Some Misconceptions Regarding Black Hat SEO (Guestpost)
In the summer we had a unique series of guestposts on Searchcowboys. Many top SEOs were willing to write a blogpost for us about topics they are experts on. The final guestpost of the series was the one who got the most attention. Ralph Tegtmeier, aka 'Fantomaster' wrote his masterpiece "Some Misconceptions Regarding Black Hat SEO". Relive the article, it's fantastic.
Some Misconceptions Regarding Black Hat SEO (Guestpost)
It's the final guestpost of this series! It's been a stunning series and we want to close of with a big bang. And if you're looking for a big bang who better to pull the trigger than "Ralph aka fantomaster"? And he will talk about the subject everyone wants to hear about: Black hat.
Some Misconceptions Regarding Black Hat SEO
However, that's not at all what competent black hat SEOs will actually do. Rather, they'll build and promote massive numbers of web sites that are easily dispensable. Powerful strategic automation makes this both feasible and definitely worth your while. (More on this under item #5 below.)
4. "Black Hat SEO Is Poison to Your Corporate Image"
This is quite true in general terms - but does it actually apply to your specific business model? If you're a super duper Fortune 500 company concerned about branding and your public relations standing, you definitely don't want to be outed for deploying blatant black hat SEO strategies. (That's not to say such corporations are beyond resorting to black hat SEO at all for whichever reason. Indeed there've been quite a few cases of this being heavily publicised in the past. Of course, the standard method of pursuant damage control is to neatly shift the blame onto some "unethical" SEO agency that was supposedly tasked with their campaigns ...)
Most other online businesses, i.e. the vast majority, aren't into branding and corporate image control at all. They want to sell stuff, either their own or via affiliate links, and more often than not they're not into repeat business built on ab immaculate reputation either.
To avoid detection, they can work with an array of different generic sites not tied up in any way to their core business entity - "doing business as" under various names and platforms. And if such a site does get banned, they'll simply create a few more or phase in some fallback replacements. (A classic black hat approach, by the way: lose one site and roll out ten more to replace it - see the scalability potential here? No way your run-of-the-mill white hat setup could ever hope to compete with such an automation driven brute force "mass makes class" approach ...)
5. "Black Hat SEO Is No Viable Business Model"
That's like saying "a brick and mortar store is not a defensible business concept anymore": even the most perfunctory reality check will expose this for the load of bull it actually is.
A while back I've addressed this issue in my blog article "The Economics of Cloaking", using IP delivery as a practical example. Of course all of this applies to whichever black hat SEO strategies you may choose to adopt. Because the basic rationale and the maths it prescribes are always the same: conduct a realistic risk-to-gain analysis, measure it against the resources actually at your disposal and work it out from there.
By way of an admittedly somewhat simplistic summary: if it costs you $10 to register a domain, roll out a web site and promote it, and if this sites makes you $20 before it gets banned by the search engines, say within a couple of weeks, that's a 100% ROI total or 50% per week. Scale this up by factor 100 or even 1000 by rolling out ever more monetizable web sites of this type, and we're talking serious money and an eminently viable business model to boot.
6. "Black Hat SEO Can Only Fool Dumb Machines But Not Highly Trained Human Search Engine Staff"
Here's where it gets really interesting in my view. All major search engines have ramped up their editorial staff, having learned the hard way that fending off "search engine spam" cannot be done effectively in any reliable manner via automated algorithms alone. And while all such human labor intense efforts do not scale easily, making for a lot of un-monitored niches even now, today's search engine optimizer does have to factor in manual reviews by human editorial staff nevertheless.
The most obvious solution here is automated generation of quality content: content that is human readable and grammatically correct, that is 100% unique, that makes sense to read and that features no footprints shouting "autogenned". In short, it must be able to pass human editorial muster. These requirements will rule out markoved or scraped-and-shuffled content which has indeed lost a lot of its efficacy, even though it can still be deployed to great advantage within specific scenarios. It also precludes the use of automatic synonymizers and similar commonly available automatic article rewriting software, none of which has mastered the required degree of linguistic sophistication to date.
This is what we've been focusing on at fantomaster.com with our proprietary fantomas textMachine™ project. Based on what we have developed already, we're on the verge of launching a commercial service titled "Customized Content Creation" (CCC) which will offer clients just that: 100% unique customized content created to their specifications in terms of topics, targeted keyword phrases, links etc. in any conceivable volume. Moreover, this is content that is not detectable in any way as having been autogenned. CCC will also be available in multiple languages which should lend international SEO a very powerful new twist.
What this effectively does is finally dissolve the artifically imposed borders between "white hat" and "black hat" SEO again. Rather than solely exploiting the quirks and weak spots of automated ranking algorithms, this approach will produce web sites that even highly qualified human search engine editors won't find fault with. In this manner it essentially merges the automation and scalability power of black hat SEO with the quality requirements of white hat SEO tradecraft, making the two quite indistinguishable from one another.
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