Anyone who thinks they can compete with hackers is running a race they will never win. With all things being equal, budgets matching and balanced resources, there is absolutely no way limiting your strategy to white hat will ever beat a black hat strategy.
Sure, we've all heard stories of black hat failure and hacks gone wrong. Yes, these stories are true and still happen today. The problem is, the stories you hear about are from the beginners. The inexperienced.
A good black hat can use his bag of magic tricks and blend it with white hat approaches, digging deep into his or her extensive experience and knowledge of ranking both black and white sites. A good black hat will even make it look white hat.
With the landscape of search becoming fiercely competitive, niches becoming saturated, and economic ruin forcing people to make desperate decisions, do you really want to be number two any longer? Replace number two with whatever position you currently rank for, at the end of the day we can all do a little better.
So maybe you're a little scared of risking your money sites ranking. Understandable. But did I ever say you need to?
Employ a black hat as part of your strategy. There's no risk in developing out a secondary website and building off the knowledge you have learned from the first.
There's more than one upside here, too. Think about it. You're hedging your bets. You go from having one site in the SERPs to two, three...or more?
You have no identifiable cross linking to these sites. You're safe. Nobody has to know, and trust me, Google and Bing won't.
If you look into your market already, you'll probably find your competitors doing this now. In the sectors I target, this happens all the time.
Frequently I see black hat sites outrank white hat equivalent. But guess what: they're all owned by the same guy anyway. Don't believe me? Send me your keywords and I'll find them for you.
If, for some reason, your black hat site gets pushed out of the index, you have your white hat site and possibly a few other black hat sites ready to take the place.
So what am I trying to say here? Adapt. Evolve. Life isn't fair and neither is the search business. If you disagree with me, put your site and keywords in the comments and let the games begin.
The views expressed in this column don't necessarily reflect those of Search Engine Watch.