Online marketing has become such a fierce battleground, that some SEO firms use deceptive black hat techniques to get their clients results which are not natural or legal, according to search engines. Recently these practices became news recently, when a nationwide retailer allegely got busted for juicking its Google search results. While most SEO firms are ethical there are some bad apples in the tree. These does not mean the SEO tree is bad.
Some SEO firms promised unrealistic results to clients in order to get a contract or please the client. The problem with most SEO firms is they don’t do a good job of educating their clients on the SEO practices both legal (white hat) and illegal (black hat).
In general black hat techniques are illegal practices used to obtain higher rankings on search engines. These shady practices try to “trick” or “gamed” search engines by making a website ranked higher than it actually should. While you may trick search engines in the short term, search engine eventually find out of these shady practices and penalized you or worse banned you from their rankings.
White hat techniques take longer to get the desired results, but are legal and will not artificially promote your website.
Explaining this to clients can take courage and patience. Some clients simply want quick results, no matter how you get them. While we all want to get paid, ethical and principles should come to play. Before I go on, I can already hear the shouts of some SEO consultants screaming there is no such thing as ethical SEO. The way I look at it, I can sleep at night without feeling remorse about something I did at work.
As SEO consultants, we need to have the courage to tell the client “no, we cannot do that”. Most of the time this can be done educating on the do and don’t of SEO. If the client still insist of implementing a shady practice, then it’s probably best to walk away at that point.
SEO is a very difficult and unappreciated work. Most SEO firms work really hard and companies get their money’s worth. Next time your SEO firm tells you to be patience to get the results you want, there is a reason for that.