Where this whole argument falls on its face is when you have a major brand you're trying to do work for.
You can'd dick around with blackhat stuff and cost Nissan www,nissan.com - that's just not how legitimate businesses run. Can you get away with B/H stuff for small companies who can churn and burn like mad? Totally. Can you make a killing for YOURSELF using B/H to do affiliate stuff? Yup.
Can I comfortably go into a meeting with a serious brand and recommend blackhat tactics that won't last longer than a couple years?
Again, you aren't looking at the bigger picture, of course you can't spam 100,000 links at Nissan's site but what about the 100s of other methods you could do? Example: Make a reviews site about new cars, blast it to #1 for new car reviews or car reviews (Multiple 10,000/month keywords) and put the Nissan car at #1?
See, you gotta be creative as a black hat! I'll make the content on that reviews site nice and beneficial to the user, and isn't that the perfect mix of getting the site to rank for a couple months using black hat seo but also producing good quality content that the user can actually learn from? On top of that, you make a shit ton of money! :)
Charles, the problem you're failing to see here is that the public DOES give a shit how businesses conduct themselves, which is why companies like WalMart of Chick-Fil-A get a rough go of things.
Yes, I could blast hundreds of microsites to the top - and when the public sees through the facade and knows Nissan is behind it, what do you think happens?
When you're working with a brand or a business who wants to have any kind of longevity with customers, you can't do anything that would be a scandal if it hit the front of a newspaper.
Hundreds of sites? Who said hundreds?? 1 is all you need, make sure the domain is completely uninfluenced (Have other cars on there etc) and make the site a completely "on its own" site, that's what people fail to see..
Stay Anonymous or make a fake identity who runs this site and make sure you're "un-doxxable" on it, use an RDP to setup everything and manage the entire site, you can even use a pre-paid visa/mastercard to buy the domain & hosting so you're literally completely untouchable.
Be clever about how you go about things, btw if you think big car companies like Nissan or any other large companies don't do my idea, then you're wrong. I've found/know specific companies and sites they use (You'd be surprised).
Even ONE site. People are not that stupid; if a reviews site that is biased to Nissan suddenly takes the top ranking in a short time period, people in the industry are going to investigate.
Seriously, I hear what you're saying. Hide it, hide it, hide it. But it's not about the method, it's the means. Companies are not comfortable with taking those risks, not even if the probability of being found out is completely negligible. It's not how legitimate companies do business.
You're presenting this to me like I think it's news. Like I'm completely unaware that there are websites that - SHOCK OF ALL SHOCKS - actually do this stuff. I'm fully aware, I wasn't born yesterday.
But for the clients I work(ed) with and for major brands interested in longevity, they try to avoid taking any actions seen as manipulative that could be tied back to them in any way.
Put nissan at #1, bmw at #2, toyota at #3 That isn't biased?
Not to mention that if I pitched a website to Nissan that promoted their competition in any way (even as ranked lower than they are), I'd not only be laughed out of the boardroom, I'd be getting an earful from legal.
Oh yeh, if you can do either well you can earn good money - but it's got nothing to do with sustainability. I'm sitting on around inactive 200 domains, I could churn and and burn for the next 5 years or alternatively I could do a grey hat strategy, make it last for a couple months and do 1 site at a time. Building up a network of grey hat sites that will rank for months to come and continually earn me profit..
I just dislike it when people completely put off black hat (example the Moz blog hasn't had anything back hat since Dr Pete's posts back at the start of 2012 - Isn't it fair to inform an audience of the entire industry, not just part?)
With the exception of some tests on small personal projects out of curiosity, I haven't done enough black hat SEO to even try to pretend like I have enough experience in it to take one side or the other.
So, when my clients ask me about it I like to use an analogy that I've always found to be particularly similar (and current) to the white hat vs black hat debate - performance enhancing drugs.
Like black hat, if you juice there's risk involved (side effects, getting caught, tarnished image, etc). The upside, especially for professionals, can often times outweigh the negatives (e.g. make more money in the short term, look better in your prime years, etc).
Often times the upside can make a lot of sense for someone.
Not to get into a baseball debate, but there's a case to be made that Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa would've never been as good as they were without juicing. In turn, they wouldn't have made as much money or become as popular as they were. Their reputations are tarnished, but they made a lot of money during their peak years that many people would find hard to turn down. Same goes with A Rod. Would you have juiced if it kept you on track for a $100M - $200M payout?
So why don't more people do it?
I actually think we're seeing a shift in society where all of the transparency (e.g. social media) is allowing people to second guess decisions like these as the possibility of becoming a pariah outweighs the short term fame or money.
On top of this I think that we're moving towards a time where people are also starting to police each other a lot more (e.g. Outing in SEO, Anonymous taking down sites and outing child predators, etc). Realizing this, things like black hat SEO become less appealing for agencies and businesses.
