White Hat SEO vs. Black Hat SEO: (In Less Than 100 Words)

white hat seo vs black hat seo

I’m trying to grow my investing knowledge because it’s critical for growing wealth overtime.

The current book I am digesting is The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham.

This book is one of Warren Buffet’s favorites.

Buffet claims to base his investing model on the principles laid out in the book. With a recommendation from the Warren Buffet, I felt I had to get it.

I was only about 37 pages in when I read a quote that related to white hat SEO vs black hat SEO.

Here it is:

“Imagine that two places are 130 miles apart. If I observe the 65-mph speed limit, I can drive that distance in two hours. But if I drive 130 mph, I can get there in one hour. If I try this and survive, am I “right”? Should you be tempted to try it, too, because you hear me bragging that it “worked”? Flashy gimmicks for beating the market are much the same: In short streaks, so long as your luck holds out, they work. Over time, they will get you killed.” – The Intelligent Investor

Remember that quote whenever you are trying to decide between using white hat or black hat SEO.

I have nothing against SEOs who use grey or black hat tactics.

In fact, I used to be one of those guys.

I just realized the time and effort I was spending was actually detrimental.

Both to my business and to my personal growth.

Having the ability to manipulate Google’s algorithm is not an evergreen skill.

What happens if Google goes out of business tomorrow?

What happens if Google unleashes a complete AI-based algorithm?

If your entire strategy relies on manipulating Google, then you will be in trouble.

You spent your time learning trickery instead of learning evergreen skills.

Evergreen skills that are not reliant on Google.

Evergreen skills that make you a great MARKETER.

Stop being a geek and obsessing over Google’s algorithm.

Change your mindset.

Start thinking about how to explode your business by giving insane amounts of value.

LEARN skills that will allow you to make money for the rest of your life.

Not for rest of Google’s life…

Here are evergreen skills that every SEO should learn:

  • How to create VALUABLE content
  • How to market your content
  • How to build relationships
  • How to grow an email list
  • How to write copy
  • How to sell

Notice that keyword research, on-site SEO, and social media are not on this list.

Are you wondering why?

Because understanding how to manipulate a third party website isn’t evergreen.

Google, Facebook, Twitter, and any other website can go out of business tomorrow…

You can use your evergreen skills to succeed on those platforms, but you must never RELY on them.

Your income should never be hog tied to something out of your control.

Do you think Gary Vaynerchuck wouldn’t be successful if social media didn’t exist?

Do you think Grant Cardone wouldn’t be successful if he wasn’t able to sell online?

Do you think Marie Forleo wouldn’t be successful if she couldn’t produce videos?

The answers are “NO”.

Vaynerchuck, Cardone, and Forleo would still be successful without those mediums.

They have developed evergreen marketing and sales skills that will last a lifetime.

Focus your effort on learning evergreen skills.

THEN, learn what it takes to be a successful white hat SEO.

To succeed in white hat SEO you need to develop the following skills:

  • How to do keyword research that actually produces ROI
  • How to develop SEO content around keywords that Google and your readers fall in love with
  • How to structure a site for search engines AND users
  • How to identify technical issues that are hurting user experience
  • How to get powerful backlinks through outreach
  • How to nurture relationships for continued content promotion and business growth

Don’t be a clown and say “all link building is black hat SEO”.

It’s not.

Reaching out to influencers and promoting your content is MARKETING.

Building your circle of influence is MARKETING.

The end results is more search engine traffic, more referral traffic, and more relationships.

Relationships that will help you grow your business.

Let me reiterate.

White hat SEO is simple:

  • Find great keywords
  • Create great content
  • Please your users
  • Build relationships

Listen to me.

Today is the day to think bigger.

Stop thinking about how can I make money quickly.

Start thinking about how you can make money for the rest of your life.

The compound effect is real.

Play the long game.

Remember this important fact:

Warren Buffet earned 99% of his wealth after his 50th birthday.

No, you don’t have to wait that long to be successful in SEO.

But you need to change your mindset from algorithm manipulator to business grower.

A funny thing will happen when you do this…

Your SEO results will explode.

My rant is complete.

Do you have something to say about this?

Leave a comment below and let’s keep the conversion going.

– Gotch

Nathan Gotch
Nathan Gotch

I’m the founder of Gotch SEO and my mission is to help you get the SEO results you’ve always wanted. Check out my new SEO case study. It shows you how we increased organic search traffic by 342% using a stupidly simple method.

