As I do keyword research for possible niches to enter I'm noticing a lot of the websites that are ranking for these terms are small sites with poor content. When I look at their backlink profile I can clearly see that they blatantly use a PBN. They don't even try to hide it, their links consist of high authority expired one-page websites that are overly keyword stuffed.
I had always thought that google wouldn't rank such obvious blackhat websites. As a whitehat guy it makes me wonder why I should bother playing it safe when these other sites so easily rank in the serps.
I wanted to ask you, with all the fuss that people make about penalties and blackhat techniques, do you think google even cares? Do I need to fight fire with fire If I want to have a shot at competing in these niches?