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Can any SEO company be black hat free from google view?
though they claim it to be whitest of white.
AjiNIMC




msg:3141738
 1:42 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am not a SEO expert. Thank God I left this field some months ago.

Can any SEO company be black hat free? For that matter can any SEO expert (so called) be black hat free?

All claim to wear only white hats (with white shirts, white trousers and white shoes), is it possible?

Thanks
AjiNIMC

 

jd01




msg:3141823
 4:44 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sure they can.
(Depending, of course, on your definition of black and white.)

Justin

texasville




msg:3141873
 5:44 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I see les and less of black hat tactics except on mfa sites. Mainstream commercial rarely wants to be associated with it and in the long run...proper seo pays off.

tedster




msg:3141875
 5:47 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

To struggle against the ambiguous "hats" terminolgy is probably a losing battle. Still, I'll offer an alternative -- here are two contrasting approaches to SEO, as I would describe them.

Low Risk:
Understand how Google measures relevance-trust-authority and clarify every possible relevance-trust-authority signal associated with a site and its urls.

High Risk:
Look for and exploit loopholes in the way Google measures relevance-trust-authority, causing Google to rank a url higher than the actual intention when Google put the algo together.

From this perspective, I would say that exclusively Low Risk SEO is definitely possible, it can be successful, and over the long term, it generates the most sustainable results. However, in the short term, High Risk SEO can generate a windfall far beyond Low Risk results.

Low Risk SEO is something like speaking very precisely and clearly, so you will be heard and understood.
High Risk SEO is more like speaking as loudly as you can, until you are forced to shut up for a while.

Beachboy




msg:3141893
 6:15 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think Tedster is right. Interestingly, he uses the term "risk," both high and low versions. Any sort of SEO involves some risk. I suspect Google would prefer that SEOs did not exist. After all, it is the job of the SEO to manipulate (by high- or low-risk methods) the Google SERPs. In the strict sense, I think Google regards the "good guys" as gray hats and the really bad guys as black hats. I suspect Google would not care to characterize anyone whose job it is to mess with their SERPs as a white hat.

AjiNIMC




msg:3141942
 7:59 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Low Risk SEO is something like speaking very precisely and clearly, so you will be heard and understood.
High Risk SEO is more like speaking as loudly as you can, until you are forced to shut up for a while.

tedster, very well said.

In my opinion no SEO is purely white hat.
Google guidelines says,
"Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank."

How many of SEOs follow this? The word don't is important (even getting 1 links for ranking is not according to guidlines, so a risky step). In my opinion (supporting tedster) there are low risk SEO tactics and high risk SEO tactics. Good companies are low risk and bad high risk. Get 1 link for ranking is less risk than getting 100 links for ranking. Getting 100 links for ranking will give you better ranking than getting 1 link, so more risk more return. So SEO companies helping you with ranking (thats their 90% of the job else let them call themself marketing consultants or web designers not SEM consulatant or SE friendly designs).

SEO companies building links can be termed as black hat (most of the times if not always), as SEO company's mission is to get good ranking in SEs. According to guidelines link building for ranking is black hat (When I say black hat I mean risky step).

Please bear my english.. thanks

AjiNIMC

jd01




msg:3141943
 8:05 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think if you looks at SEO from the perspective of:
How do I communicate what this page, site, information is about to a visitor as well as a search engine, I think SEO is actually encouraged.

I was a little tongue in cheek earlier when I posted, but at the same time I have read where people suggest it is 'black hat' to request links. I don't see how how a link request from an on-topic site can possibly be wrong, even more so if you have a site covering areas missed by others.

The web is based on links. I have quite a few links from sites where I took the time to read their resources (or whatever) pages and suggested a link to one of my sites which filled a gap in the information they provide for their visitors.

Is it 'black hat' to help a site fill it's resources? I don't even offer a link back. Just suggest a resource to fill a gap I see in theirs, like a visitor, or someone who likes to share information would. If the site or link I suggested gets added, it must be a good thing for the site adding the link and/or their visitors, or they would not add it right?

I suppose you could say I am munipulating if I do not suggest two or three 'independent' sites if I see two or three gaps, but the reality is for a good on-topic link to be added to any site should be considered a plus from anyone's point of view.

