Black Hat SEOs: Focus On Your Site, Not Competitors

Jun 4, 2013 • 9:04 am | comments (28) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under SEO - Search Engine Optimization

black hat SEOIn the SEO space, there are always two types of personalities. One is those that go head down and focus on improving their own site and then there are those that look at competitors and complain that they are doing things that are illegal. Typically, it is the first kind that wins out because they are making a difference, whereas the other is not really making a difference.

A thread from the SEO Blackhat Forums has one SEO, who seems new, asking about using bad links to push down his competitors or get them penalized. The response to that is amazing.

Here is one:

Why waste your time damaging other peoples businesses? I don't understand some people.

Use your time to gain your own ranking back.

And another:

Better throw your efforts into boosting your own stuff, rather than damaging someone elses.

So those are black hat SEOs responding or white hat SEOs responding in a black hat forum?

There are of course spammers and people doing illegal things like hacking but I would not classify black hat as illegal or criminal.

I like when I see these types of threads, it makes me feel like the blogging we do makes a difference.

Forum discussion at Black Hat SEO Forum.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for black hat

Previous story: Are These Your Best SEO Tips?



06/04/2013 01:23 pm

On the flipside, some black hat SEO people are just plain stupid. I remember a thread on BHW - where the main advice was: "penalised in Google?" > just remove your site from Google Webmaster Tools..... Doh!

Martin Oxby

06/04/2013 01:30 pm

Nice to see hints of common sense peering through the dark side of SEO. Now if we could just stop negative link building, fake reviews and website hacking we would be getting somewhere...


06/04/2013 01:34 pm

Border between black and white hat was lost many years ago. I remember, how many years ago Tedster from webmasterworld proudly reported, that he fed Google with millions of pages in just couple of days. Was it white hat ? Sure not. Simply because it's impossible to create millions of valuable pages in short period of time. So it was kind of spin or repost .... garbage anyway. Was it black hat ? Sure not. Just not smart enough. It calls SEO.


06/04/2013 01:36 pm

This suggestion was wide popular on webmasterworld after the first Panda.


06/04/2013 02:27 pm

You know, there's a context problem in this conversation. If we limit the conversation to Black Hat/ White Hat ("SEO"), we're missing a much bigger picture. What about people who sell (or need) 'reputation management' ? Isn't RM the same thing as SEO, from the opposite side, BY NATURE undertaken as a way to bury stuff (OK, your own, but still ... ) ? Burying stuff you want to be behind other stuff, for whatever reason, isn't black-hat. It's a tactic. A valid one


06/04/2013 02:32 pm

What's sad is the principle here -- Google created a system where "negative SEO" is confirmed to exist, and it is entirely possible to hurt your competitors by giving them bad links. This, in and of itself, is pathetic.


06/04/2013 02:54 pm

"Burying stuff you want to be behind other stuff, for whatever reason ... a tactic." This tactic has different names, including censorship, propaganda, lie ... It was widely used since the first humans. "A valid one" - Nope, not for everyone.


06/04/2013 03:38 pm

Self promotion and 'reputation management' are different things. In most cases 'reputation management' is something to do after the self promotion ) Everyone should just do the best. Then "management" will go by itself, naturally. P.S. It doesn't allow me to reply under your comment, since it's awaiting moderation. User experience on this blog is mediocre.


06/04/2013 04:36 pm

Thank you. I should learn from this to develop my personal page is wider


06/04/2013 05:02 pm

True enough to that last sentence about user experience, and since my comment isn't there I presume Barry nuked it because he sees me as an evil-doer and therefore no deserving of the right to provide context to my words by inclusing a link. I'd say what I think of that, but then this would get nuked, too. Your point about RM being different than SEO or sequential vis a vis self-promotion is interesting. Not WRONG, exactly, but sure not right. I presume that underneath it all you actually agree that RM is simply one branch OF SEO. And your point in the middle: "Everyone should just do the best. Then "management" will go by itself, naturally". I swear I mean no disrespect but that's pretty naive. Sure, in a perfect world cream just naturally rises to the top, but this isn't a vat of milk, it's life; promotion is part of the game.

Barry Schwartz

06/04/2013 05:03 pm

I did not nuke any comments. Disqus probably found it too close to spam and nuked it automatically.

Takeshi Young

06/04/2013 05:07 pm

If the end result is the same, people will choose whichever way is easiest.


