However, I want to focus on the last paragraph where white hat SEO is defined:
So what is white hat SEO? The panlists [sic] agreed it was about creating quality content — being the most relevant result for a desired query.This very popular take on SEO is total horse crap. Search Engine Optimization is not about producing good content. It's about getting content in front of as many relevant people as possible by means of a search engine. It's about my crappy content to coming up ahead of someone else's great content. This definition is 100% backwards.
That so many SEO spin doctors rely on the "great content" card shows me that they don't really have anything worth selling. If SEO consultants could truly game the search engines in ways that wouldn't get them banned, wouldn't they stop telling me to write better? Probably. But instead, they say, in effect, "All we can do is make sure your site is visible to the search engines, the rest is out of our hands." That's great (and true), but not very valuable. I can make header tags and alt tags and page titles for free. What I need is insight into how the search engines work and where they work poorly so that I can crack them open like a thief and steal their secret nectar. But SEO gurus never seem to know that stuff. A great SEO guy is like a bond trader - able to see movements and market inefficiencies where others can't, and thereby gain an advantage, all the while staying on the right side of the law with his ethics intact.
I propose we rename SEO to SEBP - Search Engine Best Practices, because that's all it is.