By Janeth | June 2, 2010
Seems every time I write something one of the grammar cops stop by and tell me everything I did wrong. And they always explain how, while my sites look good, my unprofessional writing style has turned them off and they will never buy anything from me.
About the only thing I dislike more than the grammar police are the blackhat police.
I was posting on a forum the other day when someone brought up a link wheel and everyone immediately started in on how building lots of websites and linking those sites back to your own site is blackhat. I tried to explain how this was not the case and the thread was locked and my post removed.
These are SEO’s that feel that their job is to point out and explain what is and what isn’t black hat. To say that building more than one site and linking those sites together is blackhat is stupid to say the least.
Let’s take Ted for example.
Ted works for Bill and Bill owns a shoe website that sells all types of shoes. Ted is the salesperson over the Nike division. Ted is the person you would talk to if you had a question about Nike and were to call the number on the website.
Ted gets a lot of questions about different types of Nike shoes, but is limited to what he can add to the website, because the site is a shopping cart. And in order for Ted to add content to the site it has to be approved by his boss, his bosses’ boss and the marketing department, and then it has to be sent to the web design department. It can take months to have information added to the site.
So…Ted being a good hard working employee decides to start his own blog about Nike shoes. Here he can write answers to the common questions and point potential Nike shoe purchasers to the main shoe website. This saves Ted time and potential clients love it because the information is great and they can find the answers to questions that they would otherwise have had to call about.
The information is so good that people begin linking to the blog from other sites and both the main site and the blog begin to climb in the search engines. The blog is now driving tons of traffic back to the main shoe site. The Nike shoe division grows and begins out selling the other shoe divisions. The owner of the company starts hiring more employees in order to keep up.
Now the company starts getting calls from customers who want to complement them on the Nike blog, so they decide that each shoe division should have its own blog.
The site now has over 50 different blogs and the managers of the different departments are over each blog. Since it is the same company all the blogs link back to the main site, so people can buy the shoes but also link to one another as one shoe might be a better fit than another depending on the type of use.
One day Bill (the owner of the company) visits a SEO forum where he learns that building multiple sites is a blackhat technique. So he rushes to the office fires Ted (for bringing this blackhat technique into his business) and shuts down all the blogs.
As an immediate result sales start to drop and Bill has to start laying people off.
The sad truth is that what he was doing was not a blackhat technique. Had he or the SEO that was pointing out this blackhat technique used a little common sense, they would have seen that Google themselves use more than one website.
But instead of using common sense the blackhat police want to group it all together and call it the same. This is the same mentality that started the zero tolerance policy in schools and it’s the reason most SEO’s fail to rank their own sites, much less their clients.
Instead of trying to figure out how to market a product they are spending all their time on SEO forums pointing out what is and isn’t blackhat. And I was stupid enough to believe that was Google’s job.
A lot of blackhat techniques are whitehat techniques that work when used correctly, blackhats want to abuse the system, automate it, and believe that bulk abuse is the way to go. The truth of the matter is that blackhat techniques want stand up to whitehat techniques when they are run side by side.
Building 50 real blogs, with kickass content, will out deliver a blackhat who bulk builds 150 crap blogs with crap content. But most SEO’s don’t want to spend the time doing that, so they just call the whole thing blackhat.
Blackhat is nothing more than a copout for SEO’s that don’t want to spend the time to do it right.
And while we are talking about BlackHat let’s not forget that according to Google ethical SEO is an SEO that provides useful services for the website owners”, Google goes on to describe the range of what those useful services are: “from writing copy to giving advice on site architecture and helping to find relevant directories to which a site can be submitted”.
Writing copy, giving advice on site architecture and helping to find relevant directories….I agree that these are a SMALL part of what search engine optimization is. But search engine optimization is about ranking and Google doesn’t even say anything about optimizing the copy to rank.
Sounds like Google has gotten web development and search engine optimization confused.
Google goes on to say, “there are a few unethical SEOs who have given the industry a black eye through their overly aggressive marketing efforts and their attempts to unfairly manipulate search engine results”. Sounds to me like any search engine optimizer that goes further than the sort of things that Google mentions, or actually optimizes a web page to rank, is unethical. Google clearly views any sort of optimizing to improve rankings as unethical.
Marketers are a ruthless bunch. And the methods each marketer uses are the same methods that separate folks that get excited when they make a sale, from those that are making a living online.
Online marketing is a full contact sport and if you want to be nothing more than a fan that points out what everyone else is doing wrong then you need to get your ass off the field.