Rules were meant to be broken or so the saying goes. It is probably a part of human nature, however as soon as you say to people, “don’t do….XXY”, they bust their gut trying to do it. Search Engine Optimization is no different.
You may hear terms such as ‘white hat’, ‘black hat’ or perhaps even ‘gray hat’. These all represent strategies that either follow ‘rules’, don’t follow, or sort of follow.
The problem is who sets the rules? There is no industry standard for Search Engine Optimization although there has often been talk about establishing standards; and with it training standards, qualifications and everything else that comes with setting standards. The next question would then be, “who sets the standards?”
At present, search engines, rather than having requirements, set out what they consider ‘black hat’. They set the rules, determine if you have broken them, and then issue the punishment. The problem with these rules is that they set out what you shouldn’t do.
As search engines work hard to protect their algorithms and the data that goes into them, they won’t release standards that would make optimizing easier. At present, there is a set of basic SEO concepts that most experts agree on. Once you start to venture beyond those basic concepts you run into problems.
If one group of experts feel that A-B-C is the best path and that X-Y-Z should not be used, you will get another group of ‘experts’ who refute those steps claiming that A-B-C is fn when it comes to basics, however, X-Y-P should also be used.
In this regard, even basic concepts are hard to establish. If search engines ever decided to set a minimum set of concepts, then perhaps everyone could work to a common standard.
Rules were meant to be broken? When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, rules cannot be broken since no-one can agree on the rules.