I think that as long as black hat SEO has any type of negative connotation to it most people are going to shy away from it for the reasons above. This is also why the SEO community as a whole has not just decided to "go back to the good ol' days of testing ourselves, rather than letting Google tell us what works"
For those of us that are consultants I think it's our job to properly educate clients, discuss all angles and options and then let the client decide what road they want to take with their business. For me, not having enough personal experience in black hat SEO, I would never tell a client to immediately disregard it as a possibility as that would be ignorant - especially if their business goals align with what black hat methods can produce [according to some people]. Instead I would simply refer them to someone else and wish them luck.
That's a really good analogy about PEDs, Vinny. That's really how I see it: typically better in the short term but almost always worse over time.
One other thing I wanted to bring up that I don't hear people talk about in the black hat vs. white hat debate: skills to pay the bills.
One problem I had with doing so much black hat was that I didn't learn ANYTHING ELSE about internet marketing. Until 18-month ago I literally didn't know how to send a tweet.
Since diving into white hat I've become a more well-rounded marketer. Now I know how to build a community, manage an email list, create and promote content, and form relationships with the influencers in a niche.
If I stuck to black hat SEO my skill set would include: SENuke, GSA, Scrapebox blog comment spam and article spinning. Pretty much useless outside of black hat SEO.
Ironically, white hat SEO helps you become less reliant on Big G. If Google went out of business tomorrow I'd still fee confident in my abilities to build a site and drive traffic to it because of the skills I've developed from doing white hat.
Great point Brian - I think the perfect example of the right mix here is Matthew Woodward's blog. He creates fantastic content around black hat tools - Hence his massive near $10k/Month success from writing a couple posts a month!
Also SENuke, GSA and ScrapeBox? I use GSA/SB, SB more for White hat uses now tbh or scraping for lists etc... If you want to be a real black hat, then you gotta look at some proper tools bro ;)
Get on that Xrumer, LE, SAPE ting ;)
Hole in 1 there Vinny!
For some reason, people think black hat means spam.. I ranked for Moz, SEOmoz, rand fishkin, rand fish etc... Using black hat links and Ahrefs (Over the past 7 weeks since doing it) has only picked up 1.6k backlinks - Which is super easy to build across 7 weeks via manual work, let alone automated spam.
My case study on Ranking for rand was highly misunderstood - I wasn't ranking to piss of rand etc.. I was doing it to prove how damn easy it is to rank super highly with links that completely break Googles guidelines.
My Point can be made an example of here:
I'd also like to point out that that is literally the first time I've ever written "can'd".
It's Canada with silent 'AAAAAAYs' ;)
It's "eh" Ed. Go back to your crumpets :P
P.S. How are ya buddy? ;)
Charles - this whole thing is kind of a troll post IMO. What kind of reaction did you really expect with this kind of post in this venue? The majority of the people here are in-house SEO's, Moz fans, agency owners, and consultants, including myself. Most of the people here are committed to providing *long-term*results for their clients.I totally disagree with "don't do everything possible to make your client money, then you're doing your job wrong." If someone at my agency was found to be doing blackhat they would be fired, for sure. Clients inherently trust us in many ways and don't want us rolling the dice with tactics that have been found to penalize a site which for some people would cause a loss of existing revenue channels.
SEO in an agency world (as you know, working for one) is different. Blackhat SEO on a client site is equal to gambling with someone elses money.
To answer your question: You would make more money with your blackhat method, obviously.
Your question is completely irrelevant and out of context in my opinion. Very few people here on inbound are trying to make affiliate sales. Of course you are "right" but it really does not matter because most people in this community are here for the goal of promoting their CPA's.
I've done CPA for 4 years now. I think SEO as a traffic source for CPA is a total waste of time in most niches. Even doing totally white hat SEO it is difficult to keep a site ranking on Google with all the brands grabbing the top SERPs and Google generally hating affiliates. Sure you can rank for the next six pack abs or wrinkle cream product but there is just no longevity in it. Even if you churn/burn/churn/burn is that anyway to live?
You aren't going to change anyone's mind here. Most of us have tried black hat SEO (including myself, SEO's at Moz, Distilled, top agencies etc )admittedly and choose to do white hat after weighing the pros and cons of both. It is a choice. I've learned to channel my blackhat energy into finding new and unique ways to leverage very powerful traffic sources and marketing channels including offline.
There are many many discussion forums that strictly cater to blackhat and things of that nature but this is not one of them. It's like going into an Indian forum and trying to convince them to like Pakistan.
You are clearly a very intelligent individual with a very bright future ahead of you so I'm sure none of this is new to you either.
