Search Engine Optimization is a wonderful technique that has been used to help many small businesses grow and take their business to the next level. When meeting with clients who have moderate knowledge of SEO, it is common for me to be asked if we do “white hat” or “black hat” SEO. For those who don’t know, they are essentially asking if we use tactics that are allowed by Google or not. “Black hat” refers to tactics that can get you in penalized by Google, and White Hat is supposed refer to safe SEO tactics that Google says are acceptable. It’s an understandable question. They simply want to know if we are going to do anything to hurt their rankings, and their online brand is obviously important. What they don’t tell you is that White Hat SEO doesn’t exist.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that all SEO techniques are created equal. There are definitely strategies that should not be used, and there are definitely tactics that I would consider for the most part fairly safe. The problem is that I hear many SEO consultants talk about White Hat SEO as if it is the holy grail of marketing and is 100% immune to Google penalties. Google has an increasingly complex algorithm and is meant to display relevant search results for its users. They also have a product called Google Adwords, which allows you to pay money in order to be listed above the regular, “Organic” search results. They do not want anyone manipulating their Algorithm, and they certainly don’t want individual companies competing with Adwords to get to the top. The only way to achieve true White Hat SEO is to completely ignore their algorithm changes and focus on creating relevant, quality content.
At the end of the day, Google is in control of the search results it displays. Google could one day change their algorithm completely and wipe all of your rankings away. This is why when doing SEO, it is crucial to be looking forward. Always ask yourself if what you are doing could come back to haunt you. Focus primarily on creating and promoting good, quality content that is informative to your target audience. After you have created that content, the best thing you can do is come up with a strategy to promote and distribute it, whether its through blogger outreach, social media, an email list, or something completely different. If your content gets shares, vies and gains traction, the rankings will eventually come on their own.
If you are hiring an SEO agency, it is important to choose someone that will be honest and realistic about the results. If they claim their techniques are 100% safe and guaranteed to work, move forward with caution. While we have an excellent track record of helping customers grow their business, at Web Chimpy, we make sure that we are transparent with our clients about what we are doing and the risks involved.