The following is something I just wrote for a blog I recently started. But since no one's probably going to be reading the blog anytime soon, I figured I'd just post it here. Sorry if it's pretentious or whatever. Just felt compelled to share it. # For years, I prided myself on being a white hat SEO. I took my time to build links naturally (which is somewhat of an oxymoron), did everything manually, and looked at black hat SEO with disdain. Those scum I thought. A lot has changed since then. I?ve spent the last 3-4 years of my life working on a large authority blog. It?s a shell of its former self at this point, but still receives upward of a million page views a month. At its peak, Google Analytics recorded 30,000 visits a day. ?So what happened?? I lost faith in what I was doing. I?d spent years working on this site, doing it the ?honourable? way to appease Google?s algorithm, and managed to snag some amazing rankings, but it wasn?t as honourable as I led myself to believe. ?Why?? Because as I competed for attention, I did things I didn?t want to do: Writing headlines designed to get attention, even if they were misleading. Piggybacking on pointless drama and lame controversy. Anger gets clicks. Publishing content quickly because checking facts. It wasn?t just me, either. I was never innocent of this ? it seemed par for the course ? but as competition grew, these desperate pleas for attention became stronger and stronger, and they were all at the cost of the reader. Suddenly, I was a part of something I hated and my motivation died in a matter of days. There was a problem though. I couldn?t just stop doing these things. Everyone was doing them and they were working. How can I compete for attention when people are fed another shitty ?Top 10â€³ post to share around? To me, black hat SEO was the answer. Not because I was jaded and decided, ?Fuck it, I?m going to manipulate the hell out of everything.? But because it?s my hope that I can now: Build things I?m proud of (like my niche blogs). Use ?shady? techniques to get high search rankings. Profit. I won?t have to beg for attention, glam up simple information in a shiny cover, or fondle the sweaty ball sacks of bloggers I don?t like just so they?ll link to me. To some, this might sound like the justifications of a lazy man. ?You just want to get results without real work!? But I was on the white hat SEO side for years ? a decade, almost ? and, in that time, I learned a very sad detail: People are more willing to manipulate other people than they?re willing to manipulate an algorithm. They?re so concerned about Google?s appraisal that they?ll sacrifice their readers to appease their overlords. ?I?m writing this link-bait piece to build natural links!? No, you?re not. You?re just being an asshole.