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I proudly wear a very dark grey, some would even say .. black .. hat.
I protect my personal clients main sites with snow white SEO techniques, then proceed to build a network of black sites for them across multiple names/Hosting companies and class C IPs. If a black site gets banned, I forget about it and replace it with at least one, sometimes several more.
I have it all set up, planned out and am ready for action before the next new client even comes along.
I am NOT going to compete if I do NOT play this game. Whether I like it or not is beside the point, it's my job, I don't HAVE to like it I just have to do it.
Black sites will almost always rank before a white site. Think about it, if the opposite were true, black hat SEO wouldn't even exist IF The engines could enforce their own guidelines then all of the top rankings would be white sites. They can't enforce this and my clients must make money or they will not pay me.
Black Hat ! Woot .. !
.:: DC ::.Instead of providing what are thought to be relevant search results, heavily spam and black hat sites are rewarded with high rankings. Highly relevant sites, in direct terms of the search phrase, are pushed deep into the organic results. These SEOs argue that the search engine terms of service are merely a guideline that are not uniformly or fairly applied.
As a result of inadequate and spam filled SERPs, these SEOs believe the search engines are not fulfilling their stated goals and terms of service. Because of that failure on the part of the search algorithms, to provide relevant spam free results, there is no legal or moral obligation on the part of the SEO or the website owner to follow them either. In their opinion, if the search results reward bad sites, and by extension punish sites that follow the terms of service, the webmaster guidelines can be safely and honestly ignored.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) ethics are often discussed, but rarely defined in any meaningful ways. Website owners often hear about the so-called "white hat" and "black hat" SEO professionals. A few webmasters are even aware of some undefined "grey hat" SEO techniques, and their practitioners as well.
There are no hard and fast rules for what these regularly utilized terms mean, if anything, in the world of high search engine rankings. It's time to consider whether the categories retain any real meaning, or if ethics even has any role in the practice of SEO.
Before we begin our discussion of SEO ethics, I want to make my position very clear. I support 100% "white hat" SEO techniques and use them exclusively in my own practice. Absolutely no "black hat" or even "grey hat" methods are used on any of my clients' sites. They are all aware of that stance and support it completely as ethically is how they want to conduct their own business. Now that you know my biases and stance, we can begin our discussion of search engine optimization ethics and practices.
From the very beginning, we must understand that the issues involved are very complicated, and highly subjective for different people. What is good "ethical" SEO to one person, might be stooping to the deepest depths of evil to another. Defining "good", "bad" and "best" practices is at best, aiming at an undefined moving target. At worst, it is an impossibility due to the lack of complete knowledge of the search engines and their respective algorithms.
Any discussion of search engine ethics requires a definition of the various "hats" so everyone knows what the writer considers ethical, grey area, and entirely unethical in SEO practice. Lacking some sort of definitions, no matter how loosely described, provides a framework for further discussion and debate. Some SEO practitioners don't believe there are any ethical distinctions at all.
Any discussion of SEO ethics must include the goals of the various website owners. One consideration is the willingness to assume risk of search engine penalty or even outright website banning. Another is the relative competitiveness of the keywords and keyword phrases being contested. A third and important consideration is whether or not the website owner would rather compete without bending, let alone breaking, any ethical rules or guidelines at all.
The goal of any search engine optimization effort, for any website owner regardless of ethics, is to achieve high rankings. That coveted number one spot, on the first page of all major search engines, is an alluring bauble. Like any treasure, everyone with varying degrees of desire, wants to have it in their grasp.
Whether for increased traffic, sales and revenue, or purely for ego gratification, webmasters employ widely varying methods to reach those lofty heights. Some of those techniques might be frowned upon by others. As a result, an examination of ethics and whether or not they are important in search engine optimization, is very important.
Which hat do you wear?