Archive for the ‘Black Hat’ Category

What Happened with SEO Black Hat?

It’s been 5 years since I wrote a post. I’ve been on lifecation for the last 3 and a half years (not working and living the dream). But there’s an exciting reason I’m back: A Yuuuuuge exploit that I’m going to share, but I’ll get to that in due time.

Lifecation

First, let’s talk about the Private SEO Black Hat forums. The business model simply wasn’t scalable. When I started charging $100 per month almost 10 years ago, it was revolutionary. No one was doing any subscription model for more than $20 / month. Today, everyone with an analytics app or link tool is comfortable charging $300+ per month and people desperate to rank for anything want to believe they are one silly tool away from success.

Back then, though, $100 per month was considered elite pricing that really had to deliver: The problem was that all the stuff that made it worth subscribing to attracted the heavy hitters who would pound the hell out of the exploits until the search engines realized they had to patch the hole. The big players would privately come to me all the time with a crazy exploit that really worked.

For our forums, the game theory dilemma became “Why would I publish this exploit that makes $250k per month to a forum that makes only $25k per month if publishing will make the exploit go away?” Not just for me, but for all the power players who wanted a real “tight knit” community. On top of that, within a few weeks of launching we had the posers over at SEOMoz (among many others) subscribing to the forum and then publishing what we wrote about days later like it was something they could have thought of without us.

Two years later when it became clear from the IP logs that so many of our paid members were cybersecurity experts, the Google Web Spam Team, and international law enforcement agencies it was like “Really, What’s the point?”

But I’m back for a bit and there’s a good reason for it.

A $20,000,000 reason.

And even if you don’t want to partake in the fun, it’s going to be interesting as hell to watch this story unfold.

This should be a great story

Google Bowling: What is it? Does it Work?

After being in the industry for years, we often forget that not everyone is familiar with every term we use. We take lots of knowledge for granted. This is not unique to SEO: it happens in every specialty field.
Here was one of the questions from last week’s Link Pyramid© post:

I have a question… is it possible to bring down a competitor’s site by building a totally obvious link farm, totally interlinked and then linking all of the sites to the competitors site?

If so how many sites would you need in the farm? would the result be dependant upon the competitors original strength. Say a page rank five site, with 5000 existing links of which five are .edu and a page rank spread of mostly PR1’s and rising to about 60 Pr 4’s and 5’s’s. What kind of link farm would destroy a site like this?

I am not asking for any moral judgement of whether any one should actually do this but simply would it work, could a site ever be murdered by malicious linkfarm spamming? – if that is the correct phrase.

The industry phrase is “Google Bowling”: Manipulating the external ranking factors that Google uses to penalize a site against your competitors (or someone you just don’t like or want to appear in the SERPs).

Google Bowling

On the most basic level, it’s exactly what was described in the comment: A really bad / obvious link farm pointed at a competitors site. There is not enough information from the “example” question to give a good “how many bad links would it take” answer. Everything is really on a case by case basis. If you have a site of the target’s strength, how much spamming can you do before you get a penalty?

There are plenty of other ways to get a competitors site banned or totally screwed in Google. Imagine the example where someone leaves a comment on a site with a link. That link is later redirected to a virus. The site is then reported to stopbadware: then everyone who goes to the site from Google is told that the site is potentially harmful for at least a month while they struggle with customer (no)service. There are other, even more malicious ways of taking down sites that I’d rather have as few people know about as possible.

For the Aspiring Google Bowler the question you have to ask yourself is: what are the ranking / banning / penalty factors that Google looks at for the target site / page that YOU have some control over. Add in some social engineering and a mind for mischief and it’s easy to see how Google bowling works.

For the Corporate Customer that really wants to Protect their brand: don’t try to tackle this on your own. If you brand is worth in the millions or billions of dollars: pay the money to have someone manage ALL the SERPs for your brand related queries. While this will be impossible for some brands (Viagra springs to mind), for the vast majority of companies and brands, the SERPs can be sanitized to include only things you want your customers to see: by hook or by crook.

