Flying close to the sun: SEO tactics that may get you burned

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What kind of risk are you willing to take for better rankings and more organic traffic?

For many years now, there has been an ongoing debate in the search engine optimization (SEO) world about whether “black-hat” or “gray-hat” tactics — that is, techniques that attempt to achieve quicker results by flouting the search engines’ guidelines — are acceptable.

While many commentators take a moralistic tone around this issue, I prefer to look at it in terms of risk. If you are willing to risk a Google penalty for the possible payoff of quicker or better rankings, then go for it! Just don’t be surprised when Google gets wise to what you’re doing and your traffic takes a nose dive! Doesn’t matter if it’s months or years later; expect to pay the piper.

Steering clear

Personally, as someone who works with a lot of large corporations with much at stake, I steer well clear of black-hat and gray-hat techniques.

For anyone working on a domain they don’t want to go down in flames, there’s simply no way to justify gambling with a site’s authority and reputation in such a reckless manner. In the SEO world, there are plenty of people willing to take the risk. Many SEOs I know make the point that what is considered gray-hat and black-hat may be subjective, depending on the industry you are operating in.

[Read the full article on Search Engine Land.]


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Stephan Spencer is the creator of the 3-day immersive SEO seminar Traffic Control; an author of the O’Reilly books The Art of SEO, Google Power Search, and Social eCommerce; founder of the SEO agency Netconcepts (acquired in 2010); inventor of the SEO proxy technology GravityStream; and the host of two podcast shows The Optimized Geek and Marketing Speak.

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