I have explored the theme of Black Hat SEO before. What I haven’t highlighted, is that there are many subdivisions in Blackhat too. Ranging from SERP Spamming to Autogeneration of Content, the field is immense. And there are some serious geniuses in it.
I will point out three key points that should stay in your mind before you complete reading this post.
1. If you are aiming to manipulate the SERPs, then you are at risk of losing that income. So don’t attempt anything unless you know how to hide the inner Shadiness of your Black hat sites
Alrighty. So when it all comes down to it for blackhat, one of the primary goals is simple. Not getting caught.
The most powerful sites out there are ones that can properly ride the line. They can conceal their own motivations and tactics even to the prying eye. For every webmaster violation, there’s a level of obscurity protecting them. For every blackhat link that may get busted, there’s enough that are (and others that just appear) whitehat to call into question their truly blackhat motivations. For all the bickering in the SEO world over blackhat vs. whitehat, it would appear the best are truly a combination. Slightly Shady
2. And if you do venture into blackhat, don’t make it your key source of income. Ignoring the risk is a foolhardy decision.
Please don’t confuse ignorant SEOs with Black Hat SEOs… the ignorant ones are those who execute on Black Hat (evil) tactics without managing the risks (either out of ignorance or folly doesn’t matter to me here). John Andrews
3. Don’t confuse Ethics with morals. If you do venture into more risqué strategies, it doesn’t mean to you are immoral.
John Andrews is an SEO whose opinions I love to hear, and in fact only recently we had a banter over Jill Whalen’s post (edit: whose opinons I repect – I am not implying that the the arguments for / against ethics with repect to Google guidelines is what Jill is focussing on, I understand that the post linked to is about the quality in SERPs, just avoid that attitude in respect to this post and in learning about automation).
@rishil “ethical” argument will never succeed. Ever. Ethics are culture-based and fluid, proportional to enlightenment. Competition is not.
Although taken out of context (we were discussing the simpler tactics such as paid links and keyword rich domains as highlighted in Jill’s post and the idea of 100% ethical SEO) I think this is an important statement. Googles rules are just THEIR rules, and breaking them necessarily doesn’t make you evil – just makes your livelihood riskier.
Calm down. WebSpam breaks rules, not laws. It works if you can handle it. If you can’t, follow the SE guidelines. Decide, don’t preach.
And thats just it. Dont debate on ethics unless you really have to. And in fact John just posted:
That’s a lot like SEO. You win, you get traffic. You don’t win, you don’t get traffic. Simple, really. It doesn’t matter how you play.
Back on Point : The Birth of Automation
Although there are different factions in Blackhat SEO, one of the key points that stand out to me whenever I speak to various Blackhats, is that Automation is one of the pillars of the dark industry of OSM. (To coin a phrase: Organic Search Manipulation – am fed up of Black/white hat terms so created my own ).
Now let’s get this straight – Automation isn’t a revolution, it was an eventuality. If you are a student of Business Management (and I was!), you would have heard of Frederick Winslow Taylor, the father of Scientific Management – the art of breaking down the sum of one activity into smaller more efficient parts. Taylorism along with the principles of Henry Ford gave rise to Mass Production:
“a model of economic expansion and technological progress based on the mass production: the manufacture of standardized products in huge volumes using special purpose machinery and unskilled labour”
Management theories around scientific management led to the assembly line, which later led to high rise in automation in the manufacturing industry. And today, this process is slowly being introduced online. Mass production and replication are easier today than they were a few years back. The rate at which API’s and RSS feeds are being made available from various web properties are only adding to the growth of this industry.
So what are the arguments in favour of Automation?
In my mind, the biggest one is cost. It costs money to write 1000’s of articles. It costs money to design, host and create 1000’s of sites. It costs money to get 100,000’s of links to these 1000 sites.
The second one is time. It isn’t easy, and it isn’t fast. But if you can create that much “content” and get it ranking, the money is there for the taking. You just have to read my post on Content Farms and Demand Media to understand how much money is available to those who can scale their properties.
Automation for Fun and Profit
Writing about Automation as far back as 2007, Slightly Shady raises some really valid points when considering the use of automation:
- How Much Time Will this Take?
- Is Automating this Within my Abilities?
- If I Automate this, How Likely are they to Change the Architecture?
- Do I lose quality in favor of automation?
- How Many Additional Resources Would this Take?
There are many parts to Automation for OSM, but the key sum of parts as I would advise a beginner to investigate are three:
a) Content Generation / Manipulation
There are many was to generate “new” content, from scraping, to feed integration, to content Spining. Infact it amazes me how many SEO’s don’t know much about the art of Spinning – rearranging content to seem unique – a simple example is dropping English Text into Russian Googl e Translate, then retranslating the Russian output into English. (simples!) However there are more complex techniques out there, such as the mathematical use of the Markov Chain (see explanation here ) Markov Text Generators are interesting entities, and I think this post does the job of describing them better than I. Imagine being able to combine Amazon, youtube, flickr and ebay products per keyword into one useful post? You can withthe WP Robot autoblog plugin.
b) Link Generation
Ooh I can haz automated links? Yes you can. You have seen them in action – you have eve been fooled by some. These range from ping tools to comment spam to forum bots. An elegant comment spammer will have some success. After all, it seems that comment spam works and is cheaper than adwords (New York Times!)…
c) Automated Site Builds
I love wordpress. With the onset of 3.0, you no longer have to fiddle with Wordress MU. You can autogenerate 100’s of sites in a matter of minutes.
And this is another key element of technology today – with the right devs in place you can churn and burn 100’s of sites by the hour. Isn’t that cheaper than outsourcing the builds or even wordpress installs to humans?
Profiting from Automation
OK, I don’t think I can highlight this any better than a full 100 slide full of examples and demonstrations from SEOIdiot (Paul Madden) at Think Visibility earlier this year. So let me pull out a few key points, and you may just have to hound him for the presentation
1. Learn to be a Responsible entrepreneur – Measure everything and look for that magic margin to scale around.
- Test the model
- When margin is proven, SCALE
2. Find the right niches at the right time. An example of revenue:
- Grab Big Brother contestants name Full cost of set up etc? £10
- Site runs for 9 weeks
- 650,000 uniques
- £4K + in Adsense revenue
Some Play Material
Disclaimer: The links below are to tools and resources on autoblogging. They are affiliate links where possible. And please use at your own risk! To paraphrase Paul (SEO Preston ):
- Its not my fault if you get in trouble
- Its not my fault if you get banned
- Movie Automators
- The IMDB Plugin
- Customized Content Creation
- The Shadow Maker
- AutoBlogged – Blog post automation.
- Zip Poster
- PHP Video Blog
- Auto Blogging Decoded
- Power Autoblog
- Super Blogger
- Google Trends Assassin
- Spin Profit (Article Spinner)
- Markov Spinner
- Power Article Writer
Finally – these are just a handful of the tools out there to test the waters. Subscibe to the blog, because I will be adding reviews on some cool ones soon.
Rishi Lakhani is an independent Online Marketing Consultant specialising in SEO, PPC, Affiliate Marketing and Social Media. Explicitly.Me is his Blog. Google Profile