Black Hat Strategies for White Hat Companies
The response to the word “blackhat” is never the same. Some people seem maniacally interested. Others, terrified. Some think it’s a scam, a surefire plan for a Google ban. Others call it their bread and butter.
Perhaps the only thing we agree on is they just don’t mix well. What is the point of spending time and energy building quality sites and risking them with blackhat seo? And, if you are willing to use blackhat tactics, why not churn and burn?
It is true that Greyhat just isn’t a plausible solution for most companies. But, it doesn’t mean stripes of black and white are out of the picture. I would argue, that the chasm between whitehat and blackhat when it comes to services-offered by SEO firms has made whitehats less effective, and blackhats less ethical. Whitehats have little opportunity to experiment or push the boundaries on their squeaky clean sites, and blackhats have little opportunity to use their craft to improve rankings of businesses outside the adult, pharma, gambling and perhaps financial/legal sectors.
There are, however, very useful blackhat strategies that can be employed on behalf of whitehat clients. I discuss two of them below.
Real-World Keyword Analysis
Keyword research is a big-bucks industry in SEO. Clients spend hundreds if not thousands to be told which particular keywords to target to bring the greatest return on investment. In most cases, white hat firms peddle their own alchemy of backlinks, traffic, current bids, keyword density, and other SE metrics to create a competetiveness ranking of particular terms. In no short order, they are trying to create a pseudo-ranking algorithm compared to traffic in order to identify keywords and phrases ripe for the picking.
Meanwhile, blackhats just throw a bunch of **** and see what sticks. This is real keyword research. For example, lets say I intend to launch a whitehat site on Hawaii vacations. I would launch a SEPARATE blackhat site with seed keywords such as hawaii, hawaii condo, hawaii vacation, etc. Generating 10,000+ keyword optimized pages and then watching referer statistics, I let the search engine tell me what keywords to target. Then, writing good whitehat, useful content and accumulating quality backlinks, I can rank permanently for these terms on a white-hat site.
This is a far more efficient, effective method than the thousand-dollar research methods that speculate on what the search engines want.
Using Scrapers to Your Advantage
One of the most common methods of blackhat content creation is to start with a seedword – lets continue with Hawaii – run it through Overture’s keyword selector tool, and then create a page of content for each one of the keywords that comes out. The content for these pages are scraped search results. So, the content for a page on Hawaii Vacation Deals would have the top 10 results in Google for that search phrase.
How can whitehats use this to their advantage? Lets say that your site on Hawaii Vacations has a section called “Fantastic Explorations” listed on the home page. You notice that the site already ranks in the top 10 for Hawaii Fantastic Explorations in Google, Yahoo and MSN. So, as a whitehat, you need to get that term Hawaii Fantastic Explorations searched enough so that it becomes a top 100 searched term including the word Hawaii.
If you can accomplish it, then a month later, hundreds of scraper sites will pop-up with your backlink on them because they generated pages based on the top 100 Hawaii terms in Overture.
This is a simple method that is being used rather crudely in the Gambling industries but could have a similar impact in almost any industry.
The world of blackhat and whitehat could stand to gain a lot from each other. The “Ethical SEO” grandstanding is destroying an industry whose rebel culture is its lifeblood.