The price for this type of service usually starts at $100k per year and goes up from there (for the people that can actually deliver what they promise). I know a few of the best in the Industry that do this and let me put it this way: it’s worth it for companies that do billions in sales to spend a few million a year on Search Engine Reputation Management over and above what they spend on PPC, links and rankings.

How to Build Link Pyramids

Yesterday, we discussed two of ways you can use bursts of spammy links to help you make money. But just because you have the ability to spam thousands of links a day to a single page doesn’t mean it’s the most effective use of the tool.

What if I told you there is a way to launder those spammy links; a way to sift out the negative Google Karma to leave you with pure Link juice that Google uses to rank. Would you be Interested?

If so, then you’re gonna want to know about:

Link Pyramids

Among of The Great Wonders of the Web are Link Pyramids. These majestic towers of ranking excellence are built on the backs of spammy links just like the Ancient Pyramids were built by slaves. Today we’re going to define what Link Pyramids are, why they work so well and what they look like. Later this month we’ll get into the nitty gritty on building them.

The Idea behind the Link Pyramid is that while link juice can pass from one site to the next, ranking penalties generally stop after one hop. It works on the premise that the lowest quality sites link upwards to the next higher quality sites in your network. Sites can link laterally and upwards but not downwards.

So here’s what the pyramid looks like . . .

[I started making a graphic of a Pyramid, but honesty, I just can’t be bothered. You know what a fucking pyramid graphic looks like – right? Great! Moving on . . .]

The Bottom

At the bottom of the Pyramid sits a network of sites you created on free blog host or Squido, or anywhere you can get web space for free. These sites should not have ads on them. These sites will link to random other quality sites on the web and to your 2nd level sites. You will experiment with how few links you can spam to these sites to get them to acquire link juice vs. how many you can spam to them before they get banned. If you are not selling anything on these sites there is more leeway. The only type of links you are sending to these sites are those free spammy links from link software.

2nd Level of Pyramid

Then we have your 2nd level of the Link Pyramid. This is where you put your domain portfolio to work. This network of sites is distributed across cheep shared hosting accounts. The more shared hosting accounts you have for this purpose, the smaller your footprint will be. Hosting is really cheep these days, and you’ll probably be spending more each year on domain renewals than you will be on shared hosting.

This 2nd level of sites will get links from the bottom level of sites, but never link back down to them. These sites can still receive spammy links but tread lighter: you don’t want your account getting banned with the shared host. Buying cheap links to these sites also helps the network grow. Directory submission and press release type links are good to go at this level, as is moderate monitization. The Primary purpose of these sites is to build a link farm to link to the Golden Crest of your link Pyramid.

The Golden Crest

Here we have the sites that are ready for prime time. They have fantastic designs and flow. They are your niche authority sites. Their links come from Level 2 of the pyramid, link buys, link bait, and manual, targeted Link spamming. The Golden crest can make money, but the real purpose of these sites is to link to the Top of your pyramid.

The Top

At the Top of the Pyramid is the Target site: That’s the pristine white hat looking site that you want to present to your customers and to rank in the search engines. This site has the bulk of your editorial content: you’re link bait. This site is an e-commerce site that is designed to make money. This is the site you’re paying bloggers and reviewers to link to. You’re only purchasing the highest quality links to this site and your link Ninjas are securing only the best quality links. This is the site that is optimized for the keywords you know make money. This is your money site.

Make sure to have every level of your site link to sites outside of your network and for fuck’s sake:

DO NOT INTERLINK YOUR ENTIRE NETWORK!!!

If you’re gonna do that, you might as well fill out a spam report on yourself with a list of all your sites and submit it to Google. Along similar lines, don’t use any of Google Products for these sites (like analytics, or Adsense, or Adwords . . . or even surfing to them with a Google Toolbar installed or Google Chrome) with the possible exception of the site at the top of your Pyramid.

I’m sure some of you have some questions. Fire away if you do: this way I have more shit to blog about.

