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Is this a white or black hat technique?
The fact is, we don't know. We don't track it that closely. I couldn't tell if our search engine traffic has moved up or down. Generally, I think it's about the same but then, when I actually look up our SERP in Google, I get the impression that we have moved off the first page for large numbers of terms and phrases.
1. Track SERP position. We should be checking Webmaster tools regularly both for messages from Google and to track our SERP. We should also get some tool, perhaps Raven at $99/month or some integration with Adwords, so that we have a tracking of the historical pattern of our position.
2. White Hat vs Black Hat is getting grey. In the old days, I could say that we just don't do anything that would be sleezy and get us in trouble with Google. Our efforts were primarily to build content and organize it well. We never bought text links or did anything else that Google would frown at. Now however, it seems that some of our programs might get us in trouble. For instance, I have participated in many forums and blogs and used the name of our site in my signature. Google is now saying that all those links should be "no followed" but realistically, does anyone care over small volumes of such things? Also, many blogs and forums don't give you that much control over your signature on comments and blogs.
3. It seems like the press releases are now a focus for google. We have done press releases, 3-4 per year for half a decade, in which we have optimized them to focus attention on pages with keyphrases of importance to us. It turns out that we won't be doing that any more.
BTW, I'd like to keep writing this article but I've been horribly distracted by a NPR interview with Bill Cosby about his A-D-D and this page with info on the evolution of the Google logo (was I supposed to "No Follow" this too or is it that somehow wrong according the Google's New Testament?):