The Black and White Hats of SEO

Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is an approach used to try and improve the position held on search engine results by an entity. It aims to make a company, product, or anything else more accessible and noticeable through the natural, organic results produced by a search engine as a means of garnering more visitors to a website.

SEO can be a significant traffic driver which is highly targeted and dynamic, and it can be quite cost effective, so it’s crucial for companies to get it right, or risk falling to the uncharted obscurity that is page 2 of google search results.


I’ve never been myself, but I hear it’s something like this

There are a variety of strategies companies use to optimise search engine results, some of them are more ethical and involve the generation of relevant and quality content, while others are a little shadier, and involve some slightly deceitful practices. These are known as white hat and black hat techniques.

black white hat

You can probably guess which is which

White hat techniques are based around quality content. They aim to optimise search engine results by offering the audience what they are looking for. The use of relevant keywords, titles and metadata, as well as an abundance of high quality inbound links are all white hat techniques that will optimise search engine results in favour of your company that don’t dupe anyone or undermine what should be the ethical and fair nature of search engines.

Black hat techniques on the other hand focus purely on how to gain search engine result favourability, with total disregard for the human audience and the content they seek. Hidden content and spammed links which will elevate search engine rankings, link farming, and essentially any practice which goes against search engine guidelines to manipulate the way the relevance of a webpage will be perceived by a search engine are considered black hat techniques.


These practices are unethical, and they hinder the audiences attempts to find the most relevant content based on their search, which is detrimental to the consumer for obvious reasons, as well as being disadvantageous for the search engines themselves, as if they don’t provide the best and most relevant results, internet users are far more likely to switch over to a different search engine.


In an effort to counter thing, search engines have developed preventative measures to face these black hat techniques. Search engines are becoming increasingly adept at sniffing out link stuffing, keyword spamming, and content duplication, and not only stopping it, but also penalizing the websites responsible with lower search engine results.

By no means does this spell the end of search engine optimisation, but rather a new and more virtuous era of it, as offering high quality and sought after content, providing value, having connected social media presences and mobile compatibility are the new best practices for optimising your search engine results, which is better for search engines, companies, and the consumers.


The Internet of Things: Scary cool, or just plain scary?

Imagine if your GPS could guide you to the nearest empty parking space, how cool would that be?

What if forests could tell us when they were about to burst into flames? Or your medicine told you when to take it? That would save lives wouldn’t it?

How about if we could turn on the heater before we got home, or lock our door and turn off the stove from work just in case we forgot, you’d be game for that right?

What if you got a text from your fridge as you drive to the supermarket telling you to get milk? Slightly less cool? I mean still pretty helpful though.


Sorry my refrigerator just needs needs me to grab some yogurt

What if as you walked down the street to get some lunch your watch told you there’s a sale on at a shoe shop across the street, kind of seems like really intrusive advertising doesn’t it?

Welcome to the internet of things, a development of the internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, and are all constantly communicating with each other. The applications of such technology are virtually endless, with the examples I mentioned before ranging from convenience boosting, to life saving, and right back down to advertising.


Some of the uses of the internet of things are undeniably amazing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t without its downside. I’m not talking about malfunctions leaving us to fend for ourselves without the technology we’ve become so dependent on, I pretty much did that last week….

I’m talking about the privacy concerns that accompany the irrefutably impressive possibilities of the Internet of Things. We’ve already reached a point in time where ads are being targeted to us based on our internet browsing. This can be beneficial to everyone, as marketers can effectively target their market, and consumers are only exposed to ads that have some relevance to them, but it can also taken too far, like when Target tipped off a man about his teenage daughters pregnancy through targeted coupons.


Target knows all your secrets now

So if targeted marketing can already cause privacy concerns due to shopping and internet behaviours, imagine the possibilities for infringement when our glasses, watches, televisions and fridges are all able to aid in data mining.

Privacy concerns are possibly the largest issue surrounding the Internet of Things, and it’s an important concern. If the Internet of Things progresses to a level where essentially all of daily tasks can be monitored by these wirelessly connected devices, then all our movements, all our activities and behaviours will be recorded, stored, and used by third parties. This could have some benefits, but it’s still a little scary to think about. So as we go down this path towards interconnectivity between essentially everything, just remember it all comes at a cost, and that cost might just be your privacy.

Do we rely on our smartphones too much? Probably

The age of mobile is upon us. The number of mobile phone subscriptions in Australia outnumbers our population, the global number of worldwide mobile users have overtaken desktop users, and 60% of internet traffic now comes from mobile devices.


They kind of do everything for us

We trust our smartphones with our private thoughts and messages, our banking, our navigation, and our ability to remember just about anything. But do we trust these devices too much? What happens if (when?) this technology betrays us?

The idea of technology betraying mankind is embedded in our culture, it can be found in an abundance of films from Westworld to The Matrix  and Terminator, and beyond.


That’s right, even WALL-E

But the type of technological betrayal I’m talking about is much less apocalyptic and much more gently inconvenient.

Society’s heavy reliance on smartphones can leave us feeling pretty unprepared to make our way through the world without them. Whether it be not knowing where to look on the train when your phone battery dies, or struggling to remember the name of that cartoon talking bear with the rabbit friend when you’ve burned through your data allowance.


His name is Arthur, and he’s an Aardvark


As we grow more and more reliant on our smartphones, and use them for more and more functions, the odds of them letting us down when we need them most will steadily rise. Soon enough we will be using our phones to unlock our houses, to turn on our cars, and to run our appliances. But what happens when they let us down? My phone can barely last the day right now, so I can’t imagine it coping very well if tasked with connecting every bit of technology in my life, so I’m not sure I’m ready to trust my smartphone (or my wi-fi) with so much responsibility.

Even though most of the time our phones let us down it’s in severely minor situations, sometimes it can be pretty dire. Like when our GPS’s get us lost , or our banking details are stolen from our phones.

I’m not saying technology is bad, I’ll leave that to Michael Crichton novels. All I’m saying is that as we move towards a world where our pocket devices are capable of managing more and more of our lives, and we rely on them more and more, we need to remember that they can’t always be dependent on, and having an analogue backup probably isn’t the worst idea, at least for now.