word as a fact.
The absolute best part of SEO is the competition in every niche. The fact that YOU may outperform me because you create better content, test theories, go out on a limb and even push the ethical boundaries is great. I use to vehemently argue that I was “white hat” SEO. As if that actually meant something these days. I think most people use “White Hat” as an excuse to NOT think outside the box, to NOT push the envelope and last but not least justify why they can’t outrank their competition. If that’s true, im the exact opposite of “white hat”. Whether that be “Black Hat”, “Grey Hat”, or even “Purple Hat”. I’ll let others determine that for themselves. I’ll continue to let my results speak on my behalf.
How Much Should Ethics Be Taken Into Account With SEO?
This is really what I want to talk about. Forget “White Hat” or “Black Hat” and let’s just get down to business. How much should ethics play a role when you implement SEO? Is it any different for link building? Finally, is it possible to be 100% ethical with your clients while twisting the “rules” to obtain rankings and subsequent conversions?
Please share your thoughts in the comments.