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  1. Contributing User
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    White hat SEO is better than Black hat SEO.


    It makes me worry that so many of the members here seems to accept and apply shady SEO methods. It is also worrying that so many shady methods are becoming so common that they are recommended even by good SEO consultants. I do not intend to insult or attack any of the resident blackhats, but I feel that it is necessary to speak my mind.

    How does a white hat SEO work?

    A white hat SEO builds unique quality content, and encourages others to do the same. A typical white hat SEO does only have time to maintain a few web sites and are using from several hours to several days to prepare each page in his(or hers) web sites.

    A white hat SEO does not take part in any linking schemes intended to increase page rank or search engine rankings. A white hat SEO will link out to sites that increase the informational value of his (or hers) web site, without asking for any return favors. The white hat might ask for some directory links (e.g. DMOZ) or buy a directory link (e.g. Yahoo) , but this will only be to make more people aware of his (or hers web site), not to increase search engine rankings or page rank.

    When it comes to SEO a white hat will limit the efforts to on page and on site optimization, but only when this increases the informational value for the visitors.

    How does a gray hat SEO work?

    A gray hat builds unique quality content when there is time, but most of the time he (or she) will build sites using syndicated (or similar) content or build unique content that has a lower quality. A gray hat will typically maintain less than 30 web sites and builds 50-100 pages of content each day.

    A gray hat SEO will take part in linking schemes intended to increase page rank and search engine rankings. The gray hat SEO will trade links with other web sites, buy links with a high page rank value. Ask for a link from every directory that is crawled by a search engine spider. Join link building programs like Link Vault, Digital point coop, GotLinks etc.

    When it comes to SEO a gray hat will do everything possibly to increase their search engine rankings as long as he (or she) thinks that it is "safe" with the search engines.

    How does a black hat SEO work?

    A black hat builds lots of machine generated content (often scraped from other web sites or search results), and only rarely makes any content manually. A black hat SEO typically builds 150 web sites a month (since they all get banned shortly after they get indexed) each with 20.000-50.000 pages.

    A black hat SEO doesn't have time to get any links manually, so he (or she) will write terminal scripts that can add links in a large number of blogs, forums, wikis and other web sites every day. A typical black hat is building 50.000 or more links every day.

    When it comes to SEO a black hat will do everything possible to make more money. He (or she) doesn't really care that his (or hers) sites are getting banned since he (or she) is building new sites every single day.


    So why is White Hat SEO the way to go?

    A white hat SEO will after a few years have lots of high quality links (many of them from Universities and government web sites), Several medium sized web sites with some of the best (and unique) content on the web. Since the White hat sites are of such a high quality they will get a lot of natural traffic through the thousands of quality links into the sites.

    The white hat SEO will be respected and invited to give lectures, speak at conferences and write books. Also the white hat web sites will have many rock solid rankings, and will grow links naturally at a high speed.

    The gray hat SEO on the other hand might make some good money, but will not sign any book deals and will find it hard to compete with the white hat for the top rankings in the search engines. And the grayhat will need the search engines since their web sites is getting very little traffic though links and bookmarks.

    The gray hat will have to continue to struggle every day.


    The black hat SEO will in two years time be doing the same, trying to fool the search engines while his (or hers) web sites are getting banned. It will be much harder for the black hat since the search engines has become better to quickly ban black hat web sites.

    The black hat will also have to hide from angry bloggers that want to kill him (or her). The black hat will be very infamous, and viewed with a mix of admiration and disgust.

    Comments on this post

    • EGOL agrees : Great definitions. Great post. One of the top posts here of all time! Congratulations sorvoja.
    • agrees : this is a partial agreement and has a slight tint of disagreement. I like the way you put it but i hold a lot of reservations to what you have posted.
    • earlpearl agrees : Sorvoja: This is a great post. Very descriptive and well thought out. Really interesting descriptions.
    • jrothra agrees : Great post. Make me wonder if most of the SEOchat posters here are gray hat. ;)
    • ezhilraja agrees : Terrific post.
  2. #2
  3. SEO Chat Good Citizen (1000 - 1499 posts)

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    I think you are correct in that Black Hat techniques are becoming more widely known and used. However, I dont know that there are that many that fall into the grey category. I know that I personally SEO a site for my job using purely white hat methods (we dont engage in link exchanges and the only links we request are from directories etc). I also am engaged in building up a white hat site in my spare time in the hopes that eventually it will provide some income later on down the road. I also engage in black hat SEO during my spare time. It is something that is currently quite profitable and if you can get the hang of it there is quite a bit of money to be made in very short periods of time. So I guess you could classify me as grey even though my sites are definitely one or the other. I look at it more as a diverse investment portfolio. You want to milk as much as you can from what currently works (BH) but also need to have a long term viable backup plan (my WH sites). So while more and more people are engaging in BH, I dont think that means they are necessarily abandoning WH as well.