Of COURSE it's a troll post. This from the same guy who tried to write a post about how Distilled does "black hat" SEO for clients. Charles is no doubt a talented SEO. His downfall is just that he's young, cocky and full of bravado (which he'll no doubt reply is an advantage and then do a song and dance about how this personality type gets him ahead in life, etc. etc. etc.).
Fact: Nobody gives a crap about whether you have money "for the girls" at "your age". It's embarrassing you'd think a forum full of professionals would.
Likewise, nobody really wants to see your earning's reports. We know you make money, we know black hat SEO can make you bucket loads. So can legitimate marketing. We're all here because we make money at online marketing.
Don't know if you know this, Chuck, but you can advocate for black hat and make your case without whipping out your digital member and trying to measure it against everyone else's. I've been kicking the SEO beehive for years without being a prick about it; a little tact would go a much longer way than "Zomg time to fight"!?
There's no war between white hats and black hats, no impassioned civil war where the two factions actually hate each other. I love black hats and their innovation, but I respect people who work within the advantages and ethical limitations of actual brands too.
Charles, please, for your own sake: I like you, I like your passion - but come on dude, grow up.
1) Nobody wants to see my income report? - 400 uniques and 4 comments as well as a lot of social shares would disagree. (Also Income reports make for great link bait, look at SMI's income reports, which are his most interacted blog posts!)
2) My personality is mine, can't really help that..
3) You say you've been in the SEO for years, so have I? (5 to be exact) and you're a writer, not an SEO (Your job description).
4) I know you advocate for black hats as well, I've made really good friends with Jason King because of your goodself and we're combing our black hat talents to make even more money (muahahah)
5) The girls thing was a bit of a personalized comment, Inbound isn't professional, neither is SEO in general. Go into any SEO companies office and I doubt you'll see cubicles of people in suits wasting their life being bored out of their minds. Every company I've worked for has shown their clients great growth and had fun in the office as well.
The time to fight wasn't between BH/WH it was between Google/SEOs - For some reason all the latest posts about SEO (in the white hat zone) have been simply following Google's rules and every word.. That's like trying to sell drugs by listening to the police..
And by grow up, I've been totally professional in this post with a personal/fun approach to my wording.. This post has gone entirely the opposite way and I didn't articulate it properly - For that I apologise, for everything else I don't :D
I've been in tons of SEO meetings, conferences, jobs and worked with a range/variety of clients.. To think I don't have experience in what I'm talking about is wrong.
I've also done Black hat freelance work for 3 Inc. 500 and 1 For. 500 companies, the points made earlier about them being obsolete for big brands are because people aren't creative enough to look at creative black hat techniques, not the LETS SPAM TO TOP FOR A MONTH! techniques.
Become a creative black hat and I guarantee you'll make more money than 95% of creative white hats.
I'm not going to get drawn into a dick measuring contest with you, so this will be my last post in this thread. If you want to take that as "winning", do so:1. My point was that nobody in here is impressed with your income reports in light of the way you're arguing/presenting them. We all know you can make a killing in BH. That there is a market that wants to see income reports is both obvious and not my point.
2. If your "personality" is "smug prick", it's time to reevaluate the way you deal with people.
3. I'm baffled at your assertion I'm not an SEO, given my agency history and ongoing SEO consulting work. BCC/Writing is a new old venture for me, but the fact that I write by no means discredits me as an SEO.
4. I'm glad you guys connected, but I'm hoping he can teach you how to be a success and how to poke Google in its eyes without alienating the rest of the universe.
If you offer a professional service, you are, by definition, a "professional" - as in, you do that work for your profession. To think that a room of grown adults (and some youngsters) is impressed by your ability to woo women with your wallet is just sad, but it sheds light on the kinds of guys you probably idolize.
6. The reason people follow "Google's Rules" is because they operate within different confines than black hats. Just because something works doesn't mean everyone can execute on it. Just because something works doesn't mean everyone's ethics permits them to do so. Your situations might allow you both. Great, good for you.
7. I'm super proud of your work with major companies, really, I am. I'm not questioning your experience level or your ability - mostly your communication style, which makes you come across like a pre-teen throwing a tantrum because she didn't get Bieber tickets.
The fact of the matter is that there are very real barriers to black hat in major businesses, from legal teams to the ethics so you seem to revile.
The perfect example is your Nissan idea for a review site: I could never pitch that in a meeting. I could never get it past legal. It doesn't MATTER if we'd never get caught.
The ability to make money is not the absolute compass of whether or not something should be done. Not everyone's moral compass is set to "if it makes money, do it". Not every business or SEO has the same appetite for risk - and not every business or SEO is going to be receptive if you walk into a board room and have to explain that you could "pay for it on a prepaid credit card" like some sort of secret agent. Blackhat is simply not an option for many - arguably most. Creativity or lack thereof has nothing to do with it.
