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Ethical marketing, also referred to as White Hat marketing, is the practice of using marketing techniques in which not only improve search engine ranking but also increase traffic, sales, and improve the user (Webpage visitor) experience.
There are many different options when considering which Internet marketer to use and it is important to know how to choose the right one for you without getting tricked into hiring someone who offers quick results, that in the end could have your website BANNED from Google and other search engine giants (referred to as Google throughout this article for simplicity). If your website doesn't get banned or you are able to get the ban lifted as you were unaware of the tactics being used, you may still marked as a spam site or be permanently penalized and never be able to reach the number 1 search engine result.
It sounds severe but Google is not playing when it comes to checking for the quality of websites and their optimization efforts.
We are going to discuss how to avoid getting marked as a spammer, having your website penalized or even banned a bit later in this article, it isn't as difficult as it may seem and although it is a bit more time intensive than unethical marketing the reward in the long run is well worth the invest of time and effort.
The first step to avoiding these penalties would be to avoid marketers who claim to be able to get you ranked in the top 10, without paid inclusion, and those offering a ranking guarantee. These marketers are most likely to be unethical and could potentially be using spam marketing techniques in which could land you with permanent penalties or being banned.
Why is a top 10 ranking guarantee not a good thing?
The thought of being in the top 10 within a short time frame and with a money back guarantee sounds fantastic - in fact it sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? That is because such a guarantee comes with a huge risk that your website will be penalized, marked as spam, or even banned. The marketers offering such guarantees are often using Black Hat marketing methods. Black Hat is the term used by among fellow marketers to identify unethical marketers and their techniques.
The marketers claiming quick ranking and offering guarantees do so with not only unethical means, but also by using keywords and phrases that the customer choose, which can be a fatal error.
Valuable keywords and phrases bring in human customers to your site who will buy your products or services, and return to continue buying from you in the future. These words and phrases are what your customers are using to find your competition, which is why it is unrealistic to believe in zero competition keywords and phrases. There are better combinations than others, making them less competitive, which is why research is so unbelievably important, only so can find the right keywords to use and not waste your time and efforts.
Having a top 10 ranking does not mean you automatically mean that you will get website visitors that will buy from you. As an example, I had a potential client contact me on three different occasions asking me to look at their site as they were ranked in the top 5 for 'their' keywords (keywords they provided to the marketer that were not researched) and they were getting over 10,000 daily visitors, however, they were averaging only $100 in sales per month. What happened here is that the keywords attracting the visitors to their site were not being used by their customers. Meaning, when someone visited the site from the search engines they quickly left again as it wasn't what they were looking for, the keyword choices were not 'valuable', and as such the top rankings were not providing real results because the visitors were not converting into customers. This potential client ended up on page 3 2 weeks later as they could not believe their choice of keywords and phrases were incorrect for their target customers. A painful and expensive lesson to learn.
What is Black Hat (unethical) Marketing and why is it so dangerous?
Black Hat Marketing is the use of aggressive strategies, techniques, and tactics to reach high rankings in a short amount of time. These strategies, techniques, and tactics are unethical as they focus on the search engines and are not built for Webpage visitors, as such they usually do not obey search engine rules.
Some marketers are unaware that they are using Black Hat techniques; others are well aware they are taking a risk and do so as a means of a quick financial return. Google knows the methods being used though and will act quickly and harshly when they are discovered on your Webpages.
Here are 10 examples of Black Hat techniques that you should avoid:
- Using text that is too small for a human to read
- Using text in the same color as the background, in which humans cannot see.
- DHTML spamming – using code to hide text from human visitors
- Creating or altering Webpage text to contain the keywords but making little to no sense to a human reader.
- Link Farming
- Social Media Spamming
- Using Keyword Stuffing /Spam techniques in the page titles, keyword and description META tags
- Using machine generated content
- Using Hidden Links
- Website Cloaking
There are, of course, many other techniques that are unethical and in which the search engines penalize for. Make sure your selected marketer knows what they are to look out for and which methods they are not to use before you give them the go-ahead to do your marketing campaign, and remember when it comes to the value of your website and marketing efforts, trust is good but control is better.
Matt Cutts, Software Engineer for Google, suggests that Webmasters should ask themselves the following questions:
- Does your Web page's content help end users?
- Would you perform this optimization strategy if the search engines did not exist?
Answering these two questions can help you make changes to your website in a more conscious and safer manner.
For those of you who may be interested to know why ethical marketing is called White Hat marketing and unethical marketing is called Black Hat marketing; it goes back to old cowboy westerns that were shown in black and white, in these movies the good guys wore a "white hat" and the bad guys wore a "black hat".
There is no such thing as a top 10 ranking promise, nor is there a ranking guarantee. Internet marketing is a complex matter; it can take days or even weeks to see the results of any changes made as Google does not spider and rank every Webpage on a daily bas
Using ethical white hat marketing techniques, tactics, and strategies is the only way to guarantee that your Webpages will have a long term ranking and not be penalized, marked as spam, or even banned from search engines. Make sure your marketing efforts are made to improve your website for your visitors and not for search engines, then everything should be fine!
Cassandra Patton is a Certified Professional Internet Marketer, she is also the Chief Marketing Officer and Campaign Manager of Campaign Promotions, an international marketing company that uses ethical white hat marketing in order to market the Products, Books, Services, Individuals and Businesses in which sign on for Promotional Campaigns.