Spammy Links Are Good For . . .

After reading Kamihr’s Story Yesterday, You may be wondering why you would ever want to use spammy links or a link spamming tool. So today we’ll cover 2 of the ways spammy links can be useful.

When you throw thousands of spammy links at a Web Page over the course of a few days, 2 things are very likely to happen:

1. A Burst Upwards in the SERPs for a Few Days

Followed By

2. A Decline in overall site Trust / Rankings / Search Traffic

Now think critically: How could you benefit from each of those effects?

Let’s take the first effect first:

How could you benefit by having a Page Rank Number 1 for a few days for very competitive terms?

That’s easy enough: if you rank for competitive terms, you can cash in through affiliate offers, PPC or direct sales. But if it’s not worth it to risk your site’s long-term trust for those quick gains, how can we use those links?

Answer:

The Parasite Host

Fortunately we don’t have to risk our White Hat Site’s reputation or Trust. There are Hundreds of thousands of place on the Net where you can upload, edit, or create your own pages. Some obvious examples are WordPress.com or Blogger. Any place where you can put your content and leach off of someone else’s trust is called a parasite host.

The Best Parasite hosts incidentally are usually Pages on University Websites (those sweet .edu TLDs).

Find the hosts that have not already been discounted too heavily, upload your landing page, spam your links and profit. Who cares if the site only stays at #1 for a few days? A few days should be all you need. In the meantime, you are repeating the process elsewhere.

The 2nd part of the problem: How could we benefit from having links that we spam take down the rank of a website?

Answer:

Google Bowling

If spamming links will bring down a site’s rankings, then I want my competitors to have spammy links. If they rank lower, I’ll rank higher. Why not point that tool you just picked up at a competitors throat?

This part of the equation is trickier than the first. Some sites just have too much trust to ever be banned. If you spam links at them, they will just rank better.

Large Companies who want to manage the top 10 Google results for a term are paying in the $500k – $3 Million range per year for the service. I know people who perform this service and do it well. It’s worth it to many companies for you never to find out about that lawsuit or claim that is currently ranking #4 in Google.

It’s actually rather complicated to control the top 10 results. I don’t want you walking away from this article thinking you can own the top 10 results for any SERP just by Google bowling your competitors with off the shelf software.

But in Kahmir’s Example, his competitors (many of them) had a similar number of natural links. If he would have pointed that Chainsaw at his competitors, I’d bet dollars to donuts that he’d be ranking higher than them today.

That covers some of what to do with huge bursts of spamming links. Tomorrow I’ll go over how to intelligently use spammy links to build up your white hat link farm (or link onion or Link Pyramid – whatever you wanna call it!)

Kahmir’s Story: Link Spamming Gone Wrong

Yesterday, you saw the video on what a link spamming program like what Xrumer can do.

You may have even registered to try it out.

As long as you have an idea of what link spamming software can do, we can proceed. Because today we’re gonna cover some of the things NOT to do when link spamming.

To Illustrate, we’ll start with

The story of Kamihr

Kamihr is a web entrepreneur. He built his online shoe store over the past 4 years mainly through link buying, directory listings, and manual spamming Q&As / Press Releases (You know: White hat SEO 😉 ). Kamihr had 5k visitors per day from Google that was making him roughly $5k per month in profits.

Then a few weeks ago Kamihr sends me this frantic email:

Hi Quads,

My name is Kamihr and I own the site ***.com. I was in the top ten for all these terms:

*********
*********
*********
*********

and was pulling in more than $5k per month. Then all of a sudden my Google traffic went to almost nothing!! I still get like 100 visits per day, but Google was sending 4k visitors per day.

I don’t know what happened. I just want to get my rankings back; you gotta help me!

-Kahihr

If you’re high profile in the SEO space, I’m sure you’ve gotten more than your fair share of similar emails. So I check out his site and the backlinks and the first thing I notice is that he’s got thousands of Garbage links from forums in every language imaginable that all share one of 10 different text and backlink combinations.

