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Dark Side of SEO


Lee Odden

The Real Cost of Buying Links for SEO: $4 Million

Lee Odden on Sep 1st, 2010     Dark Side of SEO, Online Marketing, SEO

stack of moneyI was reading a copy of the Inc. 500 issue on my flight back from Dallas this weekend and came across an article about a seasonal online retailer that was “penalized” right before the Holidays for paid links. He estimated the revenue loss due to plummeting organic search visibility at $4 million in sales.  Now he’s “thanking” Google for the spanking because he’s mended his ways and is reborn as a social media enthusiast.

I’m not sure I buy the “social media has turned things around” story exactly, but I do wonder how many companies and consultants roll the dice and take shortcuts and loopholes to get ahead only to find out later it’s worthless? The notion of paid links is an old story (Paid Links Evil? Dec 2005) but many of the tactics used to shortcut results for SEO will always be a fresh topic of discussion.

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SES San Jose: Black Hat vs White Hat Playing Dirty with SEO

TopRank Online Marketing on Aug 20th, 2008     Dark Side of SEO, Online Marketing, Search Engine Strategies, SEO

Black Hat White Hat SEO Panel

People love controversy, and that was clearly in evidence at this SES session covering the most controversial of SEO debates, White Hat versus Black Hat. Moderator Matthew Baily of SiteLogic and his crew of experts from both sides spoke to a standing-room only crowd. Panelists included:

  • Greg Boser of 3 Dog Media
  • Todd Friesen, Director of SEO at Range Online
  • Bruce Clay, President of Bruce Clay, Inc.
  • David Naylor, SEO of Bronco
  • Jill Whalen, CEO of High Rankings

The speakers were, for the most part, vague about what color their hats were, but each expert drew upon their own professional experience, techniques and observations when responding to questions posed by Matthew and the audience.

What is Black Hat SEO?

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SES San Jose Session: Keynote with Lee Siegel

TopRank Online Marketing on Aug 18th, 2008     Dark Side of SEO, Online Marketing, Search Engine Strategies, SEO, Social Media

Jeynote with Lee Siegel

Lee Siegel is the Author of Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob. I haven’t read the book, but this session shed a new light on the effects of the online world we all currently live in.

Kevin Ryan leads this Q/A session, focusing mainly on how the digital mafia is affecting our society’s current state of being and the challenges foreseen for the future.

A few of the Q/A highlights from the session include:

Where do you see this online world we’ve created taking us? Do you see us moving in a negative or positive direction?

The internet is a revolution in the social arrangement, and technology is not a cure for human nature. The media is opening their doors to online audiences, however most media venues have tight controls.

Lee Odden

Crowdsourcing This Way Cometh

Lee Odden on Apr 3rd, 2007     Dark Side of SEO, Online Marketing, Social Media

I haven’t had the chance to write about any “dark side” social media stuff in a loooooong time. But today I caught wind of “Subvert and Profit” (blog) and they make no bones about their intentions. The opening paragraph sets the tone:

“Content-pushers and social bookmarkers rejoice! The democracy of web 2.0 is about to get a major dose of capitalism as the crowdsourcing revolution begins. This revolution will bring you money, should you choose to embrace it. Subvert and Profit, our brand new site, is leading the charge.”

Apparently they’re starting with Digg and plan to move on to other social news and bookmark services. Advertisers pay $1 per Digg and diggers get paid $.50 per Digg. Oh my, this is pure capitalism alright, of the super spam sort.

Lee Odden

Reciprocal Articles to Replace Reciprocal Links?

Lee Odden on Jun 22nd, 2006     Dark Side of SEO, Link Building, Online Marketing, SEO

Everyone in the search marketing biz is pretty familiar with automated emails soliciting link requests as well as those for reciprocal link exchanges. Normally, anything that makes it past my spam filter that alludes to some kind of link request just gets the big “D” for delete.

I received one this morning that was pretty interesting though. It was a solicitation to exchange articles, not just links. I guess those reciprocal link schemes are trying to appear more legitimate by using links within content.

Dear Webmaster,
I handle article exchange program for my client, www.spammy-hypenated-domain-name-here.com

As an ongoing process to increase the link popularity of my sites, I am looking for some good high quality article exchange with my client’s site.

Lee Odden

SES NYC Interviews

Lee Odden on Mar 15th, 2006     Blog Marketing, Blogging, Dark Side of SEO, Interviews, Marketing Industry News, Marketing PR Conferences, Online Marketing, Podcast Marketing, Search Engine Strategies, Search Marketing, SEO

Chris Pirillo and Jake hit up Search Engine Strategies New York and did a number of interviews which you can hear at his SES 2006 Archive page. Interviewees include:

  • Copernic on Desktop Search
  • David Sifry on Technorati and Entreprenuership
  • Lee Odden on Blogs and Search Marketing (More “umms” and “ahhs” than you’ve ever heard in one conversation!”
  • Jay Budzik of Intellext on Watson Contextual Search
  • Jim Lanzone of Ask.com on Search
  • Joshua Stylman and Peter Hershberg of Reprise Media on Contextual Advertising
  • Danny Sullivan on SES, Tags and Googlefasting
  • Meet Joe Spammer – Confessions of a Search Marketer
  • Matt Cutts of Google on Search Engine Spam

Some good stuff in there, check it out.

Lee Odden

Interview with a Search Spammer

Lee Odden on Mar 9th, 2006     Dark Side of SEO, Interviews, Marketing PR Conferences, Online Marketing, Search Engine Strategies, SEO

Chris Pirillo gets the goods on search engine spam with an interview of an anonymous “search spammer” at the New York Search Engine Strategies conference. The voice is decidedly European, possibly German – yes, it’s German.

“At SES Chris interviewed one search spammer who asked to remain nameless while providing some interesting details about the inner workings of the search spamming world. On one hand the interview reveals some of the motivations for spamming the search engines. More interesting are the search spamming tactics these black hat marketers won’t employ because even they are annoyed by the end result.”

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