Is white hat SEO an urban myth?

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I have always stayed away from what is called black hat methods.

Today, on another site, I saw someone write the following statement about white hat SEO:

"Whitehat SEO is a myth. Any manipulation of you site, or your incoming links or your content for the use of improving search rankings is against search engine policy and thus blackhat. However people have redefined the meanings of blackhat and thus whitehat has also changed to mean "anything google has grown to accept in its battle to keep out the worst of blackhat methods""

and he added in another comment:

"Get the drift? Its a myth.... focus on humans... keyword analysis, keyword research, link building, backlinking, to improve link popularity.... yup all focus on humans... IT'S A MYTH! An urban legend.

- just sayin"

We all want the search engines to find our content, and to make it appear on the first page. It's based first and foremost on keywords, right? So, content such as blog post must have one or more keywords that will be appealing. There are many factors to consider, of course, like keyword density and such.

Do you agree with that person's comments? I'm not much of a SEO expert, so his comments gave me food for thought.
#hat #myth #seo #urban #white
  • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
    What he is saying used to be 'common wisdom' before recent changes to Google. There are no 'SEO experts' right now, except those who experiment every day.

    I'm sure any people reading this thread who experiment regularly will agree that advice to just 'do keyword research' and 'link building' is not what it used to be.

    Since doing that solves no business problem, while at the same time illustrating no business capacity or acumen, the social signals needed to rank just won't be there.

    Right now is a very good time to be White Hat in the sense he said it. Do not waste time beyond basic site structure, onpage, and 'good linking.' Do not delve into the world of endless link manipulation.

    I have found many instances of the last two weeks of websites ranking well with NO discernible links.
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  • Profile picture of the author JSProjects
    If you're doing any form of manual link building, then there is no such thing as whitehat. I'd say 95% of Warriors straddle the line between "grey" and "black" hat.
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  • Profile picture of the author jinx1221
    White Hat SEO used to exist in the sense that, in the old days, there were perfectly acceptable ways to set up your site for visibility in the search engines. More and more google frowns upon any practice which may 'manipulate' the search engine, so the line between White and Black hat has become so fine now, that people are just as afraid to do anything White hat as they are Black hat.

    So, if you set up a new site, you'd best not post a link in any directories, or let anybody know about it via the internet, because Google might consider that 'manipulating', and ban your site for life. Remember, Google wants people to find it naturally. The safest way to let people know about your site post Penguin is to rent a billboard, and in big Comic Sans letters, spell out the URL of your website, with a picture of Hayden Panettiere in a string bikini, for viral purposes.. or pay Google for adwords space.. they're pretty okay with that, too.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ldimilo
      Originally Posted by jinx1221 View Post

      ....Google wants people to find it naturally.
      The real question is why are you dropping the link in the first place? If it is for referral traffic, then that is about as close to being a white hat as you can get. It's also marketing your website and not trying to manipulate the SERPS.

      There's a big difference between actively marketing your website via co-citation & vertical arrangements and dropping your link in places where it is not intended to be clicked. For me at least, "natural" simply means doing things that you would do to get traffic if Google never existed.

      Put that into practice and suddenly you are about as close to being a white hat as you can be.
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      • Profile picture of the author jinx1221
        Originally Posted by Ldimilo View Post

        The real question is why are you dropping the link in the first place? If it is for referral traffic, then that is about as close to being a white hat as you can get. It's also marketing your website and not trying to manipulate the SERPS.

        There's a big difference between actively marketing your website via co-citation & vertical arrangements and dropping your link in places where it is not intended to be clicked. For me at least, "natural" simply means doing things that you would do to get traffic if Google never existed.

        Put that into practice and suddenly you are about as close to being a white hat as you can be.
        Thank you, I share your optimistic outlook :rolleyes: Unfortunately though, all, all forms of placing a link to your site, yourself, is technically against googles TOS, and subject to question. That's where all this fear comes from, with each and every update, even what you suggest (and what is right) doesn't come without being afraid of what 'might happen' if they misinterpret your intentions.

