In the past, black hat tricks were all that it took to help a website to rank highly within search engines like Google. In those days, website owners could often hire low quality ‘experts’ and have them spam links, use irrelevant keywords and exploit loopholes in a bid to trick a search engine into thinking that the site being addressed was worth prioritising. Over the last decade, Google have grown wise to these techniques and now anyone found to be practicing them will often find themselves on the receiving end of a penalty notice and maybe even a complete de-listing. Unfortunately, with black hat SEO practitioners still offering their services, it’s not uncommon to hear of companies signing up to their cheap services, only to find their websites affected as the weeks go by. How does ethical search engine optimisation compare? The thing about ethical optimisation is that it will only ever use the most effective techniques and strategies – whilst conforming to Google’s strict policies and conditions. Where an unsavoury practitioner might use techniques that can be deemed spamming in nature, a professional optimisation expert will instead focus on developing a website’s reputation organically and in a way that search engines will appreciate. That’s exactly what sites like Google and Bing look for in their results – natural positions where the most relevant websites appear at the top, and those with lesser relevance rank below. When comparing the two types of optimisation, it’s easy to see that the modern alternative is far less risky and can experience sustainable results that can help a business of any size to reap the rewards. If you’re faced with two options – to hire a cheap, lower quality optimisation service, or to take on the services of a slightly more expensive, but remarkably effective professional; the choice should be obvious. Once your site is ranking highly, the benefits will speak for themselves, but they really won’t if you have to deal with a de-listed website as a result of unsavoury tactics.