I was reviewing inbound links on a website as the webmaster had paid for some inbound links to be generated (alarm bells should have been ringing already). So I look at some of the links and found the next generation of inbound link spam. So after a rant, I then started looking for other next generation spam techniques the wondrous black hat people have come up with…..and what a can of worms that was.
New Black Hat Techniques
With the growth of blogging, twitter, online reputation management they have had the opportunity to diversify and find new opportunities for their disreputable spam techniques.
Blog Link Farms
With the change in emphasis in Google so more weighting is place on inbound links from blogs and reviews than directories, it was an obvious one for black hat guys to start spamming. Creating a blog that is just a list of URLs seems to be an easy choice to get inbound links generated. In essence it’s just a glorified link farm, just presented in an alternative format. My advice on is if you are approached by any company who says they will generate content and publish it on a blog, to stay well clear.
Taking short cuts on inbound links doesn’t work. Going the mile and actually doing some of your own blogging, getting comments and even commenting on other people’s blog, may be an investment of time, but the rewards will be reaped long term.
Online Reputation Management
I have seen example of SEO companies branching out into reputation management. In this instance where there are negative brand remarks regarding a personal or company brand, then getting other content ranked higher is an option for decreasing the presence of this content in the search engines. I have seen instances where I would say optimised pages have been uploaded to other blogs and websites and these have then been linked up to boost their rankings. So you have completely waffle, irrelevant pages regarding the brands being ranked. These pages fly close to the boundaries of spam regarding the content, with little relevant content for the user.
Surely if there is negative content, then pushing positive news stories out and creating a dialogue with the author of the negative comments would deem an appropriate course of action. Not to flood the search engines with content that smells like spam.
How can I forget this one. People that create a Twitter account to push content that is irrelevant and spam, in the hope that they’ll drive traffic to the URLs they are promoting. Twitter is quite good at identifying accounts. However there are other accounts (and I won’t publish the URLs) that fly below the radar, that don’t have a description of the user, and they follow you and then spam you with direct messages. Not only that the topic of their tweets covers such a huge raft of subjects, that it’s obviously they are not genuinely participating in Twitter.
So what next?
It’s a matter of the search engines and social media sites catching up with the game and starting to penalise the users and sites for their activities. For as long as this type of black hat techniques go un-noticed, then it just is a growing problem.
It ruins it for the white hat guys as well, as as long as the black hat technique guys are promoting their shady ways and undercutting on price, then how can it be a level playing field.
What’s your experience of the new black hat techniques and how do you think they should be governed?