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Black Hat, White Hat... Gray Hat?

Apr 26, 2008
Internet marketers and the ongoing struggle to make money online. There are more and more people going on the Internet to seek their fortunes.

It is almost like the old "Gold rush days" of California. I am sure we all remember those days. You do not need anything more than a computer and a connection to the Internet to become a Internet marketer.

The promise of being your own boss and making a lucrative income awaits everyone willing to give it a try.

There are a few things that Internet marketers need to know in order to begin their new careers. If you sell anything on the Internet, you will probably have a website.

Visitors to your site are considered traffic. You must generate a lot of traffic to covert the visitors into actual sales. This is where SEO enters into the picture.

SEO is all about search engine optimization. People on the Internet will find you through the major search engines when they use keyword searches to find the information they are looking for.

Your website, forum posts, articles, etc. should be using SEO so the search engines can index your website and then rank it so it can be found correctly when people use the search engines to find relevant information.

For a while now, there is a battle going on within the Internet among marketers that use SEO. Black Hat SEO is to use optimizing practices to fool the search engines and the use of other traffic generating techniques that are questionable or unethical.

Generally stated, the Black Hat SEO techniques are used to fool the search engines into believing a website is very relevant to the keywords searches when in fact the promotional site may only be a blatant sales tactic.

White Hat SEO is the opposite of Black Hat practices. The White Hat SEO marketers play by the rules. They want their sites to be relevant and fair, offering solid information on their sites.

White Hat SEO individuals count on the sale of their products or services after real trust has been established first.

There is now a lot of gray area in-between the black and the white because nothing is really black and white. Remember the first time you began to play in your new sandbox? Someone probably told you not to get dirt mixed in with the sand. How long did it take before the sandbox began turning a shade of gray?

Call them the Gray Hat SEO practitioners. Today, there are many. White Hat SEO requires a lot of patience, without any solid traffic coming into your promotional website for some time. For someone new in the marketing game, asking them to be very patient for traffic is a lot to ask.

The competition for traffic is very tight. It is not easy trying to make a dollar and stay within the White Hat rules of engagement. The lure of certain questionable methods in order to gain more exposure will sometimes be employed.

Admittedly, the lines between white and black can easily become blurred. When there are questionable traffic generating techniques available to use that get results, then quite often, some of these methods will be adopted as marketing tools.

The search engines want everyone to employ White Hat SEO so their visitors can find relevant information on what they are searching for. This is why they are called "search engines".

With more marketers fighting for exposure, questionable SEO tactics will always be used by some. In the end, it will be up to the Internet marketer to find it within them to monitor themselves, play by the rules and learn as much as they can about proper SEO methods.
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