Since the late 1990s, SEOs have been identified as belonging to one of two camps – the “blackhats” and the “whitehats”. Progressively, these labels have transformed into little more than exaggerated caricatures, cartoon heroes and villains that merely exist as manifestations of our imaginations, usually embellished to suit our latest marketing agendas.
Under the microscope, even when evaluating specific tactics and methodologies, “whitehat” vs. “blackhat” is akin to distinctions of “liberal” vs. “conservative” – the definition evolves with each year that passes and every person you ask. Undoubtedly, that definition is almost always accompanied with significant bias, assumptions and judgments.
Unfortunately, too many businesses still base their choice of internet marketer on the hat they don, even if that hat only comes out as a flourish for sales calls.
Business owners should focus on educating themselves to the basics of search engine optimization and forming better questions. True tactical and strategic differences exist behind what we often refer to as “black” and “white” hat, and those differences are critical to understand when deciding the right direction for your business.
I won’t tell you how to run your business. I simply want you to ask yourself (and your prospective SEO vendors) harder questions.
Are “cheap” and “low-value” strategies truly saving you money? How much risk are you really willing to stomach? Is your top priority to get up and running quickly and cheaply, or are you trying to build a real, long-term business that realizes steady incremental growth?
If the best your SEO can do is show you their hat, and they can’t help you answer these questions, then move on – it doesn’t matter what color that hat is.