Am I a 'black hat' if I use 'strong' tags rather than 'b'? They both do the same thing from the visitors POV, but they are different to a search engine.

What if I run a search on a site which deals with a set of 'standard' results for queries, and would like visitors to bookmark the page on the site, rather than a search results page, so I bounce them to the correct page on the site? I could show them exactly the same thing on the search page, but:

From my POV I would like users to remember, link to and bookmark the real pages on the site, because it helps me in search engines. (Yep, I'm a little 'black hat' like that.)

AND

When I look at it from a visitor POV, as the visitor I would rather just find the right page than have a &variable=stuff&other-var=about%7egarbage on the end of a URL to link to, bookmark or remember. I would also not like being required to 're-search' when I want to find the information again.

Did I write the search this way for the visitors, or for the search engines? Or does it matter, because both get the right answer?

Personally, I try to think of SEO as communication...
I would actually be interested to hear what others define SEO as.

Justin

[edited by: jd01 at 8:11 am (utc) on Nov. 1, 2006]

reseller




msg:3141944
 8:10 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

tedster

High Risk SEO is more like speaking as loudly as you can, until you are forced to shut up for a while.

And thats what make life exciting. I know you don't agree with me on that though ;-)

AjiNIMC




msg:3141946
 8:10 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't see how how a link request from an on-topic site can possibly be wrong, even more so if you have a site covering areas missed by others.

SEO company requesting a link from a on-topic page of a different site. What will you term this, good or bad (high risk or low risk)?

jd01




msg:3141953
 8:17 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why does it matter who suggests the link if they are to and from related 'niche' websites?

What if a visitor suggested the same link a day before/after the SEO company did? Is it a bad link the first time and a good link the second?

What if the webmaster at the site being requested was looking for links to fill out a page, but couldn't find the right site because it didn't rank well enough yet?

A good link, is a good link, is a good link...

Justin

Oh, Sorry, Forgot, Low Risk.

ADDED: The way links are requested by an SEO company may be a different matter in and of itself though.

AjiNIMC




msg:3141958
 8:27 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why does it matter who suggests the link if they are to and from related 'niche' websites?

Yes it does as it is not one event but a collection. One customer suggesting a link will have no pattern. Customers will suggest or add it without any time frame, any IP, any network pattern.

SEO company will add it with a pattern, adding it from the same IP, adding it for many clients, may be adding it in the same time frame.

Also another point is when a customer adds a link you can expect traffic. But when a SEO company adds a link do you expect traffic or ranking? (Please do take a big sample, over 30 instances).

Thanks,
AjiNIMC

tedster




msg:3141962
 8:36 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

High Risk SEO is more like speaking as loudly as you can, until you are forced to shut up for a while.

And thats what make life exciting. I know you don't agree with me on that though ;-)

Sure I do -- it's very exciting. It can also be a social problem when done to an extreme. Social problems are also exciting. And it can also be insane if applied to a high PR branded website. And certainly, insanity can also be extremely exciting.

Just because BMW got back into Google fast doesn't mean that Google will easily forgive every high risk spammer tactic -- not even if the site is a household name. BMW's sins were quite minor. Using subdomain spam, hijacking your competitors, building shadow PR networks, etc will be very exciting for a branded website if you get nailed. The CEO will probably be the most excited person you've met in a long while ;)

Then in the area of "link baiting" -- there's the creation of a really useful asset for the marketplace, and there's intentional creation of controversy and disruption. Both approaches can get you some links, but I'd say the second is higher risk. If not direct risk from Google, then risk from a legal liability standpoint -- and from a "poking a stick at the lion" standpoint.

jd01




msg:3141963
 8:37 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

SEO company will add it with a pattern, adding it from the same IP, adding it for many clients, may be adding it in the same time frame.

Also another point is when a customer adds a link you can expect traffic. But when a SEO company adds a link do you expect traffic or ranking?

I think that comes down to what SEO company you hire and what you call SEO. Personally, that's not how I would do it or how I would allow someone I hired to do the job for me... (If you're looking for vanilla 'I want to wear the whitest hat at can...' SEO)

Justin

reseller




msg:3141973
 8:52 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

tedster

I guess many "dynamic" SEOs at present are pushing the boundaries of classical SEO methods to achieve advantages over their compititors. Worth taking risks, no?

