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How can a website compete using only white hat techniques?

How can a website compete using only white hat techniques? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

CUTTS: Today’s question comes from SurfVoucher in Costa Rica. SurfVoucher asks, “How can a website compete for high rankings using only white hat techniques in industries that are dominated by spammers if Google takes months to react to spam reports and by that time new black hat sites are ranking?” Fantastic question and I’ll try to get a lot of different information in so hope I get it all. First of, you always want to be making a white hat site, something that stand the test of time. One of the main things that differentiate a white hat site from a black hat site is that the black hat sites are typically built to sort of succeed for a few days or a few weeks, maybe a few months and then fail. People are not investing long term resources in making a great site. So one thing you can bear in mind is that if you’re making a white hat site, follow the sort of techniques that stand the test of time because black hat sites will come and go but as long as your site keeps rising in terms of visibility and viability. Eventually, the new black hat sites won’t be able to compete with the authority and the reputation that you’ve built up. The other thing to bear in mind is that Google is always looking at how to stop the white hat tricks. So the metabolism of spammers kicks up as they try to hack sites or do other nasty malicious stuff. But then Google tries to respond by writing hack site classifiers and other ways to sort of stop fresh trends or hot trend spam, things like that. So Google has been developing new tools to try to make sure that black hat spammers don’t get to stay around for as long as the white hat sites. So we’ll keep working on our side. Don’t just get discouraged because it might take a while to see the spam reports take in effect. Sometimes it takes effect all at once. Sometimes it can get on our radar. And I think it’s totally fine if you’re running a white hat site to blog about your niche and say, “Hey, this niche needs to be cleaned up by Google,” or “There’s too many black hats in this area. Google, pay more attention.” You know, that’s just good lobbying, you know. Send me a tweet or something like that to say “Pay more attention to this area,” because we do take that feedback and we act on it. The other thing is make sure that you’re using techniques that have you know either great research or great resources or have something that’s viral about it. You don’t just want to produce great information. You also want to think about “How do I market that? How do I let people know about the great stuff that I’ve got?” And if you start to do that, then as your site gets to be known and people start to go to your site deliberately, not just, you know, go to Google and search and click on whatever’s number one or two or three. Whenever you get to be known as the resource in that area, you can build up that viability long term and really do a much better job of competing against the black hats. One last thing to think about is if you got the black hats and they’re competing against some super, super crazy spammy search like, you know, “Buy Viagra online,” or something like that. You don’t have to necessarily attack them head-on. You can also think about “Let’s start making some informational resources, something that’s not quite in this space. And then as I build up my reputation in an area that’s not quite as spammy, I can move in to this more commercial space over time. So it’s the same sort of–I refer to it as the Katamari technique, where you start out with a small area and you build and you build and you build, and your resources and your authority and your reputation just gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And if you start out in one of those really contested spaces then it might be harder to compete. But sometimes, you can start out in an area that’s sort of adjacent build up until people know you as a resource and then take on more or move in to an area that’s a little more commercial, little more contested, sometimes a little more spammy. So at Google, we’ll always continue to be working to sort of find the black hat spam, make sure that those techniques don’t work as long as you’re pursuing the white hat techniques that will sort of stand the test of time. Then over the passage of time, your site should be doing better than the black hat sites. We’ll keep working on our side, and hopefully you’ll keep working on your side.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: