Lisa Barone wrote an awesome post titled: SMX Advanced Goes to the Dark Side. With 60 comments (and counting), including several by Danny Sullivan, the discussion thread is fascinating as well. At the end of it all, it looks like the consensus is that the event was a bit more black hat than many people, including Danny, wanted.
One thing that I came to understand during the show is what people want when they sit in the audience of a show like this. While they have been sent to the show to learn things and network, what they actually want, is to be entertained.
Nearly everyone who goes to a show is tired for one reason or another. Some people are up late partying, and then at early morning sessions, and others finish a days worth of sessions and networking, and then frantically try to keep from falling further behind in the work they are doing for their employers or clients. Either way, there is a certain amount of exhaustion in abundance.
Tired minds don’t want to work as hard. Laughing is easy and relieves the sense of tiredness. When people say something outrageous on stage, it can be really funny.
I am not saying that this is the cause of there being a bit of darkness in the show presentations, but even Stephan Spencer discussed some black hat techniques in his presentation on link building. I don’t think the audience should be faulted for wanting to be entertained, but let’s face it, outrageous black hat concepts can really be funny.
5 Questions to Ask Yourself
When considering a black hat strategy, consider these 5 questions:
- Do you have employees?
- Do you have investors?
- Is your website a primary source of your income?
- Would losing most of your search revenue be a disaster?
- Are you trying to build the size of your company steadily over time?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you should not be using a black hat strategy. The risk is simply unacceptable.
Correspondingly, if you are an SEO consultant, and your client would answer any of those questions yes, you should not be recommending a black hat strategy either.