In the world of SEO warfare, there are primarily two sides (or philosophies). There are the “white-hats” and there are the “black-hats”.
Both sides are very passionate and competitive. However, one side, the “white-hats” play by the rules and work with what major search engines strive to deliver: good search results that lead to good relevant content. The “black hats” tend to work underground and seek to cheat the system (rules and algorithms) established by the major search engine companies and gain traffic no matter the cost or ethical ramifications.
Search engine companies dislike the “black-hats” because they undermine and hurt what the search engines want to achieve: high integrity results. Search engines companies like the “white-hats” because they play within the rules and, more importantly, teach others how to generate quality and relevant content that keep search engines need to stay in business to index.
“Black-hat” SEO guys are in it for the short-term. They tend to believe using “white-hat” SEO techniques is slow, impractical, and simply don’t work. However, what the “black-hats” refuse to acknowledge is that the major search engines are continually refining their algorithms to suppress or delete those websites engaged in “black-hat” SEO techniques and improve the results of those who embrace “white-hat” SEO techniques which emphasize good, quality content.
And so, the major search engine companies are constantly playing a game of “whack-a-mole” against the “black-hats”. Sometimes, white-hat websites get caught in the middle but not very often. They tend to rise to the top over time because of their growing legitimacy and credibility.
Quite frankly, White-hat SEO is a long-term success play. Black-hat SEO is a short-term, cheaters play. You never know when you will get put down by Google, Yahoo, or Bing. Black-hat SEO is always a game of looking over your shoulders every day. With white-hat SEO, you can often do it right the first time and then turn it loose so that it can organically grow and rise in the results.
In case it isn’t obvious, I definitely fall into the white-hat SEO side of the fight. And it has been a tremendous success for my projects and those I have helped over the years. I am big believer in having high credibility, reputation, and long-term success. I won’t work with anyone or any business that knowingly engages or seeks out practitioners of black-hat SEO.
Are you in it for the long-term or the short-term? Do you care about your online reputation? The answers you choose will guide you to the path you take.