9 reasons to go black hat

Ian Lurie
Go black hat. What's the worst that can happen?
Go black hat. What's the worst that can happen?

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.

Going black hat. It’s so tempting. You put in all this time researching SEO. You know as much about the algorithms as anyone. You watch competitors zip past you and you just know they’re cheating. How else could they zip past you*?

*I dunno… Maybe because they actually do what their SEOs tell them. Or they write original content. Or their site runs slightly better than the bloated, slow-running, visit-repelling Greek tragedy you call a ‘web presence’. But I digress.

Go for it! Here are ten fantastic reasons to throw Google’s Terms of Service into a shredder:

  1. The search engines are big meanies. You’re gonna show them.
  2. You have a garage full of Viagra to sell by tomorrow night. If you don’t, the local penis mafia is going to hunt you down, so you’ll be dead anyway.
  3. You won $30 million in the Lottery. What the heck? Go for it.
  4. Your SEO agency says they have a special relationship with Google, and they can bail you out. Also, they have special magical, rainbow-farting unicorns.
  5. You can get away with it, ’cause you’re smarter than all the engineers at Google, Bing, Blekko and every information retrieval genius in the Northern Hemisphere.
  6. You suck at business. You want to go into a lively career sorting tobacco leaves by size and color.
  7. You’re entering the FBI witness protection program.
  8. You just saw the new Thundercats Movie, and it sucked out your will to live.
  9. You only read the first two paragraphs of this post.

My point: While there’s nothing evil about black hat SEO, and it can even serve a purpose, it is not a long-term business strategy.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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  1. Haha nice one 🙂
    Can you make one for the firm doing the black-hat where the clients don’t know much about that SEO stuff and therefore hired some of those professionels…

  2. Funny post for a split secong I thought you were being serious. I believe there is a very fine line between white and black hat and im sure all of us have done things in the past that somebody would consider BH.

  3. Simply perfect! I thought you were serious when I saw the tweet. Having read it I understand where you’re coming from.
    I was hoping to see you speak at PubCon Vegas but I don’t see you on the list. Maybe next year.

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