So while waiting for my pre-workout to kick in before the gym, I wandered over to Black Hat World and found a thread where people were discussing a topic that has been beat to death with thousands of other threads before. The topic was “Does White Hat SEO Work?” and of course we saw a barrage of conflicting responses.
So I thought I would add my own thoughts here in an article whether or not White Hat SEO works. Anyway my answer is a resounding YES, and here’s why.
What Is White Hat SEO?
White Hat SEO is to me the lack of any sort of link building at all. It is not building only “clean links”, it means no link building at all.
The only caveat is links you get from social media. Obviously every time you put your stuff out there via social media a link is created, but I do not count these (nor does Google really) as backlinks.
So for the purpose of this article my definition of White Hat SEO is only creating content and then posting on various social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to get the word out.
Why It Doesn’t Work For Affiliates
I think White Hat SEO gets a bad reputation from affiliates because frankly it doesn’t work for them most of the time. Here are a few main reasons why affiliates fail miserably at White Hat SEO.
Creating Pages Solely Around Keywords
Most affiliates create their website content solely around keywords. They fire up their Google Ads Keyword Planner or whatever keyword research tool they have and find keywords with the best ratio of search volume to SEO competition.
Then they write some generic article around their keyword lists or pay some cheap writer to create some fluff content for them for $10 an article. They slap 20 of these articles together and add their affiliate links and ta-da, an affiliate website is born.
It should come as no surprise that a trash website created like this will not be a “earned link magnet”. This website is written for Google, it’s not made for people.
Is creating content around researched keywords important? Of course. However it’s important that you also create other content that people actually want to read.
If your website is just full of articles around topics like “Best Laptop Reviews 2021” and “How To Build A Computer For Gaming”, while these may be useful to some, it can’t be the only type of content you have.
The websites with the strongest link profiles are those that create content with the reader in mind. And guess what, sometimes this content doesn’t revolve around a search volume number.
Great websites sometimes write articles to purely entertain, and the majority of affiliate websites do not have these types of articles, and thus don’t earn any links naturally. Thus they fail miserably, and White Hat SEO gets a bad rep.
They Don’t Have Enough Patience
Obviously creating a site with no link building means it’s likely that you’ll be waiting a while before that search engine traffic starts pouring in. However for affiliates this is also compounded by the lack of patience most of them have.
I’m not necessarily speaking about just the wait, but I’m also referring to the amount of content creation before you see results.
For example most affiliates who set out with good intentions on creating a “white hat site” will write about 50 articles, and then when a tsunami of traffic doesn’t come in, they’ll just give up.
The fact of the matter is it takes at least 150-200 articles in my experience to have a wide enough net to pick up that first batch of long-tail search queries. Yet how many affiliates can make it to the 150-200 article threshold before seeing results? Hardly any.
Most Don’t Utilize Social Media
I also think the majority of affiliates fail at White Hat SEO because they solely rely on search engine traffic. Most affiliate marketers tend to focus more on SEO and gaming Google over social media when it comes to promoting their websites.
They just write their content and pray Google starts showing them love. However this is a recipe for disaster too!
I think if you’re not going to be actively link building, you still need to get the word out about your website via places like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You need to get your content in front of people so that they can link to it on their own.
Again I don’t think promoting your website via social media constitutes “link building”, and to be honest it is an essential part of a successful White Hat SEO strategy.
Should You Do White Or Black Hat SEO?
As I wrote in a previous post on link building whether you do white or black hat SEO should be a matter of choice based on your goals.
To oversimplify things, do black hat for short-term gains, and white hat for long-term gains (duh).
Again every affiliate has different goals and different financial situations, so evaluate your own needs and risk tolerance and go from there.