Black Hat SEO vs White Hat                      SEO Chasing the Ideology or Using What Works                    @irishwonder
BlackhatvsWhitehat    How many of        How many of   you are blackhat   you are whitehat       SEOs?              SEOs? ...
BlackhatvsWhitehat  How many of you cannot pinpoint   themselves as either blackhat or             whitehat?              ...
BlackhatvsWhitehat   Why do you have trouble identifying               yourself?                        @irishwonder
What is Blackhat? What is Whitehat?   Wikipedia definition    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization#Wh...
Origin of Black Hat vs White Hat   But where is Google in this picture?                                  @irishwonder
BlackhatvsWhitehat – Google’s TakeGoogle Webmaster Guidelines(usually only this part gets quoted in the BH vs WH argument…...
BlackhatvsWhitehatGoogle Webmaster guidelines – but what about this part:  Quality guidelines - basic principles   Make p...
BlackhatvsWhitehat  How many of you really have never violated            anything listed there?                          ...
BlackhatvsWhitehat                     @irishwonder
Is Blackhat “Illegal”?   Google TOS≠state law:     “These terms control the relationship      between Google and you”    ...
Ethics Schmethics Google is a commercial entity, not a               church  (even though they are trying to promote their...
So What is Blackhat SEO?Blackhat SEO is about: Exploring Scaling Automating Maximizing                         @irishw...
What Blackhat SEO is NOT   Push-button solutionsIf any of you expected to walk away from this   workshop with a ready-mad...
What Blackhat SEO is NOT   Hacking other people’s sites   Running botnets   Doing any other illegal stuff              ...
What Blackhat SEO is NOT   Buying a bunch of tools and just running them as is                                 @irishwonder
Tweaking the ToolsGood blackhats should either Tweak 3rd party tools  or Build their own tools                          ...
Some Examples   I still have sites built 6-7 years ago using Traffic    Equalizer that are still alive, indexed and get t...
…Which Brings Us to the Question:   Q: Is blackhat SEO really only a short term strategy    or can it be used long term?...
Rule #1 of Blackhat SEO   Know when to STFU     Any technique / trick / tool exploited by too many or    too intensively ...
An Example from 2006   Blogmarks used to be a PR7 bookmarking site with    free registration and indexing time of about 2...
An Example from 2006                  What’s wrong with                   this picture?                     Clear pattern...
An Example from 2006The dangers of such approach: Everyone sees what exactly you are doing Even the volume of your opera...
An Example from 2006What happened as a result was even worse – Blogmarks became an invite-only registration siteThe spamme...
Stay Below the Radar   Some creative ways to build links frowned upon                                 @irishwonder
Rule #2 of Blackhat SEO   Try to blend – imitate the real user’s/site’s behavior    and patterns    The concept of being ...
Example: Comment Spam Done Poorly   Every blogger gets comment spam, but I also learn    from it                         ...
Example: Comment Spam Done PoorlyWhat’s wrong with this example: Generic text Spamming the same URL multiple times with ...
Example: Comment Spam Done PoorlyHow it can be done better: Tweak the comment text, try to make it closer to the  post to...
Example: Email Spam Done WrongWhy this won’t work: I am not an accountant (poor targeting) No professional organization ...
Example: Email Spam Done WrongAs a sidenote: Email spam is NOT a blackhat SEO technique Email spam is ILLEGAL in many ju...
Creativity: Would You Call This BlackhatSEO?SMX London Blog Partners site section: PR 5 page Alexa: 27,826 (LOTS of traf...
Creativity: Would You Call This BlackhatSEO?The best link to a gambling site ever:(and in what a nice neighborhood it puts...
When Life Hands You Lemons FindSomeone to Squeeze Them at    Blackhat mindset is about using the         opportunities as ...
Unnatural Links Notifications   Ever got one of these?                             @irishwonder
As a Result, People Do This…                      @irishwonder
Unnatural Link Notifications   Do you think you can use this whole setup to rid your    competitor of some of their stron...
Negative SEO   Google says it cannot be done – NOT TRUE   Negative SEO against CNN – probably impossible   (But Google ...
Negative SEO               @irishwonder
Negative SEO               @irishwonder
Is Blackhat SEO for Everyone?   Pure blackhat SEO has its limitations   But the approaches can be used pretty widely   ...
Blackhat SEO makes Google EvolveBy exploiting the backdoors in the algorithm,  blackhats force Google to look for better  ...
Google Updates                        (source: http://www.seomoz.org/google-algorithm-change#view-all)   Google Toolbar —...
Google UpdatesA lot of these updates were introduced to counteract the algo holes people had been exploitingExample: Pand...
Resources   https://forum.syndk8.com/index.php - the first    blackhat SEO forum   http://t.co/WxZupl0J - Some Misconcep...
Resources - ToolsText spinning softwareThe Best Spinnerhttp://thebestspinner.comIndustrial-strength cloaking –Direct link ...
Questions?   Twitter: @irishwonder   http://www.irishwonder.com   info@irishwonder.com                                 ...
