News Courtesy of SearchEngineLand.com:
For many years now, there has been an ongoing debate in the search engine optimization (SEO) world about whether “black-hat” or “gray-hat” tactics — that is, techniques that attempt to achieve quicker results by flouting the search engines’ guidelines — are acceptable.
While many commentators take a moralistic tone around this issue, I prefer to look at it in terms of risk. If you are willing to risk a Google penalty for the possible payoff of quicker or better rankings, then go for it! Just don’t be surprised when Google gets wise to what you’re doing and your traffic takes a nose dive! Doesn’t matter if it’s months or years later; expect to pay the piper.
This sums up my feelings about SEO perfectly. When it comes to ranking a website for targeted keywords, I don’t judge others how they achieve that goal. After all, it’s not about breaking the law. Rather, it has to do with trying to fool Google. Is it worth the risk of getting your website blacklisted or penalized? That’s the main question that needs to be asked.
For clients of mine, there is no way I would jeopardize their website with black hat or grey hat SEO techniques. Yes, it’ll make it extremely hard to pitch SEO services to prospective clients. They, of course, want to see their rankings climb ASAP. However, if you explain thoroughly and manage expectations, they can be sold on a long-term plan that will offer a great return on investment.
Now for personal websites of mine, such as an affiliate website. I’m willing to take somewhat of a risk. Of course, I wouldn’t be so bold as to take chances with a Private Blog Network, but more grey hat style techniques are fair game. Imagine building a niche website with great content, and having it rank for high volume keywords in the span of 6 months. If done correctly, you could be earning hundreds or even thousands of dollars in commissions. If the website gets penalized, you typically have a chance to remove any of the things causing a penalty as advised in Google Webmaster Tools. In the case of being completely blacklisted, well I suppose you just got too greedy.
So my advice for those who are trying to rank quickly for specific keywords? If it is your website or business and you understand the risks, give it a shot. If you’re doing work for a client or friend, take the slow and steady approach. The risk of damaging your reputation is just too great. It’s better to have a consistent SEO campaign and be patient.