SEO is a powerful force that can be wielded to dictate the prominent content placement in search results, potentially driving countless visitors to websites. Those mastering this power represent contrasting strategies that search engines would consider "good and evil." Historically, we've called this white hat and black hat SEO... But what fun is that?!
If you're skilled and brave enough to master the Force [of magnetic content], it's time to drop that lame cowboy hat and pick up a lightsaber! Yes, SEOs, it's time to embark on a "Star Wars" journey...
A long time ago at a search marketing conference far, far away... Well, actually, a few weeks ago at the SES San Francisco Conference, folks attended the "Black Hat, White Hat" event. Upon entering, SEOs had to choose between a black or white cowboy hat, and, interestingly, many were conflicted. For some it was just a fashion thing, but for others choosing a color seemed to present a real conflict. Since a definitive line between black hat and white hat doesn't really exist, many SEOs are left with somewhat of an identity challenge. Fear not, young padawans, a solution for you I may have... Welcome to SEO Wars!
8 Reasons to Toss Your Cowboy Hat and Pick Up a Lightsaber
- Lightsabers are the coolest weapon ever.
[Darth Vader:] "Search your feelings; you know it to be true!"
- Lightsabers represent how "experts" in the field wage combat while wielding the Force of the light or dark side to gain or retain optimal search rank.
[Supreme Chancellor:] "The Sith and the Jedi are similar in almost every way, including their quest for greater power."
- The rainbow of lightsaber colors provides more identity options for those wanting more than the polar extremes of black or white hat.
[Anakin Skywalker:] "Something's happening... I'm not the Jedi I should be. I want more, and I know I shouldn't."
- Red lightsabers were made by Siths from synthetic crystals. (i.e., Hack options for those not wanting to create quality content to naturally boost SEO.)
[Supreme Chancellor:] "The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural."
- Many have been lured by the path of the black hat dark side, only to endure great suffering. (e.g., JCPenney and Overstock)
[Yoda:] "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."
- White hat tactics can compete with the black hat dark side if wielded correctly.
[Luke:] "Is the dark side stronger?" [Yoda:] "No, no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive."
- SEO is a dangerous battlefield. Legitimate weapons are needed.
[Darth Vader:] "Your powers are weak, old man."
- White hats improve search rankings via accessible, quality content that web visitors would value. Black hats improve search rankings via deceptive content (hidden text, cloaking, link farms, etc.) that search engines would value [until they know better].
[Anakin Skywalker:] "The Sith rely on their passion for their strength; they think inward, only about themselves. The Jedi are selfless; they only care about others."
What Color Is Your Lightsaber?
The similarities between SEO and "Star Wars" can no longer be denied. It's time for SEOs to claim their rightful weapon for battle, but what color lightsaber will you choose?
(Custom SEO Wars lightsaber badge downloads available below!)
Lightsaber Color Theory
In its simplicity, the "Star Wars" lightsaber colors make up a rainbow. In the Old Republic, the lightsaber colors were symbolic of Jedi Class order - Jedi Sentinel (Yellow), Jedi Consular (Green), and Jedi Guardian (Blue). For the George Lucas films, lightsaber colors were merely intended to tell the bad and good guys apart. The Original Trilogy [episodes 4, 5, 6] lightsabers were red, green, and blue, and the Prequel Trilogy [episodes 1, 2, 3] added purple and red-orange.
Note: A purple lightsaber wasn't part of the original "Star Wars" script. Samuel L. Jackson requested purple (his favorite color) to help his character, Mace Windu, stand out on the battlefield. In this honor, I made up the title "Jedi Fashionista" for the appearance- and trend-conscious SEOs choosing to wield the purple lightsaber.
Technically, the crystal used in construction of a lightsaber determines its color. Jedi guarded the caverns where these organic crystals grew, so Siths grew synthetic crystals which always produced red sabers. In the "Star Wars" Expanded Universe (comics, games, books, etc.) a myriad of lightsaber colors are used and basically all color symbolism behind good/bad buys or Jedi Class order is pretty much disregarded. What do you expect? They were children of the Rebellion!
Will You Join the Rebellion or the Empire?
It's time to choose, and the battle is real. Will you uphold the righteous values of quality content and serve as a SEO Light Jedi, or do you long to be a master of deception as a SEO Sith Lord? Perhaps you're a SEO Dark Jedi - once believing in white hat tactics and now thirsting for the dark side. Or perhaps you're a SEO Jedi Fashionista - knowledgeable of both sides, but discreet in practices to keep up appearances.
Whatever your identity, it's time to flaunt it! Select and vote for the lightsaber badge that best represents your SEO identity - Share it, tweet it (#SEOwars), and post it on your website or blog!
SEO Wars - Lightsaber Badges
- SEO Sith Lord - Red Lightsaber
- SEO Dark Jedi - Bronze Lightsaber
- SEO Jedi Sentinel - Yellow Lightsaber
- SEO Jedi Consular - Green Lightsaber
- SEO Jedi Guardian - Blue Lightsaber
- SEO Jedi Fashionista - Purple Lightsaber
[Darth Vader:] "Don't underestimate the Force."
I look forward to seeing you on the battlefield!
~ Angie Schottmuller, @aschottmuller
SEO Jedi Sentinel (Yellow Lightsaber) / Interactive Jedi Knight
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!