It’s 6 o’clock in the morning, I got up especially early (whilst my daughter is still asleep) to write this post as I feel I can’t just let what I read yesterday rest and not comment.
As you may know SMX Advanced in Seattle was on last week, I didn’t go this year but attended last year. SMX Advanced is where funnily enough ADVANCED SEOs speak and attend to; learn more, broaden our horizon, share and network. Well at least that’s what I thought.
Yesterday I read this blogpost on Bruce Clay by Lisa Barone where she writes about “SMX Advanced going to the “dark” side.” The blogpost truly shocked me (and as Lisa Barone is prime blogger that might even been her intention) In fact it disturbed me to the point I even considered to put a no-follow on the link to the post, but decided to leave it, as rightly everyone should be able to voice their opinion, although I strongly disagree with Lisa’s comments and the way she went about this blogpost.
But even more so I am really disappointed and a little disturbed of Danny Sullivans comments in this blogpost. Yes of course he has his SMX brand to protect but don’t pooh on your own doorstep. At one point he literally singles out individuals:
“I’ll single out Jay Young. No, I don’t think it’s anything goes. I do think there are ethics in marketing and limits you don’t go past….” I don’t think it was needed to single out anyone really. I know Jay very well, and he is a first class SEO and respected in this industry. Jay simply stated the obvious saying that buying links can still improve your rankings. Because it does! Most SEOs STILL do buy links, he was simply saying don’t by 100,000 of them, over night and from a link farm. Be clever about it. Yes it can be argued that this is black hat’ish, BUT why is it blackhat? Because the Googlesaurus say so, that’s why. If the Google Algorithm didn’t put such a big emphasis on incoming links and other areas such as age of domain you wouldn’t call link buying black hat technique. Who says a new site is less relevant than an old site? The algorithm says so, that doesn’t mean that its actually true!!! That’s for the user to decide!! Hang on, I’m actually going somewhere with this….
I think the stamp “black hat seo” should be based on INTENT not necessarily technique. Still with me? Basically if you are doing SEO for a (new) site that is in a highly competitive market, it is NOT going to be possible to rank and gain traffic on a well constructed and content optimised site alone. That’s just a fact. Buying a few links and investing in a proper link building campaign is something you have to do to get into the really competitive market. Unless you are not planning on ranking before 2048!!! BUT that doesn’t mean the website in question isn’t relevant or useful to the user. And the end of the day, that’s what we are all working for right? Both SEOs (well most) and the engines, getting fantastic relevant and good quality websites ranked so that the user will be satisfied and find what they were looking for!!
Back to the point, so called “black hat seo” techniques are important for the development of your skills as an SEO. That doesn’t mean you have to use this knowledge and techniques, but KNOWING them WILL help you understand how the engines work, what you can and can’t do. We NEED these people to share, we should be grateful that they will share not condemn them and pick on them. I can with my hand on my heart say that I am a white hat SEO, BUT you know what, the ONE person I have learned the MOST from in this industry, is in fact a black hat, and a very skilled one as well. That doesn’t mean he is some dodgy marketer spamming the web with any random crappy website to rank his clients. A good black hat doesn’t do that
Anyway, I’ll leave the black hats that attended SMX advanced a suggestion for a T-shirt to wear to the next event (so that people don’t mistake advice for orders!!)