VIDEO: The Grey Hat SEO Myth

Post written by Matthew Egan. Follow Matthew on Twitter.

Optimizers like myself are often lumped in with some less scrupulous folk.  These are the guys who cheat the system.  They analyze the way Google scans the web and find ways to hide keywords, purchase links to artificially inflate their linking authority, or utilize other “black hat” methods to manipulate the Search Engine results in their favor.

Sometimes these “Black Hat SEOs” like to pretend they’re not so bad.  They like to go by the title “Grey Hat” and pretend that they’re only evil sometimes.  To be frank, that’s a bunch of bull.

You can’t be “kind of evil.”  Once you break the rules, once your web site has violated Google’s policies and is caught manipulating the search results, you run the risk of being penalized by Google or even removed from Google’s index altogether.  That’s just not even an option!  We’re all in this for traffic, whether it’s customers for an e-commerce site or visitors for our blog, no one wants to be removed from Google.

This morning on Facebook, John C. Maxwell shared a quote from Tom Peters: “There is no such thing as a minor lapse in integrity.”  What better quote to represent this topic!  You can’t walk over that line and break the rules, violate your integrity and then quickly hop back over the line.

Breaking the rules is breaking the rules and I certainly doubt Google is going to take the “I’m only evil sometimes” excuse when you are asking them to remove a penalty from your site.

Focus on what makes you worth talking about.  Focus on what makes you unique.  Be the “purple cow.”  Be the exception.  If you’re worth talking about, you’re worth linking to.

The risks associated with cheating are too high, so just don’t do it.  Give people a real reason to visit you and they will.

Matthew Egan is the President of San Antonio SEO consulting group Image Freedom. When not dancing to the blues, Matthew helps web pages like yours get more traffic through content driven Search Engine Optimization.