There is a conspiracy of “White Hat” SEOs to mislabel any SEO that actually ranks as being “Black Hat”. These “White Hats” have colluded to create a false moral system to justify their incompetence.
So-called “White Hats” take people’s money, do nothing of consequence then pat themselves on the back for not spamming. Meanwhile, the client is thousands of dollars poorer and has nothing to show for it.
“SEO is a process. SEO takes time. Please see the attached invoice for six more months,” they say.
The truth is clients don’t care.
Clients want more leads and more business, just like we all do. They also want to keep their rankings.
Your clients understand — probably better than you do — that Google is a business. Google looks after its own interests which may or may not be aligned with yours and your client’s.
So grow up.
Most of what gets classified as “Black Hat” in the SEO community nowadays is just effective SEO.
True Black Hat SEO involves hacking sites to inject links, click hijacking, and that sort of thing. Please don’t do that. It’s immoral and illegal.
The only true White Hat SEO is complete passivity. This is the great fiction that we should all just create “great content” — whatever that means — and wait for the SERP fairy to bless us with page one rankings.
There are few SEOs who do this. You’ll mostly find them whining on Moz and Google Webmaster forums. Nice Guys finish last in the SERPs too.
What’s worse — if all you do is so-called White Hat SEO, then you’re not going to have much job security:
A developer can implement code changes faster than you. UI/UX can create a more beautiful site and user experience. PR people generate more publicity (and thus links) with more creativity, and a simple AI can take care of the rest.
Whether you admit it or not, everybody else in the SEO world is one of those 50 Shades of Grey Hat.
The differences are subtle shades of efficacy and risk management — which is why you better be at least capable of going dark (Remember 50 Shades of Grey is the best-selling book of all time).
Once you’re able to go dark and rank, then it’s easier to come back to a lighter shade of grey and still rank. If you know how to rank low quality content, then ranking high quality content is a piece of apple pie.
If you’ve seen the light and are ready to become a great SEO, then here’s what you need to do:
1.) Learn a Tangental Skill
Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, has a concept called the talent stack. The more skills you have, the more value you create when those skills overlap.
Learn to code, and you can scale technical SEO to the moon. Become a killer copywriter and your time on-site, user retention, conversion rate and social signals will skyrocket. Master PR and you won’t be begging shit-tier Blogspot bloggers for links.
2.) Eat Your Own Cooking
Do you do SEO for your clients the way you would to your own site?
People that know how to rank don’t share that information on forums or blog posts (myself included). It’s too valuable.
The only way to know how to rank is to build sites and try different methods. Reverse engineer other sites and try to recreate their methods.
HINT: Closely study the sites that “shouldn’t” be on page one but are.
3.) Be Honest.
When you search Google for a dentist or a pizza parlor, who do you usually assume is the best? Which site do you click, and who do you give your money to?
The first result, of course. The same is true of SEO.
If you want to be an effective SEO who gives a great experience to his clients…
Then when someone in your city Googles for an SEO agency, you better be number one.