I wasn't trying to make it a contest to be honest.. Neither am I a black hat.. I'm grey and it works perfectly for me.
My idol is Russell brand, speaks his mind, has good visions for the world and generally excels in what he does, which isn't much lol..
I don't impress people with my ability to woo women or brag, I do it by showing results.. That make money.
I've worked with a client who are much higfer in terms of revenue than Nissan and a pretty similar (but also polar opposite) of the review site got past legal with ease, it's not illegal to produce content as a 3rd party and it really is untraceable.
I also use prepaid visas/master cards all the time, I don't want my name associated with a lot of things, it's also a lot easier way to hide things from certain people.
See that's what I don't get... Why does everyone think I'm going to directly do black hat on a clients site?
And my entire point went away from being about listening to Google and how they lie to your face on to black hat vs white hat lol... Regardless I'm white/grey on clients sites... But that doesn't mean you can't em corporate black hat for parts of the entire marketing campaign.
This isn't tumblr.
This whole argument seems to be based around affiliate marketing. Try churning and burning a RE/MAX and see how long you last professionally.
So wait, you're challenging me to churn and burn a Real estate agency? erm... Look at the SERPs recently mate?
Also real estate lettings etc... Have a lot been focused on spamming the likes of Craigslist or black hatting a site to grab potential buyers emails, if you gave me 2 weeks, I'd be 1st page for houses to rent ;)
I've seen the SERPs. In fact, I was looking for "wow internet" and didn't find you guys anywhere. Did you churn and burn your own company? Is that a selling point for clients?
1) I don't manage the actual Wow Internet site SEO, though we are a UK based company.. Pretty sure however we're #1 with a 5 SERP result?
2) We don't churn and burn anything, as I said above.. I don't do any of this for Wow, Wow is a 100% white hat agency. What I do in my spare time/under my name is my own business.
3) Matthew Barby is the head of SEO for Wow, I think he'd put any of your skills quite to shame to be honest, he's also 1 of the most recognised SEOs in the white hat community and he loves the strategies I come up with (and successfully update on a daily basis)
If you guys are making all this money, why would you give away your recipe?
IMO you should be grateful for Google and the opportunities they have made for you. Without their existence what would you be doing for work?
You guys are biting the hand that feeds you?
Google's intentions are for the users well being, in return their own. However, that is how all businesses run. I've been in many threads where people are claiming that Google is evil for a bunch of things. google is not evil they are a business, looking to make a profit. Google is not only making a profit they are also creating jobs all over the world, just like your job!
"If you guys are making all this money, why would you give away your recipe?" The irony in this is, in Charles case giving away his recipe is making him money haha
Indeed :) Feel free to check out my income reports Donnie :P
Respectfully, this Discussion seems to be becoming less about BH vs. WH and/or following Google's guidelines and more about someone bragging about how much money they make... Just wanted to make that point because no one likes an arrogant bragger...
Actually someone bought it up and I put 1 reply saying to look at my income report, hardly bragging? :/
hmm $97 subscription on a video that must of taken a few hours to put together.. Vs. the intention of the video "to make tens of thousands from an hour a day of work" This is a one time fee of $97 dollars correct? You need to get a ton of subscribers (time consumption) to match the methods described in the video...
@charles If you would like be that transparent with your data, sure why not?
Donnie, that is transparency xD
$2,000 in a month for a 2 month old blog is pretty damn good, feel free to actually read through it first ;)
Okay but this is the part I don't get, It took you 2 month and a few hours to make that 2k on your blog. However, you could've made and I quote...
"Here are his stats for the last 6 months:
This is from your Google Storm article.
Now I don't think we need a calculator for this... It makes absolutely no sense.
I might be a conspiracy theorist here but maybe this whole entire post is fake and just an attempt to get users to pay you for your $97 one time payment and by creating all this controversy you might actually make a buck or two, but it might not last.
I've learned my lesson.. "if it sounds too good to be true!!"
wtf are you even on about? Thats not my earnings report that's SMIs and I haven't done a Google storm article?
My affiliate earnings mainly came from my link emperor tutorials and are Monthly recurring affiliate commissions, as well as I got a bit of SEO work through my blog (Which actually I got 2 more jobs through it this month so far alone)
I'm still very confused what you're trying to get out.. This is my income report:
You mentioned the article from ViperChill above "With the recent additions of the ViperChill posts on how SEO and Google is completely f%$ked up anyway, I've been seeing a lot more people look at things differently."
ViperChill is BS (for the reasons I mentioned above)
The dumbest thing a black hat SEO can do is share their secrets publically. If we can find these schemes you guys share, so can Google.
