When discussing organic search engine optimization strategies and best practices, most people have heard the terms “blackhat” and “whitehat”. Of course, Blackhat tactics refer to shortcuts and tricks meant to fool the search engines such as duplicate cintent, various content delivery tactics, improper redirects, and poor link building practices. The whitehat tactics are the guidelines suited for best long term orgainc placement meant to create a healthy website environment that adds value to the Internet and that is seen as relevant by the search engines.
When search engines marketers, SEO consultants, and Internet marketing companies try to stay on top of the game, most of the effort is placed on keeping up with “what Google likes”. What are the Google algorithms looking for now? So naturally it takes a lot of research, attending trade shows, reading blogs, etc. to stay current with the industry.
Four or five years ago it was very difficult to do this. Naturally, Google is still as secretive as ever. But are they becoming more transparent with their ideal best practices? I would say definitely. At least now we can read articles from Matt Cutts and go to Google Webmaster Central to glean the latest Google knowledge, get advice, and stay current.
Back when information was less readily available, the formation of various Blackhat tactics could have been intentional…or was it because people just didn’t know better? Probably a little of both. Of course, there will always be SEO consultants and “SPAM” artists out there trying to take shortcuts and make money. That will not change. However, back in the day many people in the industry were not certain about what is “right” and “wrong”. The best practices are now much more clearly defined and it is widely known that shortcuts and Blackhat tactics will not result in anything positive. Technology is simply far too advanced.
The typical Blackhats these days are most likely the random “companies” or individual consultants that charge very little ($200 per month) and do not openly communicate their methods. If they can’t educate you on search engines optimization and show relevant case studies for reputable clients, then they probably are not worth your time. I am not saying an SEO consultant or Internet marketing company has to have an amazing client roster to get the job done, but you still need to be selective when choosing a company that could change the future of your business.