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about those "SEOs" who follow primitive spamming methods ;-)

tedster




msg:3141987
 9:14 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I get you -- finding creative ways to generate a bazillion different pages from a single product database, right? Hey, it happens accidentally for some companies, so people notice that and push the envelope. Like I said above, it's exploiting a loophole. I'm not sure there's really a big risk at present, but Google does seem to be moving in directions that might limit the effectiveness a bit in the future. My own approach is to make sure those kinds of pages are possible, but mostly off-limits to googlebot. I prefer the rapier to buckshot.

Sometimes the big risk is greed -- you keep gearing up, assuming that your creative new SEO method will bring results indefinitely. And then one day comes along Update Xena and you are whinging on every forum under the sun that Google destroyed your life. I want the sites I work on to be in the game as long as the owners want to be in business.

AjiNIMC




msg:3142033
 9:58 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think that comes down to what SEO company you hire and what you call SEO.

I have never worked with a SEO company, what does a good SEO company do?

wanderingmind




msg:3142054
 10:28 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

A complete flash site is definitely whitehat :-)

To be whiter than white, avoid titles and meta descriptions too.

glengara




msg:3142063
 10:44 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

*Sometimes the big risk is greed*

I'd say most times the big risk is greed...

AjiNIMC




msg:3142085
 11:38 am on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

*Sometimes the big risk is greed*

very true.

Another question is why do you do SEO and how do you do SEO? Why part is simple :), to get good ranking (is it customers experience? I doubt). How part has one twist to it, can you do SEO without buidling links?

Some say that they do linking for traffic. Can Google track it (Is this link made for traffic or ranking)?

Is there a way Google can track this? I think I have an algo for it.

reseller




msg:3142106
 12:19 pm on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

tedster

Sometimes the big risk is greed -- you keep gearing up, assuming that your creative new SEO method will bring results indefinitely. And then one day comes along Update Xena and you are whinging on every forum under the sun that Google destroyed your life.

You mightbe right there. Its therefore of much importance, once you deploy SEO, to keep that SEO maintained.

However, we all have been witnessed to several sites, of fellow members, which have been hit by updates without deploying "creative new SEO methods".

Matt Probert




msg:3142146
 1:18 pm on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Any sort of SEO involves some risk.

How does it?

Carefully choosing an appropriate file name for a web page and terms for the web page <title> and <description> are not deceiptful practices, but they do enhance the SERP of that page for the desired keyword/phrase. Indeed Google even advises it.

Deceipt is risky. SEO does not need to involve deceipt.

Matt

davidof




msg:3142148
 1:22 pm on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

>Low Risk SEO is something like speaking very precisely and clearly, so you will be heard and understood.
>High Risk SEO is more like speaking as loudly as you can, until you are forced to shut up for a while.

following on from jd01's points there is also:

No Risk SEO: teaching someone to speak.

Maybe it is just a local thing but so many of the people I deal with have gone out to make their sites practically invisible to search engines. Y'know the thing, flash websites, improper, poor use of title, headings etc, very poor choice of content. I recently worked on a translation site where the word translation was mentioned twice on all 72 pages. At this level SEO is making the sites better for both human and automated readers.

AjiNIMC




msg:3142163
 1:42 pm on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Carefully choosing an appropriate file name for a web page and terms for the web page <title> and <description> are not deceiptful practices, but they do enhance the SERP of that page for the desired keyword/phrase. Indeed Google even advises it.

This is just one aspect of it. The greed then comes into play, one link (oh I am doing it for traffic you see), one more link (again for traffic), one <h1> (that people can see it bigger).

These are deceptive if you are choosing it for a SE ranking. Choose what suits your customer the best.

chronic




msg:3142180
 2:08 pm on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

There is no black or white, only degrees of clever.

texasville




msg:3142183
 2:13 pm on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>>>>greed then comes into play, one link (oh I am doing it for traffic you see), one more link (again for traffic), one <h1> (that people can see it bigger). <<<<<<

If you are smart, you are building links period. If google decides to capriciously dump you for no reason at all, then you better have backup traffic plans. This isn't black hat, it's traffic building.

I consider black hat hidden div's or links pages controlled by a css file (denied by robots.txt) laying in a root folder but not in the menu. I thought that one was real cute. There are a lot of bad tricks out there. Doing proper markup and choosing the right url name are not black hat. Let's get real. That's just advising simple coders on how to do their work.