I'm really annoyed by more people using unethical methods, and two wrongs don't make a right. You are promoting methods that will not last, and guide people the wrong way. Think of all the other sites on the SERPs that are paying for good SEO that are not making a profit because of you, also think about all the SEOs that are becoming frustrated from it.
Karma is a bitch my friend!
The term "Ethics" should be used loosly especially when the system is far from perfect.
I like Vinnys analogy of PED's
Imagine your running the 100 meter final 4 people are using steroids and 6 are clean. The 6 comes last and the four using PED's come in the top 4, the athletics commission get involved and only ban one of the people on steroids. The top three then get sponsorship deals and get very rich.
Until Google fixes the issues it will never be a level playing field.
Whilst i don't use "steroids" for my own clients, i'll look for a competitive edge for my personal sites and often dip into both black and grey hat methods.
For me it's all down to risk, some people prosper some people get panda slapped off the SERPs.
I don't care how many people use steroids, it does not make any of it right . IMO all athletes should be tested, just like all site. Imagine working on something for two years finally achieving the results you wanted, and then getting beaten by a cheater. Imagine losing a client that you worked your ass off for to a black hat, now you have a bad rep to.
The difference between an athlete and a website is I can see a link profile for free. If I wanted to test an athlete for steroids, I don't think it would be as easy/transparent if even possible.. Most likely not possible.
Panda and Penguin is Google's "attempt" to clean things up, but it's clearly not working. Google makes updates and black hats game them. Unfortunately, it's all about links! Now there black hat SEO and Negative SEO.
Check out a recent case study we did: http://www.boastingbiz.com/blog/seo/case-study/
This is proof that black hat works and that links have stronger signals than social media. The site that I mention in that post has been reported as well by a few people who read the post. However, the site (attacker) is still ranking.
As more people share black hat ideas more people use them. It's publicity!
I for one, am not going to fight back with black hat, instead we will find another way to gain back our rankings. I do not hate or blame Google, it's not their fault, they are on my side. Google and I can both agree that we want to give users the best experience. Until then we have to suck it up and keep moving forward.
Exactly, but everyone being able to see your link profile is like everyone knowing an athlete is on steroids but the athletics commission doing nothing about it.
I definitely see your point Donnie, but If you want to talk ethics, Google are not as squeaky clean as your making out.
Lack of Corporate responsibility
Lying to it's customers
2 of those articles was published this morning, i didn't have to a whole lot of digging to look up Google's skirt.
The point i'm making is whilst the majority of us (like you) should be taking the moral high ground on this one. I think so long as the system is broken i don't think people will be taking Google's guidelines too seriously.
I agree with you as well Martin, feel free to take the moral high ground but at the end of the day, the people who don't take that high ground are the 1s ranking for payday loans, insurance, health care, property to buy etc... and are making some serious money, not the $500/month people seem to want to get from clients.
Also unless you actually run your own SEO agency or do freelance, it's hard to earn over $5k/month being a consultant for a company..
With the recent additions of the ViperChill posts on how SEO and Google is completely f%$ked up anyway, I've been seeing a lot more people look at things differently.
For a long time you darn white hat SEOs have said that because Black hat isn't longterm, then you shouldn't report on it.. A less than 1 Year old Startup (Arpeggi) for a good couple Million + giving the team behind it Senior positions and payroll at Gene for Gene.
So, with this in mind I'd like to ask you this question: If I paid someone to write me a 1,000 word article or even put one together using a automated content creator, bought a fresh domain and blasted the site to #1 - Whilst you on the other hand, spent a good few hours writing a nice piece of content, getting the site SEO optimized and working on some content marketing - All with the goal of making some affiliate sales..
Who'd make more money?
People need to stop pussy footing around being "ethical" - I've always said that if you don't do everything possible to make your client money, then you're doing your job wrong.
So, is it finally time for all these posts that seem to cling onto every piece of drivvle that comes out of Googles and Matt Cutts mouth to stop? and we can go back to the good ol' days of testing ourselves, rather than letting Google tell us works (When in actual fact, it realistically doesn't)
"I've always said that if you don't do everything possible to make your client money, then you're doing your job wrong."
Stuff like this is ruining the internet and the world in general. Congratulations, you can get a site #1 and take money from people who don't do their due diligence to find out that there are tons of better companies that do x, y or z. Please, take those people. I want the ones who care about quality, can be flipped into brand advocates and are passionate about my clients and what they do.
While I think Google abandoned "Don't be evil" a while ago, that doesn't justify an equally unethical arms race on the other side.
That's great and all, but if you said to your client you could have 30 clients or 5 clients.. What do you think they'd say?
Clients don't give a flying f%$k about brand advocacy, they care about making their business succeed and making more money.
