Black Hat SEO is tempting…here is a tale from the dark side.
Black Hat SEO. A tale from the other side.
Each time I see a website using black hat techniques to get better rankings it reminds me of a conversation I had a while back.
It was over a few drinks with an ex. black SEO practitioner who gave me a brief and fascinating insight into the “Dark Side” of SEO. Let’s call him “Darth”. Darth told me about a crazy 18 month period he experienced a few years ago.
Like all things ‘shady’, the motivating factor behind the activity is usually cash. In Darth’s case, it was affiliate income generated by getting websites to rank highly for highly risqué “key phrases”. At one stage he was earning an affiliate commission every 30 seconds (24 hours a day).
Darth had cooked up a scheme that involved thousands of domain names, ten’s of thousands of websites and huge amounts of hardware – plugged into the internet, all running out of the family home. Without going into too much detail as to how the scheme worked, it was a sophisticated, large scale scam. You’ve got to spend money to make it, and for a while he was making a killing.
It didn’t take long for Google to notice Darth’s websites (forgive the pun) popping up all over the place. It was obvious they’d become concerned about the techniques Darth was using to optimise them. So one by one Google removed them from the index.
No big deal.
Darth just registered more domains and built more sites. And so a game of cat and mouse began.
In the beginning it seemed the spam team at Google was manually removing Darth’s websites. But Google loves to solve problems algorithmically, and before long had come up with an automated system to detect Darth’s domains, his websites and his servers.
In an instant the game had ended, and Darth was left with a house full of hardware, website’s no-one could find and a heap of domain names nobody wanted.
The whole experience had completely consumed him – Darth had barely gone outside for 18 months! He didn’t know what to do with himself. He’d made a few bucks, but he was at a loss as to what to do next.
A week later he was hired by an SEO company!
Chris Thomas heads Reseo a search engine optimisation company which specialises in setting up and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns, Affiliate Programs and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.