Black Hats and White Hats
It has been Google’s stated goal to make their index about relevant information for searches. However for years optimization of websites was done with the intent to deceive Google into listing bad websites highly. Driving searches to websites with low usability. SEO professionals were divided into two groups. On one hand the professionals who worked within the limits of Google Webmaster Guidelines. They were called White Hat, because they were the good guys. And on the other hand the rogues who went their own way into gaining as many visitors to the websites they worked for. The latter were called Black Hat. And their techniques were called Black Hat Techniques (BHT). The Black Hatters congegrated on websites like Black Hat World.
Panda and more updates
The Black Hatters have their own argot. They make claims like: “first page in 24 hrs”.
In the past three years Google has made several major updates to their search algoritm. Names of the updates were Panda and Penguin. These updates differed from previous updates and many websites with poor content fell in the Google Index. An example are many price comparison websites. They were not using unique content. Instead they used the e.g. product descriptions of the webshops they were indexing. Price comparison websites fell in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Panda was aimed at Black Hatters using non-unique content and other spammy SEO techniques. But was Google succesful at defeating the Black Hatters. And I say Google WAS succesful.
The proof is in the text of mailings send out by Black Hatters. Read the following sentence lifted out of a Black Hat sales mail:
The process begins like any successful high PR link campaign with the creation of high quality information, regular blog posts, featured blog posts and quality articles make up this content.
This quote show that Black Hatters have begun using what are in fact White Hat techniques. They have lost their confidence that they can manipulate Google and are trying to create high quality reliable content as a way to reach an audience. That is just what Google wants.
Google has achieved its goal of destroying Black Hat.