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

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Posted 26th October 2008 at 11:09 AM by Jeff B

It's been my opinion for years that any off-page SEO is blackhat. Search engines don't want people's shitty content at the top of their serps just because they can spam social bookmarking sites and directorys or write articles to get more backlinks... they want valuable content that is going to help their users find what they are looking for.

I'm not an SEO kind of guy, but I have a prediction that the biggest google slap of all is coming gradually over the next few years as their system evolves.

Write great content and put all your effort into making a kick ass site that people will love and the traffic will come, especially from the search engines. You'll get the backlinks naturally and your search engine rankings will progress naturally. That's what Google wants... NATURAL progression. And they're paying attention to what you're doing with your site, so keep that in mind for the longterm.

That's why I don't really bother with wasting my time on off-page SEO. I get the traffic from search engines naturally, because I spend all that time making my sites kick ass. I know this is going to be much better for me in the longrun as more and more sites doing all sorts of crazy off-page SEO will be falling one by one from the serps.

I'd like to read your thoughts on this, so please voice your opinion in the comments below.
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  1. New Comment
    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.
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    Posted 26th October 2008 at 03:36 PM by
    Updated 26th October 2008 at 03:38 PM by Rob Ferrall (reworded something.)
  2. New Comment
    Gift's Avatar
    Yes, it's the chicken or the egg dilema: If you invest only in creating great pages, how'd people come?
    permalink
    Posted 26th October 2008 at 03:43 PM by Gift Gift is offline
 


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