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Kathleen Burns

Digital Marketers - Are You on the Light Side or Dark Side of SEO? [Quiz]

Kathleen Burns
Digital Marketers - Are You on the Light Side or Dark Side of SEO? [Quiz]

The algorithms of search engines are as mysterious as the Force in Star Wars. Some claim to know everything there is and keeps up with the latest updates from Google and Bing, while others know the underhanded tactics that let them squeak by during the updates.

Competition to stay as a top digital marketing professional is rough. The pressure to provide outstanding results for all your marketing efforts is unreal.

Nevertheless, if you fail to provide the results your clients want, no matter how hard you worked, there are thousands of other professionals waiting for their chance. You do all the right things, but if you can’t raise the domain authority of the website or increase their search engine results, your clients will look elsewhere. In the end, the metrics matter the most to clients.

As the fear of being replaced creeps up on you, this is the moment you must be the most diligent. This is when the Dark Side of SEO will whisper in your ear and tempt you.

You see a forked path in front of you

In a way, search engine optimization is like the Force – once you choose your techniques, there is no going back! Just imagine the scene when Palpatine was whispering to Anakin Skywalker: “Let me help you to know the subtleties of the Force."

Would it hurt if you used a few Dark Hat methods to provide some key metrics for your clients?


Your clients want the results, but you what you are doing doesn’t provide those results fast enough. This could save your job.

In that situation, will you uphold the righteous values of quality content and serve the Light Side of SEO, or do you long to be a master of deception on the Dark Side of SEO?

Dark Side of SEO

The Dark Side of SEO is commonly called Black Hat techniques, which are used to rank higher in the short-term, but the biggest disadvantage of it is that the results don’t last long. The websites using these techniques are blacklisted by search engines once they are caught and disappear as their punishment for the good of the internet.

Search engine manipulation is the game of the Dark Side. If you seek quick results, you probably dive into spamming, buying links, cloaking, spinning content, and negative SEO. However, quick results that boost your website can lead to the terrible risk of penalizing!

Light Side of SEO

The Light Side of SEO is commonly called White Hat techniques, which are methods that search engines approve and show that the website is full of quality content and valuable to anyone that finds it in the results.

Creative, social content is the life blood of the Light Side. But be warned that patience is an absolute must when you are faced with this path – your results and ROI will be slow to start and quick to gain steam as you gain traction in your industry. White hat SEO methods may take time, however this path needs tedious attention to detail such as accurate meta data and tags, building useful backlinks, and user friendly content. The deeper you slide into the White Side, the more work there is to be done to stay current to the latest search engine algorithms.

What side are you on?

[Editors Note: Special thanks to Boombox for all their quiz help!]

The time will come when you must choose a side in SEO during your journey as a digital marketing professional. Take our quiz to find out which side of the SEO Force you are drawn to – are you as White or Black as you say?

If you have any follow-up questions regarding Black Hat and White hat SEO, feel free to ask me in the comments!

Kathleen Burns is the Community Manager of SEMrush.

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