Black Hat Temptations

How do you get good results with a website? You create a steady flow of good content, communicate well with search engines, make sure you offer a high level of usability for your visitors, and of course maintain an excellent product and top quality customer service. Add strategic use of fastidious linkbuilding and effective social media to help drive traffic. Over time, your website will provide excellent results for you.

Not exciting, is it? Not nearly as exciting as special secret moves that will get you #1 rankings in ten days or your money back!

We don’t talk as much about black hats and white hats and gray hats as we used to in SEO because hardly anyone in our field still believes that there is any value in tricks that try to game the system. Lots of people outside of our field still believe it, though, and you might have heard stories about amazing fast results that tempt you to consider taking a more daring approach to SEO.

“Just get me to #1 on Google,” you think, “and then I can provide a great experience and all that jazz.”

So you prepare long lists of keywords or even long articles which will live on your homepage but not actually be visible there. Or you buy up dozens of URLs that people might type in as a guess and redirect them all to your homepage. Or — fill in the blank. Good SEO practices don’t change at the speed of light, but bad ones certainly do.

The result? You look shady to search engines. Worse yet, you may look shady to your human customers as well.  You might as well teach your sales staff to greet customers with “Pssst! Wanna see the great deals we keep in back?”

The thing about black hat SEO is that it was never intended for business websites. Black hats want to get in, get some money, and get out fast. They make a small amount of money at a website, get caught, and take it down. Since they’re using high-volume, low effort, often automatic methods to set the websites up, they can make hundreds or thousands of websites with a small profit at each and feel successful. Black hat SEO techniques are therefore intended to serve the users’ nefarious purposes for a very short time.

They are and have always been completely inappropriate for the business owner who wants to develop a lasting relationship with customers.

SEO is a long-term strategy. Anyone who promises you fast results with secret tricks Google doesn’t want you to know about is probably using Black Hat SEO in one of the most profitable ways: to scam honest business owners by promising them fast results.


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