The difference between optimising and outwitting

There are two sides to the world of SEO. There are those of us who practice techniques designed to work with Google and there are those who are always looking at ways to pull the wool over the eyes of the big G. The former is considered to be “white hat” SEO while the latter is deemed “black hat”.

In many respects these two different approaches can be likened to tax avoidance and tax evasion. The black hat SEO spends his life looking for sneaky loopholes, aiming to profit from being able to exploit the system for as long as possible until his scheme is discovered and he has to move on to the next shortcut. On the other hand the white hat SEO doesn’t want to play the system at all, rather understand it fully so as to be best placed to profit from it. In exactly the same way that a better understanding of complicated tax procedures will ensure you pay no more than you should do, a grounded understanding in SEO techniques will enable you to reap the rewards those high placements in Google bring for the long term.

Now more than ever it is important to recognise that SEO should be a long term strategy as Google continues to evolve its algorithm, closing loopholes that the more devious SEO types have sought to exploit. Whilst we can’t know for sure precisely how Google determines the quality and relevancy of a website’s content (it’s a closely guarded secret, like the colonel’s fried chicken recipe) we do know that trying to hoodwink it is never going to last forever. Keeping ahead of the game is important and we in the business spend an awful lot of time ensuring we’re up to speed with all the latest developments in what makes Google tick. But the short term gain from unethical manipulation is a strategy that simply won’t pay the dividends in the future.