    Comments on this post

    • EGOL agrees : some valid points... thanks!
    I love SEO Chat.
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    EGOL
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    IMO blackhats are a vanishing species because the search engines are working very hard to block their sites from the SERPs. It will be harder and harder and harder to get those sites indexed and trafficed with each passing month.

    And, since most of those sites are made for adsense they are extremely vulnerable from google's logic. Right now google is approaching BH by banning sites but if they change the approach to banning adsense accounts then hundreds of sites per month and millions of pages per month will go down with a single decision.

    I am one of the oldest members on this forum and am well into the sixth decade of my life.... but my timeline is still long long long enough to build white hat sites - or start a new one.... And, at the same time my working life is still too long to consider becoming a BH - because the vice is closing on them rapidly.

    Think about this... If you are a young man or woman you can spend the next five years doing BH and get squeezed out by the algos (if you think you are too smart to get squeezed out then you might not be as smart as you think). At the end of those five years you will be fighting every day to churn out a BH living. But if you build good quality sites for those same five years you will probably be sitting on a PR8 powerhouse that will make money for you while you take a month off for vacation a few times per year.

    (I chuckled at one of sorvoja's posts when he said that a WH can take vacations - or even die and his sites will keep making money. That day will come for me sooner than most of you and I can slip away with a good feeling that I have contributed to the web and that work will bring good income to my children who can decide to contine my sites or sell them for a nice sum. confession... my avitar pic was taken almost twenty years ago. Isn't that what everyone on the web does? use a pic that is not as fat and has more hair? ha ha)

    WH is the investment that pays big down the road.

    Comments on this post

    • randfish agrees : Liar! You still look great in person - maybe 5 years older than the photo, but not 20... And you're spot on with the long term thinking.
    Last edited by EGOL; Jul 28th, 2005 at 08:15 PM.
    * "It's not the size of the dog in the fight that matters, it's the size of the fight in the dog." Mark Twain
    * "Free advice isn't worth much. Cheap advice is worth even less." EGOL
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  7. Free the SB
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    Sorvoja:

    Terrific post. Beautiful general descriptions of the different hats.

    I'm as old as EGOL. One thing about building everlasting web sites/businesses with a continuous income stream. It is building businesses.

    By example if you built a web site with a net income stream of $100,000/year and people would buy that for 10 times its annual value...you can sell the site for $1 million. That's a nice deal. The long term great money in the world is based on creating dramatic value in businesses (i.e. Bill Gates and Microsoft and everything from railroads to businesses that sell peat for charcoal.

    I used to work in buying and selling buildings on up to 14 times their income stream. Google is currently selling at something like 50 times its earnings. (I think)

    White hat with long term income streams can do that.

    I'm not going to tell people not to do BH because of the potential immediate pay off but they are different.

    I mostly build my one site for an existing business with a couple of sites in early development to grow into WH income streams.

    I only wish they hadn't cut the maximum rep to 4...I'd give you the max for this post.

    Dave
    255 chars s*ck
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    DAG
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    that sounds all well and good but how are you supposed to make short-term money while you're waiting for your purely white hat sites to pay off, if they even do?

    why not just do your few white hat sites, adding good unique content daily...but also do a little black hat on lots of other throwaway sites so you get short-term income as well?

    and i don't think google is going to close to the adsense accts of ppl who spam their search engine's...i think it would be too easy to put a competitor's adsense code on a spammy site to get their acct closed. and adsense is not the only cpc program out there anyway.
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  11. Free the SB
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    Every time someone hits an adsense account Google makes money. Adsense money makes up the vast vast vast majority of their income.

    Google probably knows how much is coming from spammy bh bs sites and how much is coming from substitive white hat sites. I removed our ads from content...but when we had them we had plenty of hits and were paying substantially for adwords sites from spammy cr@p sites. I didn't remove them from content sites because they were spammy...I just wanted better control for a period of time.

    I doubt google will close out ads on spammy sites. Unless it doesn't pay for google. After that they will probably really wipe out spam bh sites.

    Dave
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    EGOL
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    Maybe you are right.. plus if google can filter them they will still stink up the SERPs at yahoo and MSN.
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  15. <-- No I am not Kermit
    SEO Chat Good Citizen (1000 - 1499 posts)

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    I wonder what Geoff (the resident BH) might say about this post? It would be interesting to get his perspective (for the sake of balance).
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  17. SEO Chat Skiller (1500 - 1999 posts)

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    I have some disagreement of my own actually.