1) Not every business is just about making money2) I don't want ALL THE CLIENTS3) Lots of clients give several flying fucks about brand advocacy4)White hat means more then the tactics you deploy, it is also about your customer acquisition framework and general outlook on how you want the internet to be. Talking about it solely in terms of implementation tactics is myopic and tables several important conversations that people in the industry should be having.
At the end of the day:
Fair enough, we all have our ways but without trying every technique under the sun you aren't advocating your best way at sales.
Also every business is about making money except not for profits, but even they try to get as many donations as possible. If a company isn't about earning a profit then it's going to fail.
Have you ever actually tried black hat techniques to acquire customers?
Yes, and I have worked for places that do it and I hate it.
Please stop conflating making money and "doing anything to make money" which is essentially what you are advocating. Obviously people try to make money with a business, however acting like that is always the only goal is totally disingenuous. You think doctors are ONLY in it for the cash? How about Google? If you do for either of those examples I just don't agree with you at all.
So Google's very light yellow isn't in it for the cash? No? If Google didn't have adwords, there'd be no search engine - OFCOURSE GOOGLES IN IT FOR THE CASH!
Why do you think google built android?
1) To piss off apple
2) To get more monies!
Likewise, I'm in the "SEO Game" for money but I also enjoy it, I like testing stuff and breaking stuff and putting stuff back together.. I like my job but I also like the money it brings in and so do my clients.
Again, you conflate earning revenue and only being in it in the cash. Your own example shows the disconnect, if Google only cared about Android for the money and to piss off Apple why is it an open sourced platform? Oh wait....
because making something open source allows for a bigger community growth and less effort on development on Googles part. It's a clever system to make a lot of money. Larry Page and he does a lot of good but Google is in it for the money, any share holder based company HAS to be.
Wait what? Open sourcing it means people can fork it and take their revenue. Like Amazon did...
and to further add to that, just because you've found those 5 clients the white hat way doesn't necessarily mean they'll be good clients likewise just because I've found those 30 clients the black hat way doesn't mean they'll be bad clients.
I'm still skimming through this thread, but I had to stop and give a quick ruling on the YouTube vs. YouTube battle.
I'm sorry Charles, but Dan wins... hands down. Biggie beats Burton's CCF every day of the week and twice on Sunday ;-)
Oh of course it does! I <3 biggie all day but still: Tupac > Biggie.
It was more to the point of the names/wordings of the songs ;)
Good points - though the "test, test, test!" is nothing new. Better marketers do that. I really doubt most share their finding in public - they've usually no reason to - and so amount of content online for online marketers is IMO only a small fraction of the knowledge pool out there.
I don't think people would argue that there's money to be made going black hat. Though it's based on tactics to work in the short term (which I'd define as less than a couple of years), and the amount of money it can make will only support a couple of people - perhaps well, for a short
... but you can't build a brand off it. You can't build big perpetual income (my argument why you would make less money as a black hat). And you're never building lasting assets. 'Churn n burn' will lose out to building assets like relationships, a brand, a community, customer lists, trust.
Black hat = ramen profitable at most. (Perhaps a cheeky thought, but a few million isn't that much these days)
Personally, it's never interested me. I'd trade perpetual income for massive spikes anyday... but I think that's getting onto another topic.
In terms of when it comes down to actually earning money, you'll always be able to make more as a black hat (Of course you'll have the likes of Rand Fishkin and the Criwtchlows who own multi-million dollar businesses) but for the majority of SEOs, you'd be very lucky to see $5,000/month as a white hat.
Whereas being black hat, you can earn that in a matter of hours.. Also in terms of the long run, by your definition of long term then this wouldn't be valid but by many it would. In January I started a black hat site, black hat links, bought some articles of a content vendor and went to town with it. I've sat comfortably within the 1st page ever since without any penalization, heck I even wrote a post on it and showed off the keywords - Still no drop! It's made me a few $1,000 for literally 15 minutes of my time to install wordpress, a theme, add content and setup a automated link building tool.
For the record, the "Critchlows" don't own Distilled, it was founded by *Duncan Morris* & Will Critchlow.
I don't know any further details of their financials, but Duncan sometimes gets lost in the mix of conversations like this so I thought I'd put it straight.
Yup, even at $5,000 in a few hours I wouldn't consider it worthwhile. Recurring, retained deals are less work, you can earn more, upsell... you don't get those opportunities building on sandy land.
As for "only $5,000/month as a white hat" being a glass ceiling, that's not an SEO problem. That's a sales problem. People worth their salt, who have confidence in themselves and are in a market able to pay can charge a lot. Neil Patel springs to mind here.
