White hat techniques often don’t work IRL. Write great content, and it doesn’t rank in Google. This leads people to use black hat techniques instead of reporting to google / co-ordinating with them to improve the quality of search results, which would benefit everyone who produce high-quality content.
The main motivation behind taking the help of black hat SEO is others doing the same. But, black hat SEO isn’t used any more just to rank crappy pages at the first of SERPs – it’s also used to rank high quality content higher than crappier content which is backed by black hat as well.
It’s like asking, who started the fire? As the fire rises, and we all have to escape, we have to leave some behind to escape earlier than the rest.
Now, when you’re choosing the white hat route, you’re having to make sacrifices and rely on search engines themselves:
- You know you have great content on your site. But, every single day it stays on the fourth SERP page, you’re losing visitors, reputation, and potentially major exposure.
- You’ll always have to rely on the search engines. Have you ever thought, before Google introduced Panda back in 2011, what happened to the high-quality sites? They were outperformed by much worse results for ages and hence why they suffered from losses since ages.
- The time period is often the potentially determining factor behind what way someone chooses. Black hat methods, generally, take significantly less time to show their benefits than their white hat counterparts.
And then there are ethically right black hat practitioners. They basically believe that algorithms aren’t always the best things to judge content, and hence they manipulate them believing that they’re helping great content rank better.
Here’s why I kind of agree with them about algorithms often sucking at separating good content from the bad:
- No matter how many times someone from Google or Bing announces that their respective algorithms got even smarter or more sophisticated, they still suck at finding the original source of a piece of content.
Even with authorship in town, Google is still pretty ineffective in finding the original publisher of an article. Though they atleast correct their mistakes these days within a couple of weeks, that’s what’s better now than earlier.
A recent example: I published a guide on White Hat Tiered Link Building almost a week ago. Google was ranking this TrafficPlanet thread for related searches for around 4 days before it included my original article within the search results.
- Google, Bing and other search engines are largely ineffective in fighting high-quality black hat work. That’s one of the major reasons why we’re seeing manual involvement from the Google Webspam team in fighting black hat techniques in some of the most competitive niches.
- Because Google went too much helping bigger brands, users often find shitty and irrelevant results from the sites of those bigger brands.
- Some claim that Google’s search results are directly influenced by money. Google earns money from AdWords ads, not from organic results. If SEO becomes too easy, even if it involves producing great content, it’d be too easy to rank and get traffic, which would make less people interested in AdWords. However, Google engineers have claimed in the past that money has no direct influence on their organic search results.
- They are algorithms! I’m not sure how they can detect complex grammatical errors and other poor signals of quality that would take a human to do. Manual intervention isn’t a possibility, and to keep the search results as unbiased as possible, algorithms are used.
But seriously, I’ve heard from people who claim to be experts in the SEO game, things like Google now doesn’t value links contained in the lower positions of a page as much as the ones contained above-the-fold or in higher positions. Marketers, please explain how elements are displayed on a browser. I can place a link in the bottom of a HTML document and still place it on the top of the browser window using CSS. *sigh*
In white hat SEO:
Marketing > Technology
In black hat SEO:
Technology > Marketing
So, technical people, geeks, freaks, would be naturally inclined towards black hat and the opposite, i.e., non-technical, marketing-minded people towards white hat SEO.
If you talk about me, as a 15 years old with a decent level of technical competence, it’d be a lot easier for me to place a black hat on my head than a white one. But, I don’t take decisions based on what’s easier. I do based on my ultimate goal and what options I have in front of me.
I’ve come to a conclusion that in this highly competitive industry, knowing only half the story isn’t a very good idea, even if you don’t directly leverage the other one.
Highly-successful search engine marketers who struggle with their technical SEO are as useless as black hat geeks who struggle with their content and promotional strategies.