    First off, I have to say I'm not a fan of the strict definitions. In talking with super-white-hat folks, they believe that a lot of what I do - automatic requests to SEs, automated visits to other sites (to get data - usually anchor text and topic extraction, not content scraping - I hate that!), buying links that noone will probably ever click on but that boost SE rankings, etc. are grey or even black hat.

    I think of myself as white hat because I'm building sites for users, not search engines and it's always been my goal to have sites where 50%+ of the traffic is referral and type-in, not search engines (of course, Google's been helping out with that metric by sandboxing SEOmoz ). But, I still conduct business like a business - if it's not illegal and I don't find it unethical (for the life of me, I can't see how scraping SERPs from a Google datacenter is a moral issue) then I will do it to better my understanding of the engines and boost my sites' rankings.

    I also hate to say this, but I fear that black hat may always be around, and it may even always be profitable. In the long run, I don't know if it can beat the best of the white hats, but for some, their skills lie in black hat techniques and managing 5000 sites with shady tactics. Maybe they just aren't great at building quality content and marketing effectively, but they can rip it up with BH sites. If this is the case, I'm not sure if SEs will ever be able to block it completely.

    My real view is that WH or BH, things are going to get considerably more difficult for webmasters over the next 10 years - competition is going to get crazy - the last 5 years will look like peanuts; honestly. The real advantage is getting in now, while a person of moderate skill and moderate means can still turn the web into a great living.

    Comments on this post

    • alloemseo agrees
    CEO & Co-founder of SEOmoz
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    mick.sawyer
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    Whoa whoa,, hang on here.
    You all know that i am dark and i am honest about it.
    Geofrey dosent know what white is.
    Although sorjova says white is better he dosent say black is completely bad.
    Randfish is grey.
    Wit is ,, well, wit is wit and just tolerates everything.

    A few others here are slighly grey/black.

    Now when i was younger i had a gang of close friends and the conversation turned towards men who like men.
    All of my friends were totaly cool with it as most of the people worth knowing nowadays are.

    But we had one friend who got married when he was 18 and he kicked up a right fuss about how some things were wrong and it should be against the law and how disgusting it was.

    Now all the rest of the guys i were friends with were completely cool about it and there were a few men that liked men in the group that werent present that day.

    Anyway i meets up with this guy about 8 years after the conversation in the pub and low and behold,, who does he introduce me to but his partner.

    The one that disagreed with it the most was actually a man that liked men but didnt want others to find out about it.

    I am starting to think that Egol the one that disagrees with every black hat tehnique is actually a bolivian blog spammer wearing a white facade.
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  21. http://tinyurl.com/cz56g
    SEO Chat Mastermind (5000+ posts)

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    So the "Snow belt." where EGOL lives is actually some cold spot in Bolivia I never knew...
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    mick.sawyer
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    Snow belt,, thats there just to keep up the pretense.
    His picture is there to make him look more respectable but he has a sovreign ring on each finger and has tatoos under his shirt.
    Egol duth protest a little to much i am thinking.
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  25. Professional SEO
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    Like sorvoja, I too would like to believe that white hat is better than the black hat but as rand points out there are always loopholes and exceptions. Many here don't imply SEO as a branch of SW (Software) development, but basicly all SEOs are "testers" (or hackers and crackers) trying to manipulate the software/system Google and other SE engineers have managed to build. And like in any software, there are bugs and holes etc. fun stuff that makes us geeks go wild...

    The situation when black/gray hats will disappear from #1 spots will be the day when Microsoft (or any other software manufacturer) manages to pull out a perfect product without any faults ;)I know it sucks, but that's life in the 21st century.



    PS. Just to make another generalization/ definition of black-grey-white:
    white: Loves writing, but isn't interested about the technical side of things...
    grey: Good programmer. Struggles between passions to write content and code...
    black: A very good programmer. Tries to automate everything. Even content writing...So gman is not totally bad. He's just "lazy" like all good programmers ;)
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    EGOL
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    Originally Posted by mick.sawyer
    Egol duth protest a little to much i am thinking.
    If you read some of my historic posts from a couple of years ago you will see that I was into building linkage attacks and having seven page hotdog stands configured for maximum PR efficiency. I also had lots to say about big database generated sites because I built a couple of them. Then I found out that a good site can generate natural links without any work on my part and the more work I put into those sites the better they are collecting links without special work from me. That's where I am putting my energy today.

    You know what they say about converted people - they are the worst.

    About the tatoo.... I do have one on the bottom of my foot... because I have donated my body to science. When they pull my cadaver out on the feet-first rack at the medical research center they will see it. It says.... "I finally got into med school!"
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  29. Chennai
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    WhiteGreyBlack


    Thanks for the excellent post.
    But a mixture of White, Grey and to some extent Black is the best possible solution to place our clients who expect results as soon as they enter into an SEO contract.
    SEO is not SPAM Matt Cutts
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