White Hat SEO Sans Smoke: All the Fun, None of the Filler

Everyone’s been raving about Mad Men for years now. I keep promising myself I’m going to rent the first season and get in on the series while the getting’s still good. Thanks to the good folks of Boing Boing, this week I got a brief introduction via scenes of people smoking cigarettes on the show.

Oh, cigarettes. You seductive sirens of failing self control. You heady temptresses of silky smooth delight. I will always be in your clutches, no matter how much I want to leave you. Even when I muster up the will to run away, thoughts of sweet smoky memories haunt me. You’re so bad, but oh so good…

Can you tell I’m a smoker? Was a smoker. Am a smoker. Who can even tell anymore…

I’ve quit too many times, always falling back into cigarettes’ softly glowing embrace. I know that in the long term there’s a chance that smoking will turn me black inside, alienate friends and family, and could be cause for some less-than-favorable judgments. [We are totally judging you. –Susan] But time and again I succumb to the easy availability, the instant gratification, the quick fix.

If you think about it, smoking cigarettes is a lot like doing black hat SEO. Sure it works now. It’s fast, sexy and cool. No one complains about the burn if it brings in the big bucks. But what about in time? Think you’ll look as hot when your smoker’s ways are banned from public places, kill your stamina or disintegrate your body? In SEO terms, that equates to being kicked out of the index, wrecking your site or brand’s longevity, and ignoring site quality while chasing the next clever exploit.

I’m not judging smokers here. We know that smoking is bad for health, and we’re entitled to make our own choice. Same goes for black hat SEO. If you’re aware of the potential consequences, it’s perfectly fine to take those risks. Just don’t expect the good times to last forever.

Now, there is an interesting alternative. At BlueGlass LA last week, Todd Friesen was firing up a safer option: the electronic cigarette. All the nicotine, none of the tar, chemicals and sticky smoke smell. Electronic cigarettes deliver nicotine in a puff of water vapor, meaning that you can smoke pretty much anywhere. Todd said he’d even smoked in the plane on the way over. Accepted in all the playgrounds and capable of delivering the same powerful jolt — like white hat SEO!

I advocate white hat SEO because most businesses and brands can’t afford the negative side effects of constant churn and burn, black listing and reinclusion requests. White hat SEO is a safer, more dependable method of boosting a site that reaches the heart of site quality. It can be a tougher road than the quick fix, but it’s less dangerous and just as effective in the long run.

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (22)
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22 Replies to “White Hat SEO Sans Smoke: All the Fun, None of the Filler”

White hat and a little of black hat is okay. *wink

Virginia Nussey

Hmm. I don’t know if I approve of any winky business…

jim hedger

See ya outside the conference center V

Virginia Nussey

You know it, Jim. See ya there. :)

I know when i haven’t done any Black Hat SEO for a while i start to sweat and get the shakes. JOKE! White Hat all the way.

I’ve never heard or seen the smoking-black hat metaphor before. Thanks for brightening up the morning Virginia!

Virginia Nussey

;) Can you tell what’s been on my mind?

Black hat only works for the short term, if at all. It’s pretty much used by every fly by night seo company.


@Virginia: Perfect analogy! I would also highlight that many small businesses are victims of passive smoking, they don’t even know that the cheap (or sometimes costly) SEO company they have retained is using blackhat SEO and it’s hurting their website just like passive smoking does.

Virginia Nussey

Yes! Metaphor extended. Second-hand smoke is bad, mmkay?


I guess we should include something for the blue-hatters; the ones who stick to white hat for their own sites but can use black hat techniques for the pages that are linking to their sites ;-) It’s still difficult for them to get hurt by all the ‘smoke’ !!

I suddenly feel the urge to put on Ray-Bans and start a Autoblog comment ring via cloaked proxy…

Virginia Nussey

Exactly! Fast, sexy, cool.

A friend of mine scolded me on how smoking can kill you slowly… I told him I wasn’t in a hurry.

Virginia Nussey

LOL! I’m gonna have to use that one.

Great post Virginia! Keep it coming :)

Virginia Nussey

Thanks, Tracy :) Same to you!

I really, really want a cigarette now. I don’t think that was the point of the article though… ;)

Virginia Nussey

The smoker’s paradox: any mention of cigarettes, whether positive or negative, causes smoking cravings. :P


I give the post a perfect 10! The explanation was so simple that everyone in the SEO field will fully understand. For a long term goal I vote for white hat!

Virginia Nussey

Heck yeah! White hats know how to party with the best of them!

So where’s the button to donate and get Virginia an electronic cigarette so we can save her from black insides and banned search engine parts?

Virginia Nussey

<3 My charred heart is all yours.


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