Moreover, the dates from this link spam is all from the last 60 days according to the boards they were posted on. I asked him about it and he says:

“I bought XYZ link spamming software and gave it a try.”

What he did was spam 30,000+ links in under 2 months to his white Hat site that had only 2000 links to begin with. He used 10 different anchor texts (all the ones he wanted to rank for) and spammed them to the pages he wanted to rank.

Shit Like That Gives Link Spamming a Bad Name

It’s people like that who say things like “SEO / Link Spamming Doesn’t Work” or “You can’t beat Google” or “Black Hat SEO Sucks – stick to white hat”.

Why? Because they’re doing it all wrong.

Link Spamming Software (like Xrumer) is a Tool. It’s a powerful tool – like a chainsaw. If you don’t know how to use the tool correctly, you’re probably gonna get hurt. However, if you use it correctly, it will help you complete your mission much more quickly and effectively.

1. Don’t shoot off thousands of Spammy links directly to your White hat site.
2. Anchor text matching is a huge spam Signal.

Right now, many of you are scratching your head and wondering “If I’m not suppose to spam thousands of the same anchor text links to my White Hat Site, what is Link Spamming Good For?!?

Well stay tuned, because I’ll get into some of the right ways to link spam tomorrow!

Bloggers Wanted: Paying Up to $200 Cash Per Post

Are you about to publish a completely awesome post about SEO, Web-Spam, Landing Pages, or Social Media?

Stop

Before you press that publish button on your blog, consider this:

I will pay you up to $200 cash to post it exclusively here on seoblackhat.com.

Fame, Fortune and Love

What more could you want?

  • Fame: Posting here will get you exposure. seoblackhat gets more than 10,000 visitors per day and even more read our RSS feed.
  • Fortune: Alright, maybe $200 isn’t quite a fortune, but it’s a better deal than your getting for posting it on your own blog.
  • Link Love: A permalink from seoblackhat.com. The site has never been penalized, enjoys a PR 5 and gets plenty of search engine traffic.

It’s an awesome deal if your article gets accepted But. . .

Your Article Will Probably Be Rejected

Nothing personal, it’s just that most articles suck. I’m not looking for filler, I’m only looking for great articles. Don’t even bother submitting anything that isn’t fucking awesome.

Blogging Tips

Here’s a quick rundown of things that will help your great article get approved and get you paid:

1. Make a great headline, a magnetic headline. On average, 5 times more people will read a headline than will read the entire article.

2. Include Eye Catching and relevant graphics.

3. Use Interesting Sub-headers.

4. No Paragraphs Over 5 lines long. Small paragraphs are easier to read.

5. Use Bullets or Lists.

The Deal

The pay is 5 cents per published word up to 1000 words. There is a 100% bonus if the post gets popular on digg, del.icio.us or stumble and a 300% bonus if popular on all 3 (that’s a max of $200).

Your article may be edited before it is published. You are selling the article and all future copyrights to me.

Don’t be a shitbag and submit an article that isn’t yours or that has been published elsewhere. It’s just not worth it: trust me on this one.

How to Submit an Article

Create a wordpress account here. Use your Paypal email address so I can send you money.

Then go here, post and save. If you press “save and continue editing”, you can preview the post to see how it looks. You can Include an italicized signature at the bottom of the post of up to 200 characters with one link to your site. – You sig will not be included in your word count.

If I approve the post, you’ll get paid. It’s that simple. It’s the best deal out there – so why not take advantage?

Get started now.

Want to Abuse Google’s New “Hot or Not” Buttons”?

It seemed to me that Google never intended to buy Digg. They just used the tested Microsoft trick of starting a takeover bid to get their hands on all relevant information via the due diligence process. Then once they had that info, they were just like “nah, that’s OK. We’ve got what we wanted without paying $100 Million. Have a good life!”

We may never know whether or not that research has anything to do what I’m dubbing the new “Google Hot or Not Buttons.”