Join the Conversation

  1. Continually impressed by you, Nathan. I learnt Black Hat initially and didn’t feel great about it. I’ve been slowly doing research and have been understanding the difference between the two. I really appreciate how you laid this content out.

  2. Hello NATHAN,
    In my view both the SEO techniques must be learnt by any SEO, but only White Hat must be tested and experimented on sites as its long term other then black hat.
    Thanks for sharing this brief guide,
    Best Regards;

  3. Hi Nathan,
    Great job, this post will really help to seo beginner to understand the difference between black hat and white hat seo. Keep updated thanks to much.

  4. Thank you very much for this post, it can be very effective post those who have started to learn seo, i will share this post in my circle. also will wait for your next post for white hat and black hat.

  5. Would you consider your blogger outreach service blackhat? Also, would you ever teir the blogger outreach service? For example, create TEN guest posts on 10 DA blogs point them to 1 DA 30 guest post and point that one guest post to your money site.

  6. Hi Nathan

    Thank u for your guidance. Very well said “Stop thinking about how can I make money quickly. Start thinking about how you can make money for the rest of your life.”

  7. hi, Nathan this is really interesting read and need to todays SEO. In changing world your primary skills and effort are much needed things and that should be your tricks and tactics that we generally use for manipulating SERP. It should be more focused on to users.


  8. I’d also add that Google likes length, more and more. So I post 2000 plus word articles twice a month instead of 500 words a week., on my money site.

  9. Hi Sheen,

    Thanks for the comment! I will have to respectfully disagree that you have to use churn and burn tactics on affiliate sites. Content-driven affiliate sites will compete with “churn and burn campaigns”. The only difference is that the content-driven website likely won’t end up getting penalized.

  10. Nathan you are right, But these strategies are good for only a brand site. It cannot apply for many affiliate sites as you know. Which are running short term campaigns and its not easy to “Please your users and Build relationships” its their nature. Theres only working strategy is churn and burn. That we loving this BH.(Honestly theres no hat, Every strategies to beat another person who ranked already. So theres no need to divide it to BH,GH,WH, Killing is always killing! ) IMO G or other SE’s not interested to know understand the difficulties and expenses of running a good quality website. Day by day the lead all of us to paid ads as like pied piper. So its almost a cat & mice game.

  11. You know it is funny, I have tried all sorts of things to rank in Google in the past and I have usually found that I concentrated so much on manipulating Google; I didn’t pay enough attention to conversion!

    Basically, I got people to my site =, but they were not interested in what I was talking about or it just didn’t provide what they wanted…so they left!!!

    After this happening to previous website and consequently having it slapped down by Google, I decided to focus my efforts fully, on proper and sustainable link building efforts, but this time with a proper attitude to content and writing what people want to read.

    I still believe in keyword research because I feel that if you find a good keyword, you are finding something that people are actively searching for, but when they find you, they need to be happy to have found you.

  12. Paul,

    I agree with that (partially). You still need to use basic SEO principles if you want to be successful, but it’s the right idea for sure. I’ve seen plenty of “awesome” businesses that get very little search engine traffic 😛

  13. Totally agree with your approach Nathan. I read a long time ago, not sure where, that the best way to “do SEO” was as if the SEs didn’t exist. I actually think it’s what they’re looking for too….

    Businesses with a strong brand online, giving lots of value to their potential customers.

    I see plenty of websites which have had little to no optimisation still rank well, albeit not super competitive phrases, because they’re well known or the best in their industry at what they do.

  14. Hi Sergio,

    Thanks for the comment! Your resources are best spent on content even when the budget is small. Content gets a better ROI than links over the long-haul

  15. Hi Nathan,
    Great article Nathan!
    One question: to write a good article and promote it involves a lot of work that maybe an average customer with little budget can´t afford… How would you make white hat SEO in these cases?
    Thank you very much in advance!

  16. Feels so good to come to your blog Nathan and read pure value content. Articles that keep my inspiration at it’s peak, instead of washing it over with negative “tactics”. Thank you so much, and congrats on your success.

  17. Hi Garit,

    Thank you for the comment.

