To hat or not to hat, that is the question. With apologies to William Shakespeare, this blog is about all the color hats you hear about when businesses discuss SEO.

The truth is that all SEO is black hat. The color hats are just labels given to SEO practices by ignorant judges who hide their ignorance behind colors. The hat colors strike an emotional response with people because everyone wants to be the good guys in the white hats, or deal with the good guys. Most pros don’t use these terms because they know that anything that is done purposefully to rank better in the search engines is black hat, i.e. against the terms of service.

Better to ask if what your SEO is doing with your site is illegal or legal. Illegal might be doing negative SEO to a competitors’ site to diminish their rankings. That is a nasty practice and nobody we know would jeopardize a good reputation by doing this.

It’s also good to ask about quality vs. quantity. A lot of low quality work will hurt a site, whereas good quality, done even occasionally, will be rewarded. You need to go back to the premise of search engines: they want to find the best answer to searchers’ questions. The best implies comprehensive, good quality content.

Finally, it’s good to ask about whether your activities are considered spam or not. Spam is usually done in large quantities, by machines, and is designed to bury users in low quality drivel. It may or may not be relevant and it becomes an annoyance to anyone that receives it.

So instead of concentrating on hat colors, one should concentrate their SEO efforts on activities that add value, authority and are useful to users. Those activities are rewarded with high rankings.

More information on what constitutes poor SEO activities here:

To read Google’s Webmaster guidelines, click here.