Also consider marketers being beyond just white/black hat SEO (here's what I provide) to marketers solving problems and charging for that - problem-solving first rather than solution first. Consider people like Conversion Rate Experts who really dig into each of their clients and find their specific problems, fix them and charge accordingly. SEOmoz of old attributed $1m sales growth to their work... how much could they charge for that? :)
And if you're just looking to make money, you're in the wrong business ;) Sure, you can make a good living... but if YOU really want to make money, go look into spread betting. Just don't say you're under-18 hehe!
Oh don't worry Ed, I'm an ex-hacker, I've had my fair share of betting based loophopes - My poker days spring to mind ;)
Your in the UK as well I see and close to my age, yet we're so far apart! haha! I think the main focus for me is that the UK market in terms of SEO sucks! Compared to the US market where you can easily charge $5k/client most small - medium businesses in the UK won't ever dream of spending that for SEO as it's just not feasible. I've worked with a number of companies now and the max I've seen charged is £10k per month but take of costs and staff etc... The companies actually making what, £1 - £3k?
Within a year I aim to be a working from home (Though hardly "working") and be on a comfortable £10k/month - after tax ;)
I'm already 1/4 of the way there, and at this age is fantastic to be on that money with the ladies ;)
No no... not loopholes. "Spread betting". It's a thing: http://www.cityindex.co.uk/spread-betting/
£10k/month is again a sales problem, not an SEO problem. I don't see that ceiling in the UK? But then I don't know many larger companies selling 'SEO". They sell a solution. Aka. "peace of mind for a CMO/VP Marketing/Marketing Manager".
This post will interest you: https://training.kalzumeus.com/newsletters/archive/consulting_1
Brilliant, I tried to get into Stocks a while back, I know too much about other stuff for my brain to fit in the complex maths of the stock exchange as well.
£10k/Month is a pretty huge SEO budget in the UK - I don't know many large companies that spend that much, even ASOS is only on £13k SEO..
I've dealt with some well known high street retailers at a couple of agencies and the majority won't spend over 3k per month.
The scenario you use to ask your question, "Who'd make more money" shows you have a limited knowledge of how businesses make money or how businesses that survive economic cycles survive over the long term. You've self-identified as a black hat SEO, which to me means you have no knowledge-base to even be commenting on business. Making money is not business.
One of my clients' business was started in 1782. They didn't need people like you to survive the past 231 years of economic booms and busts, and all of the societal and technological changes that have occurred over that time. And they won't need anybody like you to survive the next 231 years.
Just because I gave 1 example (Which has then pushed into 4-5 now, if you read all the comments) doesn't mean thats the ultimate scenario, and I wasn't looking at business overall I was looking at SEO.
My entire point is we shouldn't be clinging of Google's every word anymore and go back to the days of us testing things to gain knowledge (Which is what I miss in SEO) instead of these huge posts on Matt Cutts saying 10 words in 1 video from 2 years ago..
I do however think this has gone a bit off topic - It wasn't mainly about BH/WH SEO, it was more about people following Googles word, Google isn't on our side, why are you listening to their every word?
But that, my friend, has everything to do with BH vs. WH ;-) WHs "listen to their every word" (i.e. follow the guidelines closely) while BHs do whatever it takes to rank, regardless of the guidelines and also the consequences...
Yeh but white hats are still black hats because they do link building.
SEO is manipulating Googles SERPs to make your site appear higher.. If you actively do SEO then you're against Googles guidelines anyway..
Not necessarily, it all comes down to value. If you are adding a link from one article to another like wikipedia does you are giving the user what they need. Link Building is just like SEO, you can do it in a "white hat" or "black hat" manner, and Matt Cutts says it himself.
Matt Cutts says links are all supposed to be natural and all supposed to be nofollow. If you put a link to your content in an article, he says to make it nofollow - Making it dofollow would be against Matt Cutts own words, in turn against Guidelines.
What are you talking about?
I was just about to post this :) Eric is going to be in a hangout today it would be interesting to have Charles in the conversation. Then again it would be extremely controversial...
Controversial, Why's that? because I am an advocate of all forms of SEO? and not this content marketing bullshit that is apparently the New SEO - Agreed, I love quality content but just because you write a great article doesn't mean it'll rank...
That's what I'm talking about:
"The objective is not to make your links appear natural, the objective is that your links are natural."
I think you've hugely exaggerated that. I think it was in reference to profile/bio links anyway. Realistically, I think Cutts likes to say stuff like that to come across as 'enforcing the law' but do you really think that 100% of all sites ever will enforce and adopt that? I doubt it.
Charles, I have been on both sides.
You are saying: "People need to stop pussy footing around being "ethical" - I've always
said that if you don't do everything possible to make your client money,
then you're doing your job wrong."
Yes, you can think like that and "do everything possible". Think about the consequences. You get a boost in the short term, but then the results are devastating for any brand. So, think twice before using any shady methods that bring money today. Maybe it's better to think strategically about where will your client be in 5 years?
