Blackhat Blackmail & Blabbers

I can’t help it, I’m just totally laffin my butt off!

It all started earlier this week when seoblackhat.com blabbed about a post over at boogybonbon’s blog explaining how to build links nefariously with a moveabletype exploit.

Well the turkeys started gobbling out of frustration that their money trees were gonna be stripped. Quadszilla basically stated: Put up or shut up…

If you want to keep something under raps or develop an exploit out of the public spotlight:

1. Show it to me before I’ve published it and

2. Tell me to keep it quiet.

Well boogybonbon says: hey guys! tell me too or stfu

As he noted before if you don’t bring it to our attention and you don’t ask people to not tell other people about it well then your shit out of luck!

Now boogybonbon is just getting warmed up with his latest nifty myspace spam exploit and I just know this is gonna send the turkeys a-gobbling again! 😆

When I first started in the biz I thought blackhat seo people were hackers and crackers that would melt your computer down to a puddle and were very very dangerous and bad and scary people to avoid. Think: Mafia or the Russian Mob.

Now I perceive most, if not all, of the big boys we follow in SEO, and maybe some heavy hitting net marketers thrown in too, are riddled with tools and tricks of darkness and a very shady past. Nope, those hands won’t wash clean. And I kinda like most of them. They’re not so scary.

And what are they doing that’s so bad? Tricking out a freakin search engine. No babies are eaten. No human sacrifices are made. It’s all just programming crap. A bunch of computer code. Tricking some search engine algo to do what they want it to do. That black hat, evil legend drama is all just about search engine tricks :roll:.

Am I a blackhat? Hardly. I don’t have the tech knowledge/ability plus I’m not willing to spam anyone’s web property (blogs, etc.). I think that stinks. And my google stats prove it: I probably have a monthly total of 25 hits from google for all my aff sites combined! 😆

But I am all about the Blab Factor.

Totally.

Go BoogyBonBon!

The Debate Over .edu and .gov Links

I don’t pretend to be an SEO guru because I’m far far away from that trophy. But I have been following the debate over .edu and .gov links with some interest.

For those not in the know, here’s the scoop. Some links (inbounds) are far more valuable than others. A link from a texas holdem poker scraper site isn’t going to be as valuable as a link from say DMOZ. And a link from a directory that’s scrappy crappy, isn’t going to be as juicy powerful as a link from a rich authority site like CNN.com.

Yes links matter. We know that. But it’s the ‘quality’ of link that’s going to get your buttons pushed rather than the ‘quantity’. Or at least a good mix of both. Lotsa crap will bring something, but throw quality in the mix and you’re in big business.

So there’s a debate. Do .edu and .gov links hold more link juice than an average link? Are they something to strive & bribe for?

Here’s some debate and more info:

.edu And. Gov Links

Are there any evidence that having inbound .edu and .gov links are “better” links and counts more than other links ?

Are Links From .edu and .gov Domains Really “Better?”

Trusted TLDs – What are Trusted Top Level Domains?

Are .edu and .gov the powerballs in seo? I have no idea. Here’s what I do know:

A search term for a very competitive area yields 35,000,000+ results in Google’s serps. And there’s an aff site that floats around in the Top 20.

Backlinks for that aff site show a *WOW* amount of .edu pages pointing to it. Think an affiliate site has no chance of getting these juicy links? That’s what I thought. But think again.

Although the affiliate site in question is a freaking mess and an unbelievable 1/2 step above a scraper site, it’s getting all kinds of unbelievably great juicy inbounds. Many from .edu domains!

How? I’m not going to tip the site because that’s not fair to that affiliate, so please don’t ask. But I will say this:

Provide a *rich* *rich* *wealthy* *rich* amount of information and pages, that don’t interfere with your affiliate pages (meaning no competition, but compliment) and BAM! you’ve got good links.

Check out .edu pages that are in the same ‘target area’ of your niche. What are they linking out to? Can you replicate that in some way, but be original enough so that you will be linked to?

Are .edu and .gov links something to strive for? Ummm. I’d say a big:

! Hell Yeah !

Gotta be better than those darn scraper sites that keep picking me up :lol:.

Free SEO Tools – Do They Leak Your Niche?

