The BlackHatters are predominantly PPC guys, as per the name of our blog ‘Black Hat PPC.’ However, every now and then we get to talk to some Black Hat SEO’s. Now whilst we don’t get involved in Black Hat SEO ourselves (Black Hat PPC is hard enough) it is interesting to hear about the ways that they do Black Hat SEO.
One topic of conversation the other day, was how SEO’s can grass up competing sites to Google in order to get them penalised in the organic rankings. This is so that their own websites will move up the rankings (pretty sneaky stuff we though, but totally legit) as the competitors drop off. We were checking out Google’s page on this and they have a page for reporting Webspam…
So you can report other websites for buying and selling links. Something that is well known in SEO but we thought it was more about people ‘buying links’ than ‘selling links’…as normally you would look at their backlink profile to see if they have been buying links from ‘dodgy neighbourhoods’ – (oh yeah, we’re down with the SEO lingo ) But we didn’t really realise that is also applied to sites that sell links as well.
Normally, when we think of sites selling links they are those crazy link farms but then we were reminded of an email we sent some months back…
Someone used the Contact Form to send a comment or question:
From: BlackHatters, email: email@example.com
Subject: Sponsored Links
Company: Black Hat PPC
First off – really like the blog. Been following it for ages now and its always really insightful stuff.
Just wondering what we would have to do to be on the sponsored links section of your blog?
To which we got this response…
Subject: Re: Advertising Inquiry (Visitor Contact Form)
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2011 09:08:55 -0400
We charge $350 per month.
Now, before we go any further, we don’t pay for links (mainly because we cant afford it and we don’t monetise this blog) so we gulped at the figure that came back from SEroundtable.com for how much they wanted to have a link on their site. Normally, when we ask people for links they say either yes or no (similar to the link we have on PPC.Bz who gave us a free link out of the goodness of their hearts – thanks again for that!:-)) but they don’t ask for money, so we were surprised by this response from seroundtable.com.
We really like the blog seoroundtable.com and have nothing personally against them. But why we are writing about this is the hypocrisy that seems to be going on in the background here. Google says that they will penalise websites for selling links, but seoroundtable.com has a section called ‘sponsored links’ on its homepage…
It couldn’t be anymore obvious that they were selling links unless they put it in flashing neon lights! (Point to note: it would have been legit if they followed Google guidelines and added nofollow to the links. Then they are just selling legit adspace for referal traffic.)
But besides the fact that they are selling links, you also have to look at the sites that are buying these links. There are two links that have the anchor text ‘search engine optimisation’ which link off to SEO companies. And this is were it gets really funny, it’s how these apparently reputable SEO agencies are offering their own SEO link building services, when they themselves are blatantly buying links themselves…
Check out the slogan, “trusted and verfidied…”
Slogan “SEO that works”
SEO Positive is the UK’s leading SEO agency.
Errrm! Seriously. How can they have these slogans on their sites and be seen buying links???
But the hilarity doesn’t stop there! Seoroundtable.com is one of the most respected blogs in the industry, probably second only searchengineland.com or SEOmoz (in our humble opinion,) and these guys are well known within the industry and could be referred to as ‘friends with Google’, as there are articles going back to 2005 from Matt Cutts, Google’s top SPAM detective, showing the relationship between Matt and Barry…
So if Matt’s job is to catch WebSpam, how have he and Google not noticed seoroundtable.com selling links in the past? But far from us to start a conspiracy theory that Google is turning a blind eye to their mates selling links, it may be that Barry is just been right all along, and that SEO’s simply dont grass on other SEO’s…
(Don’t worry, your secret is safe with us!)
Brought to you by Black Hat PPC.
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