When you hear the term Black Hat being used or said, do you think of fashion or picture an actual hat? If so, then you probably aren’t an Online Marketer.
Black Hat Marketing is a term used to define people who do things that are well below the level of looked well upon. It applies to virtually every form of Online Marketing and usually involves dirty or sneaky tactics. Usually, Black Hat Marketers can make a ton of money very quickly, but their business models, for the most part, do not last long and sometimes they find themselves getting into a ton of trouble.
So what makes someone or something black hat?
That really depends on who you talk to. Some people will consider bidding on other people’s trademarks in Google Black Hat when in reality, it is a crappy practice, but really in my opinion Gray Hat Marketing.
In Affiliate Marketing, some people consider Affiliates that use toolbars to light up or flash when they hit a Merchant’s site black hat while others consider it white hat or gray hat. It really depends on your perspective and how you are doing it. Other times, Affiliates may use pop up windows and ads over Merchant’s sites or iFrames to stuff cookies on your computer and those are looked at as Black or Gray Hat, but then again, depending on you talk to this could be legit or somewhere in between.
For me, the above Affiliate Practices are Black Hat, but in reality they could do a lot more.
For SEO, Black Hat can start with just writing a code to post a million backlinks to your site or just set 20 or 30 a day with different keywords highlighted. Google Bowling can also be considered black hat if the intention is to knock a competitor out of their SERPs and then replace them with your sites or your company’s sites.
Black is a huge part of Online Marketing and whether you are for or against it, one thing you have to remember is that it is there and you never know if you are talking to someone who uses Black Hat or even just uses a couple of Gray Hat Techniques to drive sales or beat their competitors. I recently learned this lesson the hard way by trusting a few people online, but just as quickly as they tried to out maneuver me on a few keywords and with a strategy I taught them, I quickly countered it and got my positions back.
It is important to know how to do Black Hat and what people are out there doing so that you can not only help to protect yourself from it, but also your Clients and your Company.
Today was kind of a rough day that got me thinking about a lot of things, especially when I saw a few things that I disagree with become a legitimate reality and go from Black to White by people I trust. I also got invited to join a group for Black Hat Marketers and ended up accepting because hey, if you don’t know what they are up to, they can and chances are will hurt you.
I don’t endose Black Hat and don’t agree with it, but I do encourage you to learn as much as you can about it so that you can protect yourself from it, because regardless of if we use Black Hat Methods or not, they are out there and you have to know how to stop it from effecting your business.