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Last week at SES, I sat in on the Black Hat, White Hat session. The panelists gave their definitions of “white hat” and “black hat”, and then talked about particular techniques, such as paid links, and whether they thought they were OK or not. The panelists talked about shades of gray and the lack of rules and the need for experimentation.
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from Kimota 2252 Days ago #
Votes: 0

If I could Sphinn this one twice, I would!

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from JohnHGohde 2252 Days ago #
Votes: -1

How could a post from Vanessa Fox. Nude not go hot?  And, she even knows the correct meaning of SEO which is so much in dispute on Sphinn.  Simply amazing!

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from JohnHGohde 2252 Days ago #
Votes: -3

Where there it is.Paid links violate the guidelines (at least Google’s — the other engines aren’t quite as strict), so they can’t be considered a white hat technique.What is SEO?So what is white hat SEO? The panlists agreed it was about creating quality content — being the most relevant result for a desired query.Interesting how a former googler who actually wrote Google’s Webmasters Guidelines didn’t list link building as a crucial part of SEO?  I read VF’s comments as positively suggesting that both Black and Gray hat SEM(which doesn’t even exist) are not SEO.  I agree completely.

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from NickWilsdon 2252 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I like the way Vanessa clearly identifies hat-definition with compliance of SE guidelines. That should be compulsary reading for everyone. Black/Greyhat is only about ethics if you fail to be transparent with your client. Blackhat is definitely not "wrong", "evil" or "illegal" as some commentators try to suggest from time to time. That kind of thinking ends up with dumbass situations like this: http://sphinn.com/story/67855

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from DarkMatter 2251 Days ago #
Votes: 0

ehhh just like to point out that Google is OK with link buying for traffic, unless they have changed their position.

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from jonedwards 2251 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Like Saurav, I like the definition Vanessa offers - "To me, white hat is anything that doesn’t put the site at risk of being removed from the search index." I likes simple!

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from vanessafox 2251 Days ago #
Votes: 6

John, I do think link building is important and in fact, have done a few posts on it. But as you might imagine, I approach link building a bit differently than some. I think of link building as part of marketing rather than strictly part of SEO (although I do, of course, recognize that quality links are an important part of ranking). I recommend link building activities that raise awareness and attract customers (and put your great content out there in front of people who will want to spread the word and write about you). Hmm.. Perhaps I should write a post. ;)DarkMatter, this is the trouble with the phrase "paid links" I think. Buying links for traffic purposes is advertising and you’re right -- Google of course is fine with that. When people refer to "paid links" they generally mean buying links for PageRank, which is what I was referring to in my post. http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/12/information-about-buying-and-selling.html

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from Halfdeck 2251 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Its an interesting take, but I don’t define hat colors based on Google guidelines. There are cases where a site owner doesn’t violate any of Google’s guidelines but still manages to publish 100,000 spammy pages for monetary gain. There are hundreds of Google-compliant template driven RE sites out there, for example, that just serves as surfer traps.If you want to define hat colors by the level of risk, then I’d agree: you minimize risk by making sure your site violates no guidelines. And I appreciate Vanessa’s point that regardless of intention, some tactics can lead to penalties. And even the best-intentioned site may be impossible for Google to crawl.Still, I personally define hat colors by intent. To a certain extent, Google also does the same thing. Hidden text, or example, may not byself lead to a penalty if Google decides the intent is just to make the page look pretty.

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from JohnHGohde 2251 Days ago #
Votes: -1

@vanessafox"I think of link building as part of marketing rather than strictly part of SEO (although I do, of course, recognize that quality links are an important part of ranking)."Exactly!  I prefer to make a distinction between SEM and SEO.  Just because somebody who calls themselves an SEO, engages in marketing activities does not necessarily mean that marketing is a part of SEO anymore than knowing how to run a web server is.

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from linkmoses 2250 Days ago #
Votes: 1

You can fool the engines with your link building tactics for a while, but any link building approach driven by cracks and holes in an algo rather than by meritorous content, is dead.  D E A D.  Do your clients a favor, stop taking their money for tactics that you know will fail, and instead steer them towards a legitimate content based strategy.  If the client doesn’t want to hear it, say it L O U D E R.

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from ChrisOD 2250 Days ago #
Votes: 0

It’s a great definition of black vs white hat SEO.  My only problem with it is that it fragments what is black hat and what is not.For instance, I’ll buy some links for ranking purposes, but while that makes me a Google Black Hat, I’m still a pure virtuous Yahoo/Ask/MSN White Hat.  So does that make me a Grey Hat overall? ;o)And John, here’s a conundrum for you.  If you agree with Vanessa’s definition, and in particular agree that paid links are black hat SEO, is that not implicit that that links form an integral part of SEO in its most generic sense?

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from JohnHGohde 2250 Days ago #
Votes: -2

@ChrisODIf Vanessa Fox has not redefined SEO, than neither have I.  If Vanessa’s position on SEO is not outlandish, than neither is mine.  I have figured out what the real problem is, here.  And I have put my thoughts on the subject into a new Sphinn of mine.<div id="ls_thetitle-0" class="toptitle"> Reading Vanessa Fox on SEO Between the Lines </div>

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