This is an extract of an email I once wrote to a client explaining why their request for “White Hat” SEO wasn’t going to work for them.

Read Part 1 Here

As a professional SEO, I’d say that I’m one of the best in the world. SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimisation” and is a buzzword and common practice by modern businesses to get customers by attracting more traffic online from Google and maybe other search engines, by making sure their website comes up at the top for whatever search queries people are typing.

Some people think there are legit ways (white-hat) of doing it, and non-legit (black hat) ways.

Most people just read up online and consider themselves experts, but they’re not. They’re self-proclaimed and don’t have the depth of understanding required. Most people don’t think at all. 99% of the industry are unqualified cowboys.

I wish there could be a university course for SEO, but there can’t be. And even if there was, it would be completely out of date within 6 months of being developed.

Anyway, here’s the email:

Hi Jan,

Sorry for the late response.

Most big (and even small) SEO companies deliver a proposal or strategy similar to this one:

If you read that document, you’ll see all the usual “SEO” jargon/buzzwords thrown around, such as “content creation”, “social media syndication” “infographic creation” – this rhetoric is mostly just a marketing tactic, especially when it pertains to smaller startups and businesses that heavily rely on ranking for certain, profitable search terms.

SEO by nature is adversarial. Both with your competitors and Google. I can’t really go into too much depth here as I’ll be publishing these ideas in a few upcoming articles and also giving a talk about it that will be recorded and available online.

These “white hat” strategies that everyone talks about are not really SEO. If this is what you’re after, you’re better off hiring a PR person or marketer. The reason being, good marketing eventually leads to backlinks which result in higher rankings. But is it really SEO? No. It’s just good marketing and public relations. For example – if you got featured on Techcrunch, or some sporting enthusiast website, and those articles had a backlink to your website, you would immediately get a great ranking boost. But would you rather pay a Marketer/PR guy to do this for you, or a self-proclaimed SEO “expert”?

Essentially, pure SEO is about search algorithm manipulation. It’s about ranking for keywords that are going to make you money. Keywords that you would otherwise have to pay Google Adwords to show up for.

So in this sense, pure, real SEO is adversarial in nature. Of course, Google would rather you pay them for their traffic than get it for free. This is why methods that used to be considered white hat, year by year, are outlined to be against Google’s policy. They will essentially ban anything that works too well. Back in the day “guest posting” was considered a white hat method. It worked too well – so Google banned it.

Modern “white hat” SEO isn’t SEO anymore. It’s marketing. It’s putting out content in the hopes that someone will link to your site, and therefore give you a ranking boost. And while this may work for huge companies with huge budgets, it’s just not relevant for most businesses.

If you went with a “white hat” plan, your results would be slow at best and quite possibly costly.
Some companies will actually use black hat tactics and not tell you about it.

You said “no use of methods or strategies breaching Google guidelines/ unethical”. No such methods are really “unethical”… however Google’s wouldn’t approve of our methods, because they are effective and cut into their AdWords revenues.

If you have the budget, I definitely recommend a “white hat” SEO strategy. Done by a great marketer – which we are, and we can also do this for you.

But simultaneously, our professional recommendation is to do this in unison with a real SEO program, to guarantee your ROI.

Also – SEO is never a one-off assignment. It’s more like, we keep trying different things until something works, and then keep doing that thing to keep you ranking. Once you stop, your ranking will gradually drop.

You said you wanted to shortlist 10 or so keywords. From the basic keyword research I did, the keywords I already outlined are the best ROI for you, at least to start with. Ranking for the others Lucia suggested would give you no benefit because their search volume is less than 10 searches per month.


This is just the tip of the ice-berg; stay tuned for more articles about what conclusions I came to and what I discovered after working in the SEO industry (running an SEO company, one of the few effective companies ever created in the entire world) for many years.

I don’t usually take on clients anymore due to a vast number of problems which I will outline in this series – if you are interested in getting good SEO results, I suggest you book me for a consultation. I can give you the advice and information you need to find the right person with the right strategy to execute your SEO plan for you.

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