White Hat vs Black Hat by Rand Fishkin at SMX Sydney 2011 Thumbnail

White Hat vs Black Hat by Rand Fishkin at SMX Sydney 2011

I just attended SMX Sydney 2011 Day 1 and it was great. I wanted to write about some of the awesome tips shared during the expo. So my next few posts will be recaps of some of the sessions.

In this post I am going to go through Rand Fishkin’s presentation about white hat vs black hat.

Here is the screenshots from the SMX Sydney website outline the agenda for day 1. Rand was originally going to present Google vs Bing however decided white hat vs black hat was more topical and interesting.

White Hat vs Black Hat – Rand Fishkin CEO and Co-Founder SEOmoz

In this session Rand went through the advantages of white hat SEO and why it should be used over black hat. He gave 3 reasons why to use white hat and then went on to discuss 12 common black hat strategies and how they can be converted into more powerful white hat SEO strategies. Seeing these 12 strategies really hammers home the benefits of white hat SEO and reinforces the fact that no SEO or online marketer should be using any black hat techniques. I want to go through these 12 black hat converted to white hat strategies as they demonstrate how SEOs can combat black hat in a clever way.

    1) Crappy Pay to List Directories – Awesome Resource Lists
    There a so many low quality link directories out there that you need to pay to list in. They literally provide no real value so is a complete waste of time and money. Instead find higher quality places to gain links from using search. Here is a long list of link searches.

    2) Email Request to Rent Links – Email Requests to Create Content
    Instead of emailing webmasters and paying for links try emailing webmasters and offering to contribute real value content. You’ll most likely be able to have author box with a link back to your site.
    3) Sponsored WordPress Themes – Create Useful WordPress Themes and Plugins
    Sponsoring WordPress themes just involves paying a wordpress developer to add a link pointing to your site at the bottom of their theme which they offer out for free in free WordPress theme directories. Instead of doing this hire someone to build a useful WordPress theme or plugin that is relevant to your niche with a link back to your site. This can be a lot more cost-effective than you think and is possible even if you have no development skills as you can outsource using sites like http://www.freelancer.com.
    4) Fake Twitter Accounts – Build Highly Followed, Real Twitter Accounts
    Real twitter accounts provide value and engage in social conversation. A strong Twitter account with a lot of followers and high influence over those followers can be a very valuable asset and marketing channel for websites.
    5) Site wide Footer Links – Site wide Links to Partner Page
    A lot of sites have site wide footer links pointing to a whole array of different sites. A great white hat strategy is creating a partner page where you list your partners and write a description of what they do and your relationship with them. You can have site wide links linking to this partner page. This is much better for SEO as well as usability.
    6) Cloaking Text on a Page – Make that Content Visible in a CSS Tab
    A very common black hat strategy is cloaking text and hiding it from users. Instead of cloaking you can create CSS tabs which makes content visible to search engines and visible to users in a useful categorized manner. This can be seen on http://www.seomoz.org/features
    7) Reciprocal Link Pages – Give and Receive Testimonials
    Testimonials are very powerful for many reasons including SEO. Usually when you give a great testimonial to a product you love they will put it up on their product page with your photo and a link back to your website. This can be done both ways and is much more powerful than spammy reciprocal link pages.
    8 ) Automated Link Drop Spam – Authentic Comment Marketing
    There is nothing worst than seeing a blog filled with automatic link drop spam. This does nothing for the spammers or the blog. What is much better is to engage with blogs and build relationships. Spend time actually commenting and providing intelligent well though out ideas possibly with a link back to your site if it is useful.
    9) Falsified Facebook Like Buttons – Earn Facebook Shares
    This is a very sneaky tactic in that black hat SEOs will place an invisible floating Facebook Like button around the site tricking people into clicking it. Instead of doing that encourage people to Facebook Share your content. This is much more powerful then Liking as it literally shares a link to your site on their wall to all their friends
    10) Article Spinning – Content Syndication
    Automatic mass article m arketing and article spinning is horrible. It is low quality content blasted out to low quality sites. Instead encourage people to repurpose and republish your content with an author box including a link below it.
    11) Cloaking for Search Bots – Use Cookies/Logins to Show Varied Content Based on Behaviour
    Cloaking is one of the worst techniques ever because the risks are so high. Make sure that the default search visitor, non logged in experiences is the same as what search engines experience. You can change content based on cookies and logins.
    12) Using Link Brokers – Hire Inbound Marketer
    Paid links are a waste of time and money. Instead spend that money on inbound marketing tactics like writing awesome linkable content, guest blogging for other sites, creating awesome viral infographics, answering questions on Q&A site and building strong Twitter accounts and Facebook fan pages.

These are the 12 black hat converted to white hat SEO strategies that Rand shared with us. Always keep in mind black hat is ruining the entire SEO industry and is a lazy, short tem approach to building businesses on the web.

Below are Rand’s slides for his presentation.

White vs. Black Hat SEO

View more presentations from Rand Fishkin

If someone would like to write about other SMX Sydney 2011 sessions feel free to. You can go through and register an account (http://www.seomistry.com/signup) and click Contribute in the navigation above to write a guest post.

Alaister Low

About the Author

has written 28 articles on SEOmistry.

Alaister is the creator of SEOmistry. He is a SEO and Online Marketing web strategist. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

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One response to "White Hat vs Black Hat by Rand Fishkin at SMX Sydney 2011"

  • Quora says:

    What are some SEO techniques that are considered black hat SEO?…

    I actually wrote a post about black hat seo. It was a summary of a presentation I heard at SMX Sydney 2011. It was about converting common black hat SEO techniques into effective white hat techniques. I come from the perspective that black hat should n…

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