If you build direct black hat links to a clients site, then you're stupid - I never said anything about using black hat on the main site but there's a lot of ways you can use black hat SEO to build HUGE amounts of sales. I won't go into them as I actively use them for my clients (not wows though!)
Charles, it's not as simple as that. If you do "everything possible
to make [the] client money," including black hat work that results in a
severe penalty or ban against a domain, yet they've published their
domain on all their promotional literature and stationery, they're not
going to be very happy about it. Yes, you've made them more money
(albeit briefly), but you've screwed things up for them in the long run
and potentially cost them more money by having to re-print everything
displaying a new domain, etc.
However, if you're talking about
something like the payday loans market, well... that's a different
story... :-) But even then, you have to wonder: what if Google finally
gets their act together and fixes everything in that market tomorrow...?
Who said anything about building black hat links directly to the clients domain?
That's called being a stupid black hat ;)
Ok, fair enough... What if a future measure by Google is to ban a client's main domain because they've also banned associated mini-sites on different domains? Even if it's a different IP, different hosting, etc., there might still be some association to the main site and Google might think "hey, let's ban that, too..." A new form of Negative SEO, but potentially a new measure to tackle affiliate sites that don't play by the rules...
In fact, I'm calling it... I reckon that'll be a future measure by Google :-)
I think If the micro sites are three levels deep and they pointing to multiple third party sites, I think Google might struggle to decipher what tier 1 sites to ban.
Is this how black hats argue points? ;-) Basically you can take anything to a point where Google will have trouble figuring out the perpetrator, but it all comes down to whether it's worth the time, effort and money. Sounds like you two think it's the way to go though... :-)
I'm strictly a white/grey hat SEO for clients but for my own sites I dip into black hat.
I see Charles' point, but I don't think it's ethics that's putting people off black hat, it's the risk.
If the link network "plug" can be pulled after a penalty, without any continued repercussions, then i think more people might be doing it.
Because, if you can make x3 the monthly sales for a site pull the plug after a penalty and then drop back to where you originally were. The mailing list, the returning customers, the natural links you gained from black hat exposure, would make it worth it, regardless of the penalty.
But there's always going to be that scenario of "what if"... a potential situation i'll gladly do for my own sites.
Risk is a big part of it, I've always said the white hats who never do black hat, just can't do black hat.
It's a completely different mindset, but when it comes to earning $$$ there ain't nothing like that #1 affiliate rankings ;)
My tale is that ALL SEOs should know the difference and the latest techniques. Decent white makes you a business, while BH can make you decent money.
and this argument is as old as the term blackhat;) http://explicitly.me/do-i-need-to-know-blackhat-seo
Charles you raise some interesting points.I think the key thing here is, it depends who you are working for.
1. 95% of clients will want to invest in White Hat SEO because they do not want the risk involved with black hat. Sure you may have 5% of business who will want to take risks. The thing is most clients do not like taking big risks, they care about making ROI, if they have been penalized in the past they will be very anti-black hat. I see this type of thing on a daily basis.
2. Sure if you have affiliate sites they will be far more into Black Hat SEO, because they want to push quick results and they just use the churn and burn methadology.
3. That been said I think you still need to understand black hat concepts, you need to test them, you need to know what is going on in the space. Black Hat SEO's are usually quite advanced and know what they are doing, the ones who are really good will never share their secrets on BHW for example.
But overall i think your discussions are good Charles because you bring a different view point on Black Hat vs White Hat, so keep up the discussions.
I enjoyed this thread, even though it did seem to turn into a p*ssing contest. The examples ViperChill gave in the original post were good. It's important to keep in mind Glen was showing 10 or so examples, and there are over a billion searches per day on Google. Also, I would hazard a guess Glen is in very affiliate dominated SERPs.
The SERPs aren't perfect, but I wouldn't take from Glens post that all SEOs should not start spamming Google to ride the wave of Google's freshness results. If you are trying to build a brand, then pursuing a strategy focused on link building techniques that Google are clearly trying to penalise is a dumbass thing to do. It doesn't matter if you are doing tiered link building so no dodgy links hit your money site, it's still an amazingly stupid strategy.
If you are looking to just make an income of SEO traffic (affiliate etc) and don't really have much to loose if Google burns your site, then, why not play around with more aggressive tactics.
The fact of the matter is, sources like Moz and Matt Cutts are giving advice to people who want to build a long term profitable business. They are hardly going to have a WBF about scrapebox, xrumer and tiered link building.
Kieran, you'd be surprised on some of the old WBFs I've stumbled upon (using link networks and cloaking experiments) I would link them but I'm moving house this weekend so only have 3G and my iPhone to work I :)
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