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Blackhat SEO vs Whitehat SEO

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My presentation with Ralph Tegtmeier a.k.a. Fantomaster from our Whitehat/Blackhat workshop at SEM Days Bucharest, Romania June 2012

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Blackhat SEO vs Whitehat SEO

  1. 1. Black Hat SEO vs White Hat SEO Chasing the Ideology or Using What Works @irishwonder
  2. 2. BlackhatvsWhitehat How many of How many of you are blackhat you are whitehat SEOs? SEOs? @irishwonder
  3. 3. BlackhatvsWhitehat How many of you cannot pinpoint themselves as either blackhat or whitehat? @irishwonder
  4. 4. BlackhatvsWhitehat Why do you have trouble identifying yourself? @irishwonder
  5. 5. What is Blackhat? What is Whitehat? Wikipedia definition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization#White_hat_ver sus_black_hat): ―White hats tend to produce results that last a long time, whereas black hats anticipate that their sites may eventually be banned either temporarily or permanently once the search engines discover what they are doing.‖ OK, I can agree with this to some extent… but also: ―An SEO technique is considered white hat if it conforms to the search engines guidelines and involves no deception‖ … and: ―Black hat SEO attempts to improve rankings in ways that are disapproved of by the search engines, or involve deception‖ So negative!!! @irishwonder
  6. 6. Origin of Black Hat vs White Hat But where is Google in this picture? @irishwonder
  7. 7. BlackhatvsWhitehat – Google’s TakeGoogle Webmaster Guidelines(usually only this part gets quoted in the BH vs WH argument…): Quality guidelines - specific guidelines  Avoid hidden text or hidden links.  Dont use cloaking or sneaky redirects.  Dont send automated queries to Google.  Dont load pages with irrelevant keywords.  Dont create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.  Dont create pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware.  Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.  If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first. @irishwonder
  8. 8. BlackhatvsWhitehatGoogle Webmaster guidelines – but what about this part: Quality guidelines - basic principles  Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Dont deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as "cloaking.‖  Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether youd feel comfortable explaining what youve done to a website that competes with you. Another useful test is to ask, "Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didnt exist?‖  Dont participate in link schemes designed to increase your sites ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.  Dont use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. Such programs consume computing resources and violate our Terms of Service. Google does not recommend the use of products such as WebPosition Gold™ that send automatic or programmatic queries to Google.‖(Full text: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35769) @irishwonder
  9. 9. BlackhatvsWhitehat How many of you really have never violated anything listed there? @irishwonder
  10. 10. BlackhatvsWhitehat @irishwonder
  11. 11. Is Blackhat “Illegal”? Google TOS≠state law: “These terms control the relationship between Google and you” (Source: http://www.google.ro/intl/en/policies/terms/regional.html No more, no less @irishwonder
  12. 12. Ethics Schmethics Google is a commercial entity, not a church (even though they are trying to promote their confession boothreinclusion request form really heavily now) @irishwonder
  13. 13. So What is Blackhat SEO?Blackhat SEO is about: Exploring Scaling Automating Maximizing @irishwonder
  14. 14. What Blackhat SEO is NOT Push-button solutionsIf any of you expected to walk away from this workshop with a ready-made solution, you better leave now and don’t waste 3 hours of your time @irishwonder
  15. 15. What Blackhat SEO is NOT Hacking other people’s sites Running botnets Doing any other illegal stuff @irishwonder
  16. 16. What Blackhat SEO is NOT Buying a bunch of tools and just running them as is @irishwonder
  17. 17. Tweaking the ToolsGood blackhats should either Tweak 3rd party tools or Build their own tools @irishwonder
  18. 18. Some Examples I still have sites built 6-7 years ago using Traffic Equalizer that are still alive, indexed and get traffic – largely due templates tweaked beyond recognition @irishwonder
  19. 19. …Which Brings Us to the Question: Q: Is blackhat SEO really only a short term strategy or can it be used long term? A: Depends on your goals setup skills and creativity @irishwonder
  20. 20. Rule #1 of Blackhat SEO Know when to STFU Any technique / trick / tool exploited by too many or too intensively will stop working soon @irishwonder
  21. 21. An Example from 2006 Blogmarks used to be a PR7 bookmarking site with free registration and indexing time of about 2 hours UNTIL… @irishwonder
  22. 22. An Example from 2006 What’s wrong with this picture?  Clear pattern:  one bookmark per account,  one after another,  same pattern for creating tags,  all spammer’s sites using the same templates @irishwonder
  23. 23. An Example from 2006The dangers of such approach: Everyone sees what exactly you are doing Even the volume of your operation You are exposing all your sites at once Blogmarks would likely block you and remove your submissions before Google even gets to index you @irishwonder
  24. 24. An Example from 2006What happened as a result was even worse – Blogmarks became an invite-only registration siteThe spammer killed the technique not just for himself but for everybody else @irishwonder
