Archive for March 15th, 2011


Hey, Babe, Take a Walk on the Dark Side

WELL THEN, all thou seduced by the DARK and EVIL forces of the BLACK HAT SEO.  For those who dare to provoke the MASTER, who dare to taunt HIM and tweak HIM and scoff at HIS foul penalties, I hereby open to you the BOOK MOST WRETCHED, that TOME of FEAR and FASCINATION, the hideous


One glance at its contents will SEAR your MIND and BLAST your BRAIN. So, just to be safe, I’ll only post the table of contents….

  • CLOAKING. Wherein we learn to manipulate our servers to display special “spider-friendly” pages to search engine spiders but to show our normal pages to any person who visits.
  • META TAG KEYWORD STUFFING. Wherein we learn to gather high-search keywords (whether relevant to our site or not) and to flood them into our meta tags—20 or more in the title tag, dozens of keywords in the keyword tag, tens of dozens in the description tag, even liberally salted into the alt tag inside every image and link.
  • HIDDEN KEYWORDS. Wherein we learn the art of placing high-value keywords in occult places—making them the same color as our background, making their fonts so small as to appear like the dust of ages, placing them so far to right or bottom of page as to be almost unattainable.
  • FAKE CONTENT. Wherein we learn to worship the false gods of content: Keyword Gibberish, That Which Is Stolen from Other Sites, and the always seductive Pseudo Content, written to appear like useful content, but truly soulless and vacuous, existing only to serve the darker lusts of search ranking.
  • LINK NETWORKS. Wherein we are trained to create multiple sites (usually hosted at different IPs) that are linked one to the other in fiendishly sophisticated patterns designed to fool the Master into believing they are not reciprocal.
  • LINK PURCHASE. Wherein we learn to seek advantage by trading in slave links—purchases of single links from highly rated sites, purchases of groups of links of questionable utility and relevance, spam links commissioned by the hundreds to be injected into the comment systems of unfortunate blogs, thousands of sneaking filthy context links placed so as to corrupt otherwise useful text.
  • SOCIAL SITE ABUSE. Wherein we learn that Social Sites are helpless to resist our degenerate desires, that they are susceptible to the creation of fake fan sites, to comment spam, to hijacked profiles, and worse.

Seriously, though. Black hat SEO is really just another set of search marketing strategies. The only definition that means anything is this:

Black Hat SEO is any search optimization effort that functions in a way that is contrary to any particular search engine’s published conditions of use. Black hat SEO is typically not illegal. Black hat SEO in and of itself is arguably not particularly unethical. But here’s the thing. A search engine has every right to create specific conditions for inclusion and for ranking well. They also have every right to enforce those conditions. Black hat SEO is a decision to risk indexing and/or ranking penalties in the hope of some measurable gain.

Which, in my book, is fine—as long you never use black hat techniques on other people’s sites unless you are certain that they understand and accept the risks, as long as you never defraud or abuse or cause damage, and most importantly as long as you understand you have no right at all to whine when Google kicks your weak, pathetic, mewling ass out of their index.

For me, the risks are almost never worth the potential gain. I always council my clients to stay on the white side of the hat. And I never ever ever dip my finger into any unmentionable book of dark art SEO. Honest.

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