06/04/2013 05:09 pm

That's actually worse, Barry. It was responsive to Anti-SEO's previous comment, had enough words to pass a broad filter for SPAM, etc. It DID include a link, but that's not enough to get kicked by DISQUS. So if your suspicion is correct ... well, like I said that's actually worse than if you had applied a "I run this place and bite me" filter.

Barry Schwartz

06/04/2013 05:11 pm

All I am saying is it was not intentional. It is not that I dislike you or anything.


06/04/2013 11:12 pm

Black hat world community has always been negative towards anyone willing to do negative things to other sites. BHW is really just the Digital Point of the black hat community. You need to go to the darker corners of the net for the real Black hat stuff.


06/04/2013 11:49 pm

You forgot to mention how Barry's writings are so wonderful and how his words are like fine paintings.


06/05/2013 12:01 am

It happens to all of us. I actually had comments nuked. For example, on a blog like this, if you mention that search results have certain types of sites in them - think of the stuff spammers sell which I can't mention because I'll get nuked - Disqus will nuke your comment. Yet some obscene comments make it past the filter... Go figure.


06/05/2013 12:19 am

I understand, and you're right. For MY nickel, though, I'm not OK with an algorithm determining what goes in my content marketing vehicle. Oh, and by the way, I responded twice more, and they got nuked as well. And in the interest of science I'm going to post a link to that comment as it lives here if you have the comment number, but ... not ... just ... yet ...


06/05/2013 12:19 am

... ok, now ...


06/05/2013 01:20 am

I wouldn't want an algo judging comments either but Barry's blog is extremely popular so think of all the spammers that post comments on here. I know I get a lot of spam comments on my site and it's no where near as popular as this one. Lately, I've been letting the comments pile up and I really don't like when it comes to moderating them. If my site becomes as popular as this one, I would have to use an algo also so I can't really blame Barry for this.


06/05/2013 01:39 am

Yikes. Even the post I added after my last one, with an INTERNAL link to this site, got nuked. You're right about volume, of course ... to a point. Barry's site is very highly trafficked, so of course a huge SPAM target. At the same time, I believe that when you're popular (famous ;-) ? ), you have an "obligation" to find a way to deal with it, even if that means paying staff to handle stuff (that in this case software isn't handling well enough). Also, I'm pretty sure there are settings in DISQUS that can be tweaked such that so harsh a treatment as what's happening here doesn't. It's a tough one, for sure.

Ben Thompson

06/05/2013 09:54 am

I'm in the latter category, being annoyed that another competitor is doing so well compared to us, even though their website is absolutely terrible, have way fewer backlinks from lower quality sources and rarely even use the keyword we're trying to rank for! Completely don't understand how they're so good. Haven't done anything bad to them or anything but yeah, just annoying -.-


06/05/2013 02:50 pm

Old school blackhat means you are willing to do anyhting to get in front of your competitors. Period. There is no need to get ethical. These bh-wannabes are just scared that they cant get rid of the ghosts they very much called themselves.

Tim Reed

06/06/2013 06:55 am

According to me, the White hat SEO's have respond in a black hat forum. As there are two sides of every coin, the same is here. White hat SEO is a clean process which is carried out to gain better results in the long run. Many SEOs are using Black hat techniques to gain results in stipluated time frame, they definately get results but they cannot make them steady over a long period of time. We should try to focus more on our own website rather than planning strategies to bring down our competitiors website, even if they are ranking better than us in the current situation by doing ethical or unethical seo. We can be sure that in the long run we will rank better than others by following the white hat seo processes and techniques. Tim Reed,


06/10/2013 06:27 pm

Agreed its not useful or ethical to spend time trying to downgrade competitors. It is smart though however to monitor and learn from how your competitors rank, see where their inbound links are coming from. I use to compare my site to competitors with the “compare link metrics” tool. It is useful to see how competitors are ranked against our own metrics. Great article thank you for sharing!


06/12/2013 02:30 pm

Great information Barry your advice is priceless - I totally agree with the fight against Black Hat SEO. Webmasters & SEO consultants should adhere to Google Guidelines if they want their website to rank - if you don't then perform Black Hat or employ a fly by night SEO Company that will promise the earth and half the cost of a White Hat SEO Company - and when you get sandboxed or get warnings from Webmaster tools - you won't see them again!

John Cox

10/22/2013 07:02 pm

TY for the post. A few people are not satisfied with the superficiality projected by others and are willing to dig where other people would not go...

Spook SEO

01/29/2014 11:16 pm

I think this is the Black Hat tactics that Google could never point out or target in every of their udpates such as Penguin and Panda.

blog comments powered by Disqus