  25. 25. Stay Below the Radar Some creative ways to build links frowned upon @irishwonder
  26. 26. Rule #2 of Blackhat SEO Try to blend – imitate the real user’s/site’s behavior and patterns The concept of being natural is not new, nor has it come about after the Penguin update – smart blackhats always used it For every traditional blackhat technique, there is a better way to do it and it will make it more efficient @irishwonder
  27. 27. Example: Comment Spam Done Poorly Every blogger gets comment spam, but I also learn from it @irishwonder
  28. 28. Example: Comment Spam Done PoorlyWhat’s wrong with this example: Generic text Spamming the same URL multiple times with the same link Spamming an SEO’sblog Not getting past the moderation queueA typical example of using a comment spamming script as is @irishwonder
  29. 29. Example: Comment Spam Done PoorlyHow it can be done better: Tweak the comment text, try to make it closer to the post topic Make your list of targets unique Add all known SEO blogs to your blacklist See if ANY comments get approved on a blog you’re about to spamIf you’re using existing solutions like Scrapebox, it can be tweaked to do that. If you’re coding your own tools, there is no excuse to not doing it. @irishwonder
  30. 30. Example: Email Spam Done WrongWhy this won’t work: I am not an accountant (poor targeting) No professional organization will have such low quality of text in an email they send (learn to use text spinning tools) Where is the actual attachment you are trying to get me to open?(My post on the topic: http://www.irishwonder.syndk8.co.uk/2012/02/25/how-not-to-email- spam/) @irishwonder
  31. 31. Example: Email Spam Done WrongAs a sidenote: Email spam is NOT a blackhat SEO technique Email spam is ILLEGAL in many jurisdictions @irishwonder
  32. 32. Creativity: Would You Call This BlackhatSEO?SMX London Blog Partners site section: PR 5 page Alexa: 27,826 (LOTS of traffic!) Authority domain 83 external links (much less when the event is just planned), all followed DRUMROLL… @irishwonder
  33. 33. Creativity: Would You Call This BlackhatSEO?The best link to a gambling site ever:(and in what a nice neighborhood it puts all those SEO blogs???) @irishwonder
  34. 34. When Life Hands You Lemons FindSomeone to Squeeze Them at Blackhat mindset is about using the opportunities as they arise, rather than saying Blackhat SEO doesn’t work any more @irishwonder
  35. 35. Unnatural Links Notifications Ever got one of these? @irishwonder
  36. 36. As a Result, People Do This… @irishwonder
  37. 37. Unnatural Link Notifications Do you think you can use this whole setup to rid your competitor of some of their stronger links? This of course could be done previously as well as people did it under the pretext of the site ―having moved‖ etc. But of course right now this looks much more natural @irishwonder
  38. 38. Negative SEO Google says it cannot be done – NOT TRUE Negative SEO against CNN – probably impossible (But Google bombs have been created involving even whitehouse.gov – Google says they can no longer work but it’s not 100% true) Negative SEO against an average site in most niches – VERY doable The more factors Google says will get you penalized, the more factors there are to use for negative SEO Google will probably never say negative SEO works for PR reasons @irishwonder
  39. 39. Negative SEO @irishwonder
  40. 40. Negative SEO @irishwonder
  41. 41. Is Blackhat SEO for Everyone? Pure blackhat SEO has its limitations But the approaches can be used pretty widely Brand-centric businesses should be aware of the risks What was once blackhat can now be considered whitehat and vice versa @irishwonder
  42. 42. Blackhat SEO makes Google EvolveBy exploiting the backdoors in the algorithm, blackhats force Google to look for better solutions @irishwonder
  43. 43. Google Updates (source: http://www.seomoz.org/google-algorithm-change#view-all) Google Toolbar — December 2000 1st Documented Update — September 2002 Boston — February 2003 Cassandra — April 2003 Dominic — May 2003 Esmerelda — June 2003 Fritz — July 2003 Supplemental Index — September 2003 Florida — November 2003 Austin — January 2004 Brandy — February 2004 Google IPO — August 2004 Nofollow — January 2005 Allegra — February 2005 Bourbon — May 2005 XML Sitemaps — June 2005 Personalized Search — June 2005 @irishwonder
  44. 44. Google UpdatesA lot of these updates were introduced to counteract the algo holes people had been exploitingExample: Panda(Source: http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/03/the-panda-that-hates-farms/) @irishwonder
  45. 45. Resources https://forum.syndk8.com/index.php - the first blackhat SEO forum http://t.co/WxZupl0J - Some Misconceptions Regarding Black Hat SEO (an article by Ralph Tegtmeier) http://explicitly.me/ - RishiLakhani’sblog http://www.davidnaylor.co.uk/blog - Dave Naylor’s blog http://www.seo-theory.com/ - Michael Martinez’ blog http://www.irishwonder.syndk8.co.uk/ - my blackhatblog @irishwonder
  46. 46. Resources - ToolsText spinning softwareThe Best Spinnerhttp://thebestspinner.comIndustrial-strength cloaking –Direct link to a 5% off coupon for beSeolizedshadowMaker(formerly: fantomasshadowMaker):http://el.ly/smWorlds most comprehensive search engine spider database –Direct link to a 5% off coupon for IPGrabber(formerly: fantomasspiderSpy):http://el.ly/ipg @irishwonder
  47. 47. Questions? Twitter: @irishwonder http://www.irishwonder.com info@irishwonder.com @irishwonder
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