What hat would win in a fight?

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#1
Sorry for the clickbaity title.

I'm talking about white hat vs black hat. Now I know in Google's eyes there is no such thing as a true white hat. All SEO is trying to game the system in a way.

I'm not looking for a debate that's going to go round in circles.

What I'd love to hear is whether you have swapped all your black hat tactics for white hat (or just some of them), and if so why?

What black hat tactics cannot be beaten?

Do you think white hat is always the best choice?

Look forward to hearing your thoughts
 

Ryuzaki

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#2
What I'd love to hear is whether you have swapped all your black hat tactics for white hat (or just some of them), and if so why?
I started out with real marketing, then went black hat, then went back to white hat promotion. When I say 'black hat,' I mean the kind that most people mean, not the true black hat that involves illegal activities.

When I got serious about scaling, I went the spam route until Google cleaned that up. Then I went the PBN route till Google cleaned that up. I've been 100% white hat for 4-5 years now.

The reason for that is... all you can really get away with these days is churning and burning when you spam and use PBN's. If I wanted to constantly have to start over and rebuild and intervene in the same things over and over I'd just get a day job. I wanted the stability and dependability of a real project that only considers Google as a part of it's operation, not the sole focus.

Now that I've been skating through the updates that otherwise would have kept wiping me out, my life is a million times better.

Do you think white hat is always the best choice?
No. It depends on your goal. If you're building a real brand that will have longevity then yes, it's always the best choice. If you have a business in some shifty industry like payday loans, you better be spamming and pumping out replacements on a conveyer belt.

Sometimes there's events where spamming can get you to the top at just the right time to rake in the majority of the money out there, then you crash right when it stops mattering. I remember the Dog Snuggie contest when @secretagentdad came in at the last minute with some well-timed spam and either won or got 2nd place or so. It was timed perfectly to get that initial spike before the algorithm ruined it.

But even with a white hat operation you could use methods like that on parasites to get brand recognition, without letting it lead back to your site through a link.

But as far as your main property goes, keeping it clean is always the best option.

Black hat guys currently would be wise to have at least one white hat operation going. I've been telling some of the top spammers on the planet that for literally almost a decade and almost nobody heeded my warning. Most of them don't make any money spamming any more. They do consulting, agency work, sell PBN posts that get deindexed, etc. The black hat game isn't like it was and it's only going to get worse and worse. The window of opportunity keeps closing more and more.

I remember a thread on here that I can't find where it talked about the window of opportunity getting smaller, but how algorithms always have a vulnerability, and that vulnerability has to be moved around. So once the 'target' is small enough, Google just waits till people find it, move it, and penalize everyone exploiting it. It was compared to The Matrix movie and how The One was the anomaly in the algorithm that was allowed to exist only to be wiped out, over and over again, because that's just how algorithms work. So the anomaly is used as a honey pot instead.
 
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#3
Thanks for your reply, that's incredibly helpful.

If you have a business in some shifty industry like payday loans, you better be spamming and pumping out replacements on a conveyer belt.
Have you or do you know of anyone having success ranking in traditionally spammy/black hat verticals using white hat techniques?
 

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#4
Discussions like this inevitably focus on tactics. In reality, it's an issue of mindset, resolve, and aggression. Let me explain.

Every time I've known someone that was a card-carrying white hat, I've always seen precisely 2 things from them. 1) They lacked aggression and drive. 2) They were never the type to always be looking for things to exploit.

It's a behavioral thing. It has to do with what drives people. Someone that has the "blackhat" mentality can always learn to do things whitehat. On the opposite side, though, not every whitehat has what it takes to push the limits and become a blackhat.

It's like people going to the gym, saying, "I just want to tone my muscles. I don't want to get too big!" In reality, they don't actually have what it takes to grow substantial muscle. That shit doesn't just happen on it's own. It happens from ruthless application of fundamentals by truly enterprising individuals. Ruthless being the key word.

The thing people need to remember is, the algorithms and competition we all struggle against are built by HUMANS. There will always be flaws. There will always be overlooked deficiencies. There will always be ways to exploit those for significant profit.
 

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#5
Have you or do you know of anyone having success ranking in traditionally spammy/black hat verticals using white hat techniques?
No. You can start white hat but if you see any success you'll immediately be dragged into the black hat territory unwillingly by people trying to negative SEO you.
 
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#6
It's a behavioral thing. It has to do with what drives people. Someone that has the "blackhat" mentality can always learn to do things whitehat. On the opposite side, though, not every whitehat has what it takes to push the limits and become a blackhat.
This is very interesting. I've not really thought about it like this before. But it makes sense. Can you recall a moment that triggered a shift to this mindset? Or has this just been a natural progression as you've developed?

No. You can start white hat but if you see any success you'll immediately be dragged into the black hat territory unwillingly by people trying to negative SEO you.
Being dragged back to black hat territory reminds me of something...

 
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#7
It depends on your goals and tactics. I've made a few hundred grand in the last few years purely from white hat stuff. I've never bought a link, dabbled in PBNs--none of that. But perhaps I'd have grossed a few mil or more in the same time from darker hats; who knows? I don't lose sleep over it. There's always something you could do to make more money than you already are, if that's the priority.
 

turbin3

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#8
@jxs, it's just the way I've always been. Always some sort of "unease" in the back of mind. Just never quite satisfied enough. I'm no one special though, especially compared to some of the ballers here that have done far more than I could ever hope to.

I just wanted to clarify, please don't take any of my comments to say I'm ragging on whitehat, or saying "blackhat is the only way". These days, the way search algorithms are shaping up, the search engines are increasingly doing a better job of rewarding things that encourage good quality. Most of what I do these days is whitehat, because I've become much more interested in building long term assets versus the typical churn and burn. That said, it's always nice to keep an eye on things to exploit for fun and profit! :smile:
 
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#9
What hat would win in a fight? What are the "win conditions" of the fight?

If they weren't allowed to interfere with each other, white hat would win because black hat would get deindexed or penalized eventually. black hat always loses by attrition.

If they were allowed to interfere, white hat would win. Black hat would negative SEO white hat until they noticed and started taking action to do daily disavows. In the mean time, black hat would eventually get deindexed or penalized. White hat would win by coddling their project.

Black hat projects can reign supreme, but only for a moment in time. But if you can do that frequently enough, it might win if money is the goal. Until the white hat site makes its exit at 33x the monthly earnings. Then it might be a tight race.
 
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#10
If they weren't allowed to interfere with each other, white hat would win because black hat would get deindexed or penalized eventually. black hat always loses by attrition.
I have black hat sites that has outlived all of the google algo changes, it's just amatter of how you set your black hat campaigns up, but yes the lazy "blackhat's" how just buys pbn's of some forum or even worse fiverrr and the llikes would eventually get deindexed or penalized.

Black hat would negative SEO white hat until they noticed and started taking action to do daily disavows.
Funny thing is a lot of the people who on certain forums, that shall be nameless here, don't know how to do propper neg. seo they think that fireing gsa or se nuke or what ever the latest spam tool is called at their competition still works, and it does only not as negative seo, even google has publicly said that links are not by them selves a negative ranking factor nor will they demote a site, the thing though that could hurt the white hat is using the disavow tool, especially if they haven't taken the time to look under the hood of a link spam attack, because again if they are done right thy could hurt you and in that case by all means use the disavow tool and see if it helps.
And Remember there are far more effective ways to do negative seo than link spam.


What hat would win in a fight? What are the "win conditions" of the fight?
This I agree with, it's never easy to pick a winner without setting the conditions.