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How Do I Become an SEO Blackhat?

October 3rd, 2007 by shawn · 4 Comments


Recently on a forum, someone asked the following (exactly worded) question “How do I become a SEO blackhat?” and while I normally don’t respond to threads like that, I felt like it this time.After I posted my response, I thought to myself, “That was a lot of typing that I probably wasted on a dozen people who won’t even get it.” So I decided to post it here as well, so at least another dozen people will at least read it. :)

So. Here’s the answer to the question…

Either you are or you are not a blackhat.

Why do I say this? Because the best blackhats I know are by their very nature blackhat. What I mean by this is that as people they share certain qualities that are part of their very nature and their very personality.
- They look for unusual, outside-of-the-box, creative solutions to problems
- They don’t follow the status quo
- They don’t just take anyone’s word for it; they try things out for themselves
- They think for themselves, i.e. they aren’t typically following the crowd, but they are on the outskirts observing the crowd and taking mental notes
- They have no fear of what might happen or what naysayers tell them will happen; they just jump right in to whatever they are doing
- They are able to learn quickly and along with that they learn from their many experiences quickly
- They laugh at the limitations others attempt to place on them or on their goals, and make it their mission to accomplish what they set out to do
- Blackhats are to the internet as punk rock is to music
- BHs are the underground, they are the ones who know what the mainstream doesn’t know and isn’t interested in and doesn’t even know is possible

So can you learn this stuff? Sure, I suppose you could pick up a few tricks and learn a few methods. You could read some e-books and learn about the world of the blackhat.

Can you turn yourself into a blackhat? I don’t think so. Either you is or you ain’t.

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    4 Comments

    Comment by Egon
    2007-10-26 21:21:50

    Partially, yes. But the author is right for the most part. Scenario:

    Google pushes a new algorithm change for links back (which they have done recently.)

    A “whitehat” will read Matt Cutts’ blog post explaining the change and how to conform to it to make their site rank better. At least that’s what they think will happen.

    A “blackhat” will look for a way to exploit the change and actually use the new rule to their advantage.

    This is a very simple explanation, and is hardly a great example, but hopefully you get the idea.

    The main point is the “blackhats” think outside the box and take full advantage of new opportunities by breaking the rules, whereas a “whitehat” SEO will do everything according to the rules of whatever service they’re using.

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    Comment by Egon
    2007-10-26 21:23:12

    Now that I think about it, here’s a very (very) simple example of blackhat vs whitehat. It’s a post I wrote about exploiting the new-ish service BlogRush to get double credits. Read the post: Getting Double Credits with BlogRush

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    2011-10-17 14:20:40

    Extreme but probably quite right in your opinions of black hats, though I do not think they there experiments last for long, the on-page stuff they employ is quite limited now.

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    2011-10-17 14:22:00

    There is nothing wrong with thinking outside of the box, but applying guide-lined techniques that work is not ever going to do you any harm.

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