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    Gift's Avatar

    Is Off-Page SEO Blackhat? What Do You Think?

    Yes, it's the chicken or the egg dilema: If you invest only in creating great pages, how'd people come?
    Posted 26th October 2008 at 03:43 PM by Gift Gift is offline
  2. New Comment

    Is Off-Page SEO Blackhat? What Do You Think?

    Any form of search engine optimization, whether it be on-page or off-page, is based on manipulation. Some people feel that any purposeful keyword targeting is black hat, even when it takes place on a website. Outside of going against stated policies by search engines, it's all a matter of opinion, in my opinion.

    While you may be able to build your online business on nothing other than your networking ability, hope, and some elbow grease - not everybody has that luxury. A website's usefulness, or quality, is not the only determining factor in regards to whether such a website is 'linkworthy' or not - some niches just do not receive an abundance of natural, 3rd party links.

    Moreover, in moderately competitive niches to high-competition niches, you will not get any worthwhile placement in search engines without artificial link building methods in place except in out-of-the-norm situations - there's no getting around that. It has nothing to do with the quality of your website, it has everything to do with your competition using search engines' current ranking algorithms to their advantage.

    You can buck the system and may be able to float it out until search engines change the way that they rank websites - but if you feel that your website is better than others out there, you're doing yourself, and others, a disservice by eliminating these industry-standard practices.

    Just as good looks will only get you so far in life without using them to your advantage, having an excellent-quality website will only get you so far unless you choose to take advantage of the tools of the trade.

    In this current environment, websites cannot rank on their own merits in highly competitive niches. From my experience, you will have a very difficult time in moderately competitive niches if you do not somewhat actively promote your website. You might get some traffic, but if you're getting a few hundred visitors per day from multiple sources when a single search engine is showering down tens of thousands of visitors per day in that niche... you are doing yourself, and your potential website visitors, a huge disservice if your website delivers top-of-the-line quality.

    I'm more than sure that some linking schemes will lose their weight eventually, as they have in the past: FFA networks, link farms, general directory submissions and even article directory submissions have taken a hit, some to a greater extent than others. I think that if somebody places too much stock in any one method, that they are destined to fail. Which, in high-competition niches it's easy to see what the majority are doing, and it is largely the exact same thing... they will be in trouble if those tactics become obsolete.

    Natural links, if you can get them, which requires initial exposure in some form, are great to receive. However, in my opinion, building links through article directory submissions, forum signatures, blog comments, etc. are not considered black hat optimization techniques.

    My point here is that you are fortunate to be able to reign in your niche in search engines without the aid of purposeful linking strategies. However, just because somebody uses article marketing, forum signatures, or blog commenting, does not mean that they have crappy, no-value, content, as the beginning of your post leads me to believe that is what you're saying.

    I'm not meaning for this to come across as a rant, as that is not my intent. I'm just answering the question but giving a bit of context to the response.
    Posted 26th October 2008 at 03:36 PM by
    Updated 26th October 2008 at 03:38 PM by Rob Ferrall (reworded something.)

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