Last year at Pubcon I heard Bruce Clay make the following statement:
“There is no such thing as black hat, white hat, or gray hat SEO. It’s all calculated risk.”
I am sure that like most other SEO trainers, Bruce has had a number of people ask him the question, “Should I use black hat SEO tactics?” …..What’s the answer?
“Well how much risk are you willing to take?”
I once worked for a national lawn maintenance and weed control company. The owner was struggling to keep the business going. I was younger and more naive at the time. I didn’t realize that having my paycheck bounce meant I should be worried about getting paid. Well during this phase a Bill, good friend of mine, was let go. The owner also changed weed control products. After a long day of spraying this new product I was talking with Bill. He asked how work was going. I told him about the new blue spray we were using. “Blue spray?” Bill questioned, “The only thing blue down there is tractor dye. I bet that spray doesn’t have much smell to it.”
“What are you saying Bill?”
“I am saying that you are not spraying weed control. You are spraying blue dyed water.”
Needless to say, I left soon after and the branch went under not long after that.
So while the owner may have been saving a few dollars by just spraying blue tractor dye, he wasn’t saving his company. But hey, it sure costs a lot less to spray water and you sure can make more money that way, RIGHT?
But is there any risk in taking the “White Hat SEO” route?
Yes. Taking a white hat seo route has its “risks” as well. What if it takes twice as long to get your site ranked and start turning a profit by following all the rules? Can your money hold out as you wait for the rankings to come? There is risk in waiting. Further, if your competitor is willing to cheat a little to get ahead and you are not then you are taking a risk. Like Permitex and Porkin adding 30,000 plus links in 3 months, that’s hard to do if you are white hat.
Anyone up for a game of Russian Roulette?
So should you do white hat or black hat SEO?
I differ back to Bruce Clay… “It’s all calculated risk.”
Do you really want to cannibalize all of your work over a gamble? T is Thomas and T is for Turtle. Slow and steady wins the race…. and I am just a Phoenix pest control guy.
FYI – Grey vs Gray. The British established “grey” as the proper spelling for the color shade that lies between black and white. However, American’s still tend to use the spelling “gray”. So in England there really is no “Gray Hat SEO” but the SEO experts there will admit to a “Grey Hat SEO”.