Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Black Hat SEO, White Hat SEO

We see these terms a lot -- Black Hat, White Hat, SEO -- but it's sometimes hard to tell exactly what it all means. I have been around the block now and am back to report for those of us who still haven't quite grasped what these terms mean, and what they mean to us.

After a lot of searching and trying and failing, I have learned how to see the signs -- a blog or website or ad that tells me I'm being dumb, that I am missing opportunities to make money from adsense, or make quick cash on the internet, or "optimize" my website for search engines like google -- all of these come-one I now see for what they are -- sure signs of the dreaded Black Hat SEO. Not sure what that means? Read on!

First of all, "SEO" mean Search Engine Optimization. If you don't have a website or a blog, this doesn't concern you! But if you would like to try making a little money from the internet by owning your own monetized website or blog, then it's really all you care about. Simply, SEO means improving, or "optimizing," the chances that someone searching the web will find you. The gold standard here is on Google, but there are other search sites like Bing and Yahoo.

So let's say you have a blog about barbecue sauce. If someone types "barbecue sauce" into Google, you want them to see your site, right? But there's a lot of competition -- a lot of barbeque sites out there. How do you get your blog higher on search engines? How do you get your site to show up on the first page of a google search? It's hard, my friends -- and Google makes it harder, because if they didn't everyone would be hard at work gaming the system.

Well, there are a lot of people hard at work gaming the system, and they are know as "Black Hat" SEO sites. Tese people are REALLY smart, and they are always trying to find ways to get around the rules, or the blockades, that Google sets up to keep the internet "fair." For example: what if I got a bunch of people to sit around and click on my site so it rose in the rankings? Black Hat SEO includes this tactic, but they are sophisticated about it -- so you have places that will pay you a fraction of a penny for every click on their clients' site, or on their ads for their site. It all ads up to scam, since the "clicks," as they are known, are not coming from real customers who are really interested in the product. They're coming from people being paid to do nothing but sit and click, sit and click. It's not exactly illegal, but Google hates it, and they're constantly trying to put "click abuse" people out of business.

So that's one little glimpse into "Black Hat" SEO. There are lots of other methods, old and new. I'll talk a little more about them, and about "White Hat" SEO in a future post.

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