Some SEO specialists are always trying to find holes in search engine’s algorithm and take advantage of it instead of understanding the culture of Google and others and playing along with them. While this may give short term advantage, it makes websites dependant on these tricks and creates a necessity to constantly change and adapt. Just as someone doing something illegal needs to hide and change location, mobile phone number and clothes… The inevitable end is that the authorities will some day track him down.
Some naive companies are hiring SEO agencies that use these dirty tricks and although they didn’t know anything about it, they become dependant on them. Most medium and big companies can invest on SEO on a regular basis but for small ones this can be tough some times. If they ever stop using them they may find themselves in trouble since the card castle will fall with a weak blowing wind on the next Google update. Grey hat SEO techniques may become Black hat in a month, a week or even days and SEO agencies that are in the loop of Google news can usually act quickly and re-adapt their strategy to avoid getting their clients penalized. What if you don’t have an SEO agency taking care of your online presence anymore? Or if you change agencies and the current one doesn’t know the full details on the previous strategy?
Furthermore, some of these Grey hat strategies are sometimes abstract and haven’t been tested thoroughly, usually just part of a belief, thought, theory or something that “looks like it’s working” and they may be a big risk to take.
SEO shouldn’t be targeted on what currently works best to show up first on Google but on what the philosophy of Google is. This way you can ensure accumulative long term results and benefits without worrying about algorithm changes and penalization updates.
As an example, today someone called at the company I’m contracting for. They were an SEO agency experts in online marketing offering 300 manual submissions to web directories, 75 links to social networks and 6 articles posted to 25 websites every month for only £150. Seriously? This strategy of inflating websites in such an artificial way will end up exploding in a glimpse, specially now that Google is punishing cheaters harder than ever. My recommendation has been to avoid them completely and spend the £150 in getting a great article from a professional content editor instead, something that people find interesting and talk about, something that fulfils a purpose and an action as in this Effective SEO article.
Focus on what Google wants which is nothing else than improving the Internet and the overall user experience: provide people with the information they are searching for in a quick, efficient and comfortable way. Carrying out this simple strategy will become long term SEO results and constant changes to Google algorithm will not harm you, they will actually help you as Google keeps penalizing your naive competitors.