As you can see from this screenshot, now two buttons appear to either promote or remove a result:

Google Hot or Not

It’s probably too early to start trying to abuse this feature. That’s because it’s unlikely they will use this initial data to rank results.

I say, don’t break it til we’re sure it’s being used and worth breaking.

Then, of course, you’re gonna want to get to exploiting on a major scale. Malware is the most obvious attack vector, but that’s likely to be on the illegal side. Other exploit methods will include creating fake profiles – although that may prove difficult if Google is using email usage as a metrics for verifying user authenticity.

I don’t think it will benefit you to search for every term your sites rank for and promote every result; I have faith that Google isn’t that stupid in 2008. That method will probably not work, may be detrimental to your “user rep”, and will probably be a dead end that will have you wasting days on something that is unlikely to bear any fruit.

My advice is to take some time to think of how to best attack this new feature. No need to jump in, as your experiments may not show results even if those same experiments might work 8 months from now.

You want to abuse the Google Hot or Not Buttons?

Yea, me too. But be patience young Jedi.

A father Bull and his Boy are at the top of a hill. They See a heard of Cows grazing in a pasture down below. The Son says to to the Father Bull “Hey Dad, Let’s run down there and fuck one of those cows!”

“No son. Let’s walk down there and fuck ’em all” – Tony Soprano

A Hearty Welcome to All the New Search Engine Spammers!

The family of SEO Black Hats just got a whole lot bigger. Tons of people who thought they were playing by the rules, including sites in every category of the Internet, just got categorized as search engine spammers by Google in Matt Cutt’s recent post

How to report paid links

Google may provide a special form for paid link reports at some point, but in the mean time, here’s a couple of ways that anyone can use to report paid links:
– Sign in to Google’s webmaster console and use the authenticated spam report form, then include the word “paidlink” (all one word) in the text area of the spam report. If you use the authenticated form, you’ll need to sign in with a Google Account, but your report will carry more weight.
– Use the unauthenticated spam report form and make sure to include the word “paidlink” (all one word) in the text area of the spam report.

Anyone who buys or sells links is now a search engine spammer – and I say “Welcome to the Club!”

Now that you’ve popped your cherry, you might as well get yourself acquainted with how things work in the black hat world. You are no longer “on Google’s Side” (if you ever were in the first place).

It’s a war. Google has cast you as the enemy. Make sure you are prepared.

“Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” — Sun-tzu

RSS Magician

RSS Magician just launched with the ability to combine and rewrite RSS feeds on the fly to produce new feeds.

The result will be a feed that will contain a maximum of 10 FULL articles for one keyword at a time, from one of the articles directories. This is NOT like using the regular RSS feed that the article directories give you. By and large, their feeds will only give you a tidbit of the article to update your site with. RSS Magician allows you to grab the full article. You can use them on your sites, blogs or any other way you want (while of course complying with the free article’s terms of service).

RSS Magician also includes on the fly language translation, word substitution based on a synonym library, adding random text and sentence shuffling. While most people serious about BlackHat SEO will code their own content generation programs, at only $49 for the package, RSS Magician is a great way to get your feet wet without putting up much cash.

You can check out the details of RSS Magician here.

And as a bonus for SEO Black Hat Forum members, we’ve worked out a $10 discount on RSS magician so you can pick it up for only $39. The discount code is in this thread.

Happy Spamming!

Buy Viagra

Nice spot by Dave Naylor, Yahoo is tells UK Searchers to buy Viagra from Google:

Buy Viagra in Yahoo

Look at all those Yahoo results for buy Viagra! How could anyone look at something like that and not realize that Black Hat SEO is outright dominating the competitive SERPs?

If you’re wondering why Google is ranking for “Buy Viagra” in Yahoo, it is likely do to link spamming of Google Docs and Google redirects.

I wish I had a screenshot from last week when Google was showing the Yahoo Homepage at number 5 for “Online Poker” . . . that was due to a mention of online poker on the homepage and the domain trust + on page factors that Google uses.