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A Black Hat Debate At SES Chicago

Panelists find fault with Google

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This is the time of year when morality becomes mainstream; just try going a day without hearing references to "naughty," "nice," a scrooge, or a grinch.  It seems appropriate, then, that at SES Chicago, there was a session called "Black Hat, White Hat: Does It Really Matter Anymore?"

(Coverage of SES Chicago continues at WebProNews Videos.  Keep an eye on WebProNews for more notes and videos from the event this week.)

Rand FishkinThe session kicked off with an attempt to define the term "black hat."  Rand Fishkin, the CEO of SEOmoz.org, believes the meaning constantly changes.  White hat is an approach that is definitely supported by search engines, he said.  Black hat is anything that isn’t favored by search engines.

Bruce Clay, the president of Bruce Clay, Inc., later added that black hat and spam are not the same.  And Todd Friesen, the vice president of search at Position Technologies, pointed out that black hat tactics still give users what they want: a good experience.  They just don’t follow Google’s rulebook.

This led to a discussion of Google’s style of oversight.  Fishkin compared the company to a parent that doesn’t provide feedback.  He, Clay, and Matt Bailey, who’s the founder and president of SiteLogic, criticized the way in which Google forces people to educate themselves about what is and isn’t allowed, too.

David NaylorLater, the conversation turned to Google’s implementation of real-time search, and whether what SEOs can do with it is black hat.  The panel leaned towards "yes."  David Naylor, Bronco‘s SEO, said that Google’s under a lot of pressure, and that its introduction of this feature is risky, possibly leading to real-time spam (or worse – see Rae Hoffman’s post on the issue).

If Google screws up, Bing will win, Naylor then asserted, continuing, "The arrogance may be the thing that pushes them off the chair."

WebProNews Reporter/Anchor Abby Johnson contributed to this report.

Related Articles:

> Media Tactics For Ranking In Real-Time Search

> The Future Of Online PR

> Showtime For Real-Time Search With Google

A Black Hat Debate At SES Chicago
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  • http://www.newsuperhuman.com Dan

    Google is a lot more than arrogant. They are the most dangerous threat to the free flow of information in world history.

    It is imperative that Google not have a monopoly on search, which is the free flow of information.

    Boycott Google, or the divide between the have and the have nots will continue to grow. Google is turning into a force of evil, which means it not only has a virtual monopoly on search – read “information” – it increasingly favors those who can pay for their services. This is the very antithesis of Democracy – which is equality of “voice” or “vote” – and is the origin of evil.

    If you support true Democracy, boycott Google, and stop their very clever and subtle censorship of information before it’s too late.

    You saw how quickly the forces of fascism in the Bush administration rose up and bankrupted America. These fascist thieves stole trillions of dollars from the US economy, which we will be paying back for years to come. It can happen at any time, and we musn’t become complacent.

    Campaigns to “block Google” have already started. Join the movement and support the free flow of information and the true voice of Democracy.

    You will know just how evil Google can be by visiting my site at www.NewSuperHuman.com. I have Google Adsense ads on my site as of this writing, but when Google sees this message they will probably close my account, which is tantamount to censorship of information, or fascism (for a company that has a 70% monopoly on search).

    If you visit my site and do NOT see Google AdSense ads, you know the fascist censor has exacted revenge and closed my AdSense account for no reason other than I speak the truth.

  • http://www.make-a-great-website.com Jacob Godwin

    Dude, I don’t even see your site. Nothing but a 404 error page.

    You can’t blame Google for that one.

  • http://ldii-sidoarjo-jawatimur.blogspot.com/ ldii

    Great analysis. I think Google is wise enough so far. It’s helped many people in the world freely. Google is always leading for it’s progressive tools and focus vision. We have to just follow it’s simple guidelines.

  • Guest

    Google is far from evil, and their methodologies and ideology are about as far from fascism as really anything on the planet has ever been. Sure, their search algorithms favor those capable of creating relevant content and generating traffic, BUT, so does every other search engine. And, quite frankly, search would be largely worthless without using this method. If your pages aren’t showing up in Google, there is probably something you are doing wrong — i.e. pushing spam, having low to zero traffic or useful content, etc.. Further, Google isn’t going to close your Adsense account because of your comments here… that’s just absurd. If you really think Google cares that much about what you do, that they are going to actively follow your posts and make actions based on it, you have some major ego problems. Lastly, the whole idea of Google — to provide access to the most Relevant and Popular information available — is, in essence, democratically provided information. That is, Google finds what is relevant to your search, then it provides you with the most popular first — along with everything else it found (that isn’t clearly malicious).

    I, and I’m sure millions upon millions of others, will not be boycotting Google with you because 1. Google is not at all evil, and 2. you are either a complete tool, and/or you know nothing about Google or how search algorithms work.