I use all kinds of free online webmaster tools. And I like the freebie seo tools too. But I’ve never felt *all-that-comfortable* about doing so.

With a free seo tool being released every time you turn around lately, and some of them darn interesting and useful too, I have to wonder what that gig is all about.

Could be just link bait.

But do you ever wonder about the information you submit using these tools? Keywords and domains …

I know there was a discussion awhile ago about domains being ripped out within minutes (tip: search briefly, and buy immediately was stated). And we know WordTracker sells their keyword lists.

I don’t think it’s all that paranoid or tin-foil-hat-ish to question if data is being stored and monitored with these freebie tools. But do you really want your investigative information broadcast to webmasters that are obviously very serious, experienced and so polished they could dance circles around your own web promotion and marketing skills?

Last summer I stumbled across a super hot niche that no one had really moved into yet, loads of traffic. Within a month the adsense cheese sites hit town. I’m wondering if that was a big fat coincidence after all.

Some Solutions?

Look for scripts that you can upload to your own site, software downloads (that aren’t spyware or ‘call home’), or pay someone to write them if you’re not a script guru.

Use Google’s Keyword Tool directly, and Overture’s as well.

Buy domains *immediately*.

Or. Don’t worry about it and carry on. But maybe it’s something to keep in mind when we’re getting ready to do some web dev homework.

Ever wonder why the pros have staff on hand to write their own scripts and apps? Why do that if they can get the same info online for free.

hmmmmm

Paid Links, Discussion Links & Google Law

There’s something that’s been bugging me lately. So much of the net community seems to embrace without question Google Law and allow Google to decide who, what, where and how we link to other websites.

So much of Google’s algo depends on links. Who is linking to a website, what the anchor text of those links say, where the link is positioned on the page and what page the link is pointing to.

Google depends on links to help it figure out what’s relevant, what’s valuable, and what isn’t. Google has chosen to wrap itself around the power of the link. Good luck with that.

But what happens when you get a bunch of people online who have full control of their own conversations, where they link to, what they say in those links, how they’re linking and why they link?

It can skew Goog’s algo. Skew and screw.

I was a bit miffed recently at a post over at Threadwatch:

How Fucking Dumb Can an A List Blogger Be?

…It targets bloggers, who are apparently so stupid that they need someone to look out for them. And those people looking out for them are so stupid that they are directly linking at the scammy unethical site.

and:

It seems to me that one could just about launch a network and virtually guarantee its success banking on link popularity from stupid evangelical white hat bloggers linking at it. All you have to do is piss one of them off. The ditto heads will follow along.

Is this where we’re heading now? Publicly calling out ‘stupid‘ and naming and shaming ‘ditto heads‘ all because of who, what, how and where they’re linking to?

I have a problem with that.

For one thing I do feel that the net and a big part of why we’re all here is communication, conversation and sharing.

I have all kinds of discussions in the offline world. I talk about stuff I like. Stuff that bugs me. Stuff that impresses me. Stuff that mortifies me. When I have conversations, I don’t find myself censoring the source of the topic if it’s something I don’t agree with.

The ‘he who shall not be named’ game is not part of my reality.

I’m curious as to why it’s so accepted and even expected online? Because withholding links does hold back or censor the conversation. Where did this ‘censor thy links you ditto head’ mindset come from and why are so many happy and willing to do it?

Today I was reading a post over at Revenews that had a quote from Matt Cutts’s blog:

Selling Links & Google

Q: “If one were to offer to sell space on their site (or consider purchasing it on another), would it be a good idea to offer to add a NOFOLLOW tag so to generate the traffic from the advertisement, but not have the appearance of artificial PR manipulation through purchasing of links?”
A: Yes, if you sell links, you should mark them with the nofollow tag. Not doing so can affect your reputation in Google.

This isn’t news to me, Google’s been pointedly making this clear for some time now. But I got irritated again.

Why does Google get to step in and say: “This is how you’re going to link. This is how you’re going to work with your advertisers. Or else.”

I have an affiliate site that I’ve been thinking about adding paid links to. It’s starting to take off nicely in Yahoo! and MSN (remember I can’t manipulate Google very well in the SERPs) as well as other traffic sources. I think it’s a fairly decent resource for the eyeballs stopping by.

