In the world of digital marketing there’s one of the most powerful marketing techniques known to businesses; search engine optimization or SEO. SEO allows website owners to get ultimately free traffic for search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing through a process that ‘optimizes’ signals that help the search engines rank the particular website.
Because of its popularity, more and more ‘self-proclaimed’ search engine optimizers are coming out of the woodworks, regardless of their actually practical, or experience in the trade which has resulted in a ton of mis-information flourishing around the internet such as the overused and highly inaccurate term, black hat SEO.
The term ‘Black Hat SEO‘ refers to someone who ‘cheats’ or ‘games’ search engines like Google in attempt to get higher search engine rankings, but is it really, black hat?
According to several sources, the term ‘black hat’ was created to refer to the villains and criminals of old western movies. In today’s digital world, the term is mostly used to define hackers who have malicious or criminal intent. In the digital marketing space, it’s used to define any SEO who simply outranks, or out smart their competition.
Let’s talk about what black hat SEO really is. First, by definition, black hat must include malice or criminal intent. When a search engine optimizer deploys tactics like paid links in attempt to help rank their client website, is it really malicious? It may by reckless, but doesn’t break the law, nor is it malicious. Now, if that same SEO went onto Fivrr and bought 1,000,000 links and pointed them with optimized anchor text at their competitors website do lower their rankings, then it’s malicious and by definition ‘black hat SEO.’
What if you were a web company who knew adding a site-wide optimizer footer link in your client’s website could hurt their rankings, and help the web company, would that be malicious and considered black hat? Indeed.
Now that you know a little bit more about black hat SEO, be sure to quiz your next SEO provider and see if they know. You might quickly find out, you know a little bit more than your SEO and if you do, it’s time to find another one.
Until next time…