The landscape of SEO and link building is always changing, but to what extent? I don’t think the current model is sustainable. I have noticed that many sites use black hat techniques because they do not care about their site’s future reputation as long as they can earn a quick buck in the present. If we keep this cycle going for more years, eventually there will be no quality websites left at all. The biggest problem with black hat tactics is that it makes content irrelevant: just stick any crap anywhere on your site and you’ll get links anyway! It does not help readers or searchers; instead it only helps those who engage in such shady practices.
I think the current model has many fundamental flaws. The most urgent problem is that search engines are too important, and have too much power over businesses. They can shut down a website overnight just by removing it from their index, or even worse they can keep your site in the index but demote it to the bottom of page 10 so nobody ever sees it anymore! And you cannot fight back because all they need to do is claim you were doing something wrong.
Search engines are essentially acting as the judge and jury in determining how your site ranks, but they have a conflict of interest. They are earning money by selling ads that appear on top of search results, so it’s in their best interest to have many websites with high rankings because this will keep more users clicking on those ads. It is not in the best interest of most businesses though – if you’re building an e-commerce site for example then you want people to find your product quickly.
The only way to fight back is by playing dirty yourself, but then search engines will just retaliate against you. A lot of people are aware of this situation and it has led to a sort of arms race between websites trying to rank well in Google and Google trying to detect spammy tactics like black hat SEO.
There is one other problem and that’s the lack of transparency. Search engines are not transparent about their algorithms, which leads to a lot of speculation and confusion. People don’t know what works or doesn’t work; they just keep trying different things until something happens.
That’s why I think it is a waste of time to focus on Black Hat SEO. There are other ways you can improve your website and they don’t require spammy tactics: write great content, create original and interesting pages that people want to link to. A good site will get links naturally without having to resort to shady practices.