Currently I only link to sites that have affiliate programs that I can earn commissions from. I’d like to make the site a bigger resource for my visitors by adding more online merchants to the pages.

If I do that though, I’ll lose money from linking to those sites because they’d be competing with the ones that I earn commissions from. And is it fair for those merchants that are willing to partner with me and compensate me through their affiliate program to compete against those who don’t pay a penny?

Perfect solution: Offer paid links.

The paid advertisers would get a spot on my pages. They’d get highly targeted and motivated shoppers. Instead of earning commissions, I’d earn ad dollars.

Win Win for both of us and it’s a Win for my visitors too since they’ll have more selection.

But here’s the thing. If I did that, I’d have to snap tight a ‘nofollow’ tag on those paid advertiser links to make the self-appointed Google god a happy camper.

Why?

  • The links would be legitimate resources for my visitors.
  • Very targeted to the content.

So the Google Law dictates that if I accept advertising dollars, I have to tag a ‘do not trust’ link warning sign on my paid advertisers links. I don’t know about you, but that just reaks wrong on so many levels to me.

Another solution would be to add Google Adsense. Let Google have a hand in the published ad content on my websites. Let Google decide what advertisers are displayed. And for how much. And Google will decide with its magical math how much I’ll earn per click.

That would please the Google god.

But here’s an earth shattering revelation:

I don’t want to work with Google.

I want to be in full control of what’s displayed on my pages, who I’m sending traffic to, keep my stats private, and set my own prices.

What a conundrum aint it. If I accept paid links and provide a wealthier resource for my visitors, but refuse to slap a ‘do not trust’ on my advertisers–I’ll suffer the wrath of the Goog.

To me it’s a no brainer. Screw That Jack. I don’t depend on Google for money, they don’t determine my success or non-success online, and they have zero say in what I’m doing online.

I’m going to move ahead, take control of my own ad space, provide my own advertising opportunities, and link freely and well to those who advertise with me.

What surprises me is that there are so many smart smart people on the web who are more inclined to happily and vocally toe the google line as if Google is the Holy Answer for ever and ever to earning money and success online so they don’t want to mess with it.

Good Luck With That.

New Backlinks Plugin For WordPress SEO

I noticed some new activity in the wordpress support forum for the thread: SEO Your WordPress Blog (some good info linked to in there).

A new plugin was announced:

Count inbound links: backlinks wordpress plugin

Backlinks draws a nice graph that shows how your number of inbound links develop over time using the MSN Search API together with nuSOAP to count the backlinks

You’ll need a MSN Search Application ID (just login with your MSN passport/hotmail info).

I installed this plugin a few minutes ago so it’s too early for me to say how well this works, but it was a simple install – drop it in your plugins folder, add your MSN ID and bam! You’re rolling.

Give it a shot if you’re interested in your backlink growth (or non-growth). Surely I can’t be the only person obsessed with backlinks :grin:.

Check Out My Google Stats

Here are this month’s stats for one of my bitty affiliate sites:

Yahoo 1339
MSN 541
Overture 18
AltaVista 14
Unknown search engines 6
Ask Jeeves 6
Dogpile 6
AllTheWeb 5
Excite 3
Google 1
Mamma 1
MetaCrawler (Metamoteur) 1
WISENut 1
Search.com 1
Jubii 1

No, that’s not a typo. Google has sent me one visitor. And no the site is not banned or grey barred.

One thing I promised myself when I started online was not to drive myself crazy with this affiliate and traffic stuff. I mean if I stop laughing at my dazzling non-seo-abilities and stop having fun with this and stress out over everything I’m not that great at – it’s time to pack up, unplug and go home.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m totally serious about making money online. But I also know there is more than one way to skin a cat. Google is not required to make a buck or two online.

Marketing is.

And while I’m figuring all this stuff out – MSN and Yahoo are cooperating with me a bit better than Google. I appreciate that ;).

Sidenote: Yes I lmao every time Google coughs up a scraper (or two or three) in its serps rather than my affiliate sites. Nothing but quality and class. Ah well. At least the scrapers send me traffic :lol:.