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Downward Spiral of Questionable SEO Practices and Why White Hat SEO Struggles to Survive

Online industry can be difficult for even the toughest guys on the block. One moment you think everything is going fine for you, you are doing your own thing, SEO your website by the book, starting to see progress, expecting that first page and eventually top ranks in the next few months. So what happens, while your website is entering its 3rd year here comes a 4 months old website sitting at the top of Google, wait, what?

Yeah, I know, it is mighty frustrating and it surely doesn’t help you see your goal clearly. I mean here you have a guy that clearly paid for links, used some Black Hat SEO techniques and what does he get; a penalty? Nope, he gets to open up a bigger bank account and light a cigar. Not only is a website not worthy of being number one at the top, but you got yourself another competitor and lost a rank, which means less traffic and fewer customers, so what do we do in that situation? We go and smash our piggy bank and go buy some links Dorothy, that’s what!

Yeah, we find ourselves a nice link dealer and get ourselves, 100, no, 200 high PR backlinks and what do you know, next week we are the prom queen of the Google homecoming ball. Ah, now it’s ok, we can breathe without worrying about our rankings, that guy actually did us a favor, if he didn’t buy links we would have never gone that way and look at us now, top of the world. Until the next morning when you wake up to see that you actually don’t see, sandboxed baby, Dorothy is gone and your website moved from OZ.

This actually happens all the time. We are bound and forced to respect Google’s rules as they are the largest search engine, the big boy on the hood making the rules of the playground. But what happens when Google ignores a website that used Black Hat SEO techniques and got to the number one place using paid links? Google is making it worse for all of us. I mean looking at that website I might be tempted to do the same, if he can get away with it so can I, right? Well Google is selective and although 9 of 10 website will get penalized for such behavior there will be that 1 website that got away, that beautiful homecoming prom queen everyone talks about.

It sure is a bait for all of us to try that road, but it probably won’t work, we are not that lucky. But I don’t blame people for trying, I mean with all the websites that got away Google is actually asking us to try, they complain about the amount of SPAM they receive and Matt Cutts says that it’s hard to deal with all the SPAM on the net, well what can I say, I’m not the one who invited SPAM into my own playground, Google did.

Google is getting the amount of SPAM equal to the number of invitations they sent, so it’s their problem, not ours. But even though it is their problem we are the ones suffering. Going white hat can be a pain in the neck, it can take a long time to achieve your goals, but although it seems too hard at certain moments it is actually the only way to go, and if you know what you are doing or your SEO company, it can be fairly easy.

Content is king, you heard that plenty of times and you will hear it more and more as it is true. And since content is king everyone loves being seen with the king. It’s the rule of celebrities; one picture with a celebrity may make you famous. So if you have the king on your side people will link to you, saying hey, I know the king he is a good guy, go check this out and they point a link to the great content you created on your website.

The bottom line is that online industry is not all black and white; there is plenty of gray as well. It’s not fair that Google will let one website profit from paid links and punish the other, but this is a fact that we have to deal with. The only choice we have as webmasters is to play the White Hat SEO game and give our best to create valuable and quality content that people will want to link to. This is the only method that will get you links and links for years to come, paid links are there as long as you pay for them, but free links that no one asked for can stay in their place for a very long time.


Zarko Zivkovic, SEO AuthorGuest SEO Blogger: Zarko Zivkovic
Blog: Practical SEO Blog

Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation. Dan is a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

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