Who is Really Hurting

The SEO world has always changed rapidly.

But I was thinking today about which website owners have been hurt the most with the various changes that Google has introduced in the last two years, and I think the people who have been hit the hardest are the website owners and affiliate marketers who are in the middle of the black-hat/white-hat spectrum.

The hardcore black-hat marketers are still doing fine. They operate at such a high speed and campaign velocity that Google can’t really keep up with them. Granted, Google will usually catch on and fight back, but it takes them weeks, if not months, to find the offending pages and domains.

And white-hat marketers and the big brands are still doing fine as well. Big brands are pretty much immune to search engine changes now. Granted, Google tries to publicize the occasional punishment of a big brand’s website, but that is just for show.

And the people who have one old site that they work on every day, who are known well in their online community and work the social media angle well, gosh, they are still doing okay.

But the people in the middle, the guys with five or 10 websites, the guys who are what we would have to call gray hat, these are the ones that have been hurt the most these last 24 months.

Most gray-hat marketers try to put up reasonable websites. The content is decent — it’s original and written pretty well, maybe not at a professional writer level, but it is written by an English speaker and it isn’t spun. The pages are set up logically and the articles make sense.

They don’t have a database of media editors they can call up and pitch stories to. They don’t have the money for press releases through PRWeb. They don’t have the cash to outsource incredible, one-of-a-kind content.

So they do what they can. They do article marketing. They do guest posting. They try to comment on posts on relevant websites. They try to build reasonable backlinks on related websites any way they can.

Unfortunately, these are the types of activities that Google has really come down on. And these are the types of site owners who have really gotten beat up lately.

Google can do what they want. And they will.

But I wish they would concentrate on the black hat guys and the adware promoters, and not spend so much effort on the part-time site owners who are spending their weekends sitting in their basements, trying to make a few extra dollars.