Kufu




msg:3142317
 4:05 pm on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

There is no black or white, only degrees of clever.

Only someone using black hat techniques would say that.

Anyone can do black hat, but it takes time and effort to do things the way the engines want. There are entire sites dedicated to black hat methods. It's not brain surgery.

I do seo for a living, and I would never recommend anything even resembling gray hat to a client. If they want quick results that is going to take them to the top of the search engines and keep them there, I recommend PPC; otherwise, I work hard to make them realize that slow and steady is much better in the long run.

Using 'shady' techniques is just asking for trouble, and playing with people's livelihoods.

hannamyluv




msg:3142369
 4:46 pm on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I suspect Google would not care to characterize anyone whose job it is to mess with their SERPs as a white hat.

I don't think this is quite true. The fact is that Google made rules and it is part of an SEO's job to help companies understand those rules. Google, in a way, needs SEOs or they would possibly not have the best sites appearing at all.

There are an alarming number of people who have no concept that there are "rules" to how a search engine looks at sites. In their mind it is literally some psychic magic that causes SEs to know. (More frightening is that some of these people are leading major companies and even countries)

I offer low level SEO services to my clients which consist of nothing more than "Hey, you know, having every page have the same title tag might not be the best thing for getting search engine traffic." or similar such statements. They don't even know that.

They have good sites, but don't know the rules. SEs want them in the results. They need SEOs to help their clients to understand the rules so that companies can help SEs place them correctly.

I think the kind of link building that happens now probably would have happened anyway, if for some bizzare reasons, SEs didn't exist. They would have happened for very different reasons, but the end result would have been the same.

Long and short is that links are ads. Whether they were placed because you wanted traffic to your site or so that you rank higher in a SE, same result, links would have happened.

I know plenty of SEO firms that do nothing but build links and brush up on page factors. In an alternate no SEs reality, these firms would probably have been called Internet Marketing firms.

1script




msg:3142415
 5:09 pm on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

There is no black or white, only degrees of clever.

Only someone using black hat techniques would say that.

Well, not really.

I don't do SEO for living but I have to be aware of it because if I am not, the site I'm spending countless hours on developing is not going to see the light of the traffic so to speak. And I personally would not know what engines want simply because they are extremely secretive about what they want and only a little more open about what they don't want. So, for the amateur me it is still all shades of grey.

BigDave




msg:3142439
 5:26 pm on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

There is absolutely white hat SEO, though I suspect that we all venture into the lighter shades of gray fairly often.

Let's suppose that Ma & Pa Kettle hire you to "optimize" their website. Their "site" is all one page, no title, etc.

You split up the page, add good navigation including breadcrumbs and a sitemap, and you give the page good titles. Then just to be on the safe side you put in a 301 from ma-n-pa.com to www.ma-n-pa.com. Then you get them listed in a few appropriate directories.

That is all stuff that will improve the usability of their website, that also helps the search engine. There is nothing even remotely black or gray hat about that.

When google says "Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank", the key word is "schemes".

Scheme is basically defined as a systematic plan, so requesting a few appropriate links certainly would not fall in that category, though an all out linking campaign might.

But in American English "scheme" also holds the connotation of "to plan in deceitful way" (Webster's New World Dictionary).

Another key is "participate in" which implies conspiracy. Joining a link trading program is bad.

If they wanted you to avoid any form of requesting links at all, they would not have stated it like they did.

Paul Roberts UK




msg:3142455
 5:34 pm on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

fully agree to what hannamyluv said above...

i'd also like to add (regarding links)...

link exchanging seems to be commonplace amongst website owners / developers / seos etc. is it really that bad / black hat? surely it depends how you go about it?

good way > in my eyes as long as the websites are closely related in subject, looks professional, i have manually chosen / inspected the site, and they don't have more than 30 or so links on each page, then it's good. arranged suitable, a links directory like this surely must be adding depth of interest for your users.

bad way > using automated link exchanging software, creating hundreds of link pages, with many categories of completely unrelated links, with no regard for the quality of the site at the other end at all. if you're going to do this, you may as well try and make money out of running and creating a directory site, than ruining your current business.

of course, this good way should only be apparoached after on-page optimisation has been mastered and is exactly as you want.

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