White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO

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If you identify as a white hat SEO or black hat SEO, you’re choosing to operate at a reduced level of intelligence.

Why?

Watch this video and I’ll explain:

Remember:

Labeling yourself as a “white hat” or “black hat” SEO only serves to stop you from developing a complete working knowledge of SEO.

So the next time you see anyone label themselves as a white hat SEO or black hat SEO…

…make sure you tell them they’re an idiot and send this video to them to prove it. Learn more with our “What Is Black Hat SEO” post.

What Are Your Thoughts?

40 Responses

  1. There’s a big difference in creating and promoting content that people naturally want to link to, content that deserves links, to artificially getting links through guest posting, buying links or PBNs, for example. It’s like a scientific publication getting citations from other scientists. Quality research, like quality content, will naturally get ‘votes.’ Yes, it’s good to talk about this, but I think the post in itself is ironically too black and white – what comes across strongly is that the intention is rather to get a reaction, to be controversial to get mileage from people naturally sharing and linking to this content, funny that 😉

    1. Yes but creating content that people want to link to is part of any holistic link building strategy because that is what the algorithm wants and usually what your expense budget wants as well.If you create crappy content, you have to spend more time money and effort on link building than you do if you create market leading content – but even that still requires outreach and link building to get the ball rolling.

  2. Well Done Matthew! I understand the want for something to be done right and proper, however the only way to do that is build content and naturally grow which would take years without SEO, SEO in itself is manipulating and optimizing for googles algorithms, so my perspective is there is no white hat which would make black hat irrelevant. be smart, look long term and never stop creating great content.

  3. I read your emails and blogposts regularly because you constantly put out awesome content. I took seo for granted initially and relied solely on social media traffic, it works and it works well but eventually, your social media account can be shut down at any moment and along goes with it all the traffic. I started reading your blog about 5 years ago and i have to say that you are one of the most honest blogger that I have come accross and always look forward to your content.Thanks for another great share!

  4. Hi MattI like your stuff but please sort out your typo which really sticks out – it should be ‘human morals’ and not “human morale’s”.Good luck!J

  5. Basically, it really does not make much difference what the client is looking for, as rule, most of the SEO agencies I have had dealings with, take your money, put something up and then continue to take your money month after month while doing nothing, after the initial burst of activity.

    1. Hmm… you haven’t found any good agency then, because this is not how we work! SEO is a constant process that requires Hard Work, Time, and Investissement to be successful!

  6. Absolutely this. You do what’s best for you and your clients today because who knows what tomorrow brings, we can only ride the waves.

  7. Great post think a few have missed the context of it but hey.I always say to my clients as I often get asked by people who know absolutely nothing about SEO at all if I do, “White Hat” or “Black Hat” I’ve always said that I’m Grey Hat lol. Because the truth is you need both. I like to do the nicely white hat side of getting things looking good and all right then unleash the black hat side to push it up.

    1. And I think this is exactly what anyone should do! Mix both strategies to get better results!

  8. Thank You for information, It is short but very informative video.I too believe SEO is whole a black hat game, If we are doing an SEO (Creating Links) by self / software that strictly means it is black hat. White hat no where exits unless it is a big brand like amazon or google.So i believe we should keep practicing SEO and dont bother about these stupid labels.But make sure you shouldn’t unfollow googles guidelines, As far as you are in the guidelines you are rocking,

    1. Exactly, we should focus on what matters and not on “stupid labels” that stop people from getting great results!

  9. 100% agree – There is no “blackhat or whitehat”.So many idiots – The Google propaganda machine is working and many “professional SEOs” have bought in.Many idiots that are happy to slam “blackhat tactics” publically in Facebook groups, but still do “outreach” or “content marketing” to… wait a minute… get “links”… absolute clowns. Same clowns chase the speaking circuit to then push their “whitehat tactics” as gospel.Google the ADVERTISING COMPANY that harvests and sells your data making all its money from selling Ads for obscene profit is what people are trying to be on the “right side” of, it’s hilarious.I stopped engaging with SEO publically, happy to be making money testing and trying everything.Unfortunately, the industry is now full of people happy to “shame” anyone doing it differently. Jumping on the soapbox and tell you how “you’re wrong” if you do it differently… and that they’re a “right” and “wrong” like Google are the police.It’s better to keep your head down and bank.Also worth noting, most outspoken SEOs on this topic are employed by big companies on an average salary to make other people money…

  10. Finally! I so I agree on this. There seem to be an influx of “white hat” seo services selling guest post /outreach campaigns and while maybe one can argue that you pay for the time and that the links themselves are not paid for, in most cases the publisher will get paid. The white hat term is simply used to not scare off serious business owners who don’t grasp the link building concept.

    1. Yeah there’s no such thing as white hat link building because link building is “black hat” if you subscribe to that theory.

  11. Yes it may be pointless in the grand scheme of things, but I guess Matt obviously doesn’t understand WHY people might label themselves which makes this video rather ironic.If a customer is looking for SEO services and has heard the terms white hat or black hat then this is going to affect their own searches and who they choose to hire. If the client has decided they only want to do everything legit, then they will be explicitly looking for a white hat SEO, oblivious to what it actually means and what difference it will actually make.The SEO person may well use both techniques, but wants to attract a certain type of clients, so markets himself accordingly.The same logic applies to many other industries in one way or another. A builder will likely list certifications or memberships on his website to attract clients who are looking for those phrases, but it probably makes no difference on his ability to do the job.

    1. Oh I get it. I get that SEO has reached the point that we’ve told so many meaningless lies, that now clients use those lies to start their search and measure the value of an agency.You cannot compare a “Certification” or a “Membership” to meaningless terms and social constructs that have been applied to an emotionless algorithm.I wonder how many agencies that rank for “white hat seo agency” did that without any link building.And it doesn’t trouble you that the industry created meaningless terms which have now leaked into the minds of those that don’t understand?I assume any agency that ranks for “white hat seo agency” does zero link building? I wonder how agencies rank for “white hat link building” without link building.

    2. So it’s ok to masquerade under the guise of being “white hat” to make the sale? That sounds pretty black hat to me.

  12. Matthew, I agree with you because any form of link building goes against Google’s guidelines.White hat SEOs that build links with money terms in their anchor text are no different than Black hat SEOs.To be within Google’s guidelines you need to do content marketing but let the other side decide on how they will link to you.

    1. Absolutely. Furthermore, if you’re creating content using keyword research with the intent of ranking for a particular term, that’s search manipulation… Thus, you’re doing something “black hat” whether you’re building links or not.

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