    Answer: YOU can do whatever you want and take whatever path you want. I personally don’t believe the risk is worth it. In my opinion, it’s a waste of time learning non-evergreen black hat SEO skills that have no weight outside of Google’s search engine.

    Hope that makes sense

    – Gotch

  18. For me who is still within the time will decide which tactics to be applied, the article come at the right time. Thanks Nathan…

  19. We’ve heard these arguments before. I’m curious to see your blog post about why not to build a PBN.

    And as far as investing goes…George Soros and millions of other “technical” investors beat the market every day, and they have for years. Warren Buffet is a “value” investor who has the ability to buy out entire companies, and has for years.

    My question is: isn’t black hat a great way to get started, and worth the risk in a lot of situations? Or why can’t you use both white hat techniques with a PBN?

    As Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars once said, “Anakin, if one is to understand the great mystery [of SEO], one must study all its aspects, not just the dogmatic, narrow view of the Jedi. If you wish to become a complete and wise [SEO], you must embrace a larger view of the Force.”

  20. A really interesting article.

    We always try and stay very white hat with our approach, we write content, promote it, we write for other relevant websites on topics that relate to our niche. The issue we encounter is around diversity of the link profile, we’re only a small site so we don’t naturally “attract” links we have to work for each one which has meant a little too much guest posting, we’re not working on rectifying this!

  21. I like your article very much, nowadays, I always do black hat seo, I know it is a long term bussiness for white hat, for a non english speaking guy, do you know it is hard to do white hat seo?

  22. What a beautiful article! Stunning in fact! I simply love Buffet and Graham and I think you have done a great job explaining just how important it is to DO THINGS RIGHT… all the time! The moment we realise that success is building upon a solid foundation, then we will actually MAKE SUPERB PROGRESS!

    Nathan thank you for such a beautiful article and for taking your time to share it with us! WONDERFUL – may you build your wealth solidly!

  23. Carlos,

    Thanks for the comment! I would put private blog networks under the grey hat umbrella. Keep in mind that Google treats black and grey hat techniques the same way. Meaning, grey hat techniques like PBNs or web 2.0s can land you algorithmic or manual actions

  24. Hi Nadya,

    Thank you for the comment!

    Your statement is accurate. It is unlikely that Google or major social media platforms like Facebook will go out of business tomorrow. But just because they won’t, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare as if they could. The evergreen skills I listed will always keep you ahead of the game.

  25. Brian,

    Thanks for the comment! I agree with you. There is definitely a place for grey/black hat techniques – just not on businesses you really care about 🙂

  26. Nathan, these are very valid points. I so agree that speeding the things up is a poor strategy in the long term.

    However, I would say that when planning it is also good to pay attention to probabilities. The lower the probability of an unfortunate event the lower the risk. The probability Google goes out of business tomorrow is maybe 0.00000001%. The probability they roll out a complete AI algorithm tomorrow is maybe 1%. So, I would not put these two things in one basket and discard them at once.
    Relying on only one method/tool (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc) also increases risk because of the obvious reasons.

    I would say it is better to stay on the top of the things happening now and adjust the course of actions when something changes. After all, the world is changing every day, and new ways to do things appear every day, too 🙂
    Maybe I am wrong 🙂

  27. White hat is certainly the way to go for long term sustainable businesses. However, there is nothing wrong with a little black hat on affiliate or short term money making sites to keep you ticking over while you build up your long term businesses. Just don’t mix the two 🙂 I really enjoy your blog Nathan.

  28. This is great stuff! I’m glad I found and downloaded your building backlinks report. Yours is one list I will stay on; very helpful!

  29. Joe,

    Thank you for the comment! Ryan is definitely right. My high-end clients would have laughed me out of the room if I proposed building fake websites for links lol

  30. This is a profoundly relevant topic for agencies looking to provide sustainable services and/or work on an enterprise level. I met Ryan Stewart at an event last year and a comment he made still rings in my head: “Fortune 500 companies will think you’re a joke if you propose PBNs as a strategy.” Personally I relate strongly with experienced people like yourself who were originally in the trenches doing black hat. So keep those killer white-hat tactics coming, Gotch!

  31. I enjoyed the article and when I read “Stop being a geek and obsessing over Google’s algorithm.
    Change your mindset. Start thinking about how to explode your business by giving insane amounts of value” I breathed a sigh of relief. Best advice I’ve heard re: SEO in a long time. It’s common sense!

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