        Sadly, that's the fear that's spreading around now, that somehow Whitehat = Blackhat. Self promotion vs. serp manipulation aside, Google, being a business, does indeed have a greater interest in mind, that is in you being afraid of posting links and turning to Adwords instead
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    Originally Posted by phmoisan View Post

    "Whitehat SEO is a myth. Any manipulation of you site, or your incoming links or your content for the use of improving search rankings is against search engine policy and thus blackhat.
    This is a common extreme definition that even Google themselves have openly contradicted. The person is just giving that extreme slant so that they can justify whatever black and grey hat they are into.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    It's just someone who likes the sound of their own voice wanting to be controversial and have something people will talk about (which seems to be working).

    You can pick an argument like that about anything.

    I could say "there's no such thing as a vegetarian" Plants are alive, therefore all eating food means killing life, so anyone who says they're a vegetarian because they're against killing is a hypocrite - and don't get me started on people who complain about elephants being hunted but wear leather shoes.

    You can make this stuff up about anything.

    Just ignore it and work on your business.
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    • Profile picture of the author Adam Middleton
      Nice one AndyHenry. Very Well said. Best to ignore the doom and gloom and just work on your business and see for yourself what works and what doesn't.
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  • Profile picture of the author Backlinko
    One of the biggest wastes of time on Earth is debating the differences between white hat and black hat.

    It's an endless, pointless debate.

    And it's time you could spend building links (no matter how you happen to go about it).
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    If page manipulation is black hat, then Google promotes black hat with the nofollow tag, considering only people interested in SEO will ever use a nofollow tag (on purpose).

    Personally I don't care what anyone calls it (white/black hat), either you want to rank a page in the SERPs or you don't, pick one.
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    • Profile picture of the author paulgl
      Originally Posted by yukon View Post

      If page manipulation is black hat, then Google promotes black hat with the nofollow tag.

      Personally I don't care what anyone calls it (white/black hat), either you want to rank a page in the SERPs or you don't, pick one.
      ROTFLMAO!!! Holy cow I've said that so many times in the last 24 hours here...

      There is no black or white. There's stuff that works, and stuff that doesn't.

      Been saying that for years here.

      Oh but then I forgot about the grey hatters...

      @Andy Henry....not bad! Reminds me of what Paul McCartney said years
      ago when asked why he's for animals, but wears leather shoes. He
      said there's not a lot of alternatives, and, they kill millions of cows
      anyway. Why let the leather go to waste?

      Paul
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      • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
        Originally Posted by paulgl View Post

        There is no black or white. There's stuff that works, and stuff that doesn't.
        That is the long and short of it.

        "what works" changes all the time too. You often see people telling others what to do because they say "this is what works" but in fact it doesn't work anymore - they just didn't notice yet and because it used to be what works they think it's still true.

        So don't get wrapped around these labels because things keep changing and what will get you on page one legitimately one year will get you a Google penalty the next and swing from 'what works' to 'how to get penalised' without you changing anything.

        The only thing that matters is how you keep track of what gets you results 'now' and if your business is growing.

        That will mean different things to different people and each niche is different, so as with many things - 'what is effective SEO' has no fixed answer and you need to pick your own answer and work your business to get the results you want/need.

        Screw the labels and debating about what to call everything.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kevin Maguire
      Originally Posted by yukon View Post

      If page manipulation is black hat, then Google promotes black hat with the nofollow tag, considering only people interested in SEO will ever use a nofollow tag (on purpose).

      Personally I don't care what anyone calls it (white/black hat), either you want to rank a page in the SERPs or you don't, pick one.
      LOL..perfect response man. I'm falling so much in love with Yukon. I think I will start wearing a Pink Hat, and screw with all your heads. Making my own SEO group up in here...

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