Lee Odden

OpenCamp Blackhat SEO with Social Media

The first content session I’m attending at OpenCamp is by Gio, aka Giovanni Gallucci, a longtime search and social media marketer based in Dallas. The topic is “Blackhat SEO” and the room is packed!
The session was cut a bit short due to technical difficulties with getting the conference started and Gio took it in stride and was both entertaining and informative – the right mix for a morning tech crowd.

Gio says “Black hat is simply another way to automate a time-consuming process. In other areas of marketing and life in general we encourage automation in order to maximize efficiency and get a leg up on our competitors”.

According to the conference session description, the nature of this session doesn’t allow liveblogging or tweeting, which i think is a load of crap, so I’ll liveblog it anyway.

Speaking of liveblogging, I am writing this on an iPad and the brilliant WordPress app deleted the first version, so I am writing now from memory on a notepad app.

The session is basically about what Gio does on a daily basis for his SEO clients. Based on insights from Woopra analyticz Gio says these are 5-6 social media sites you need to focus on to drive traffic and affect your search visibility:

– Media sharing: YouTube and Flickr
– Social Bookmarking: StumbleUpon
– Social Networks: Facebook & Twitter

When you undertake your social media marketing efforts, don’t let “little people” and naysayers hold you back. Gio gives Cali Lewis as an example with her growth of online shows and current success with GeekBeat.TV

As far as as Geolocation services like Gowalla, Foursquare, Whrrrl, etc Gio says these are cute and fun, but that there’s not much measurable social media marketing value to them. (If you don’t buy that, check out Mashable.com for FourSquare case studies)

We’re 15 min into the presentation and thee’s no black hat SEO yet 🙂

YouTube lists are unreal for driving search traffic. Organize your individual videos into lists and optimize them. Find other videos that are highly trafficked and add them to lists that include your own videos. If you’re not creating video, you’ve got to get started.

Tools: tubetoolbox.com (Now we’re getting into the automation and almost black hat stuff). With YouTube ToolBox, Gio says you create a message in 2-3 sentences, mail merge their username and then create multiple versions of the message with different content and the same call to action. Then you can schedule the sending of messages to YouTube users that have been harvested at the rate of about 20 messages per hour. Something like: Hey “username” I saw that you commented on a video about XYZ and wanted to let you know about another similar video and would love your opinion.”.

I have to note, using automation tools like this must be done by someone that REALLY knows what they’re doing or you will suffer consequences. Managing risk vs. reward is important and for the record, my agency doesn’t use automation in this way.

The key to getting YouTube videos ranked high is activity on YouTube. with Flickr, you can add comments with a link back to your content.

Take advantage of current events. Gio shows a video of ComicCon geeks talking about how comic are not geeky anymore. Thee’s some irony to a code geek making fun of comic book geeks.

When going somewhere offline to get photos or video for content, blend in. Gio tells a story of buying a cowboy getup to blend in at a rodeo or maybe it was somewhere else like that where there was a concentration of cowboy types.

Keep it fresh. For example, make a presentation the day you give it.

Tool: tweetaddr 3.0. Using this tool makes it appear as if you’re communicating with Twitter via a web browser (when you’re not and actually using an automated follow tool).

“Can’t is not an option”. Gio gave an example of a how a school with only 200 kids earned 68,000 votes on a list of top schools.

“Show up and just get it done”. If you look like you’re supposed to be there, no one will bother you. (Regarding collecting content or promoting online content in the offline world).

Tool: Bookmarking Daemon – Put in your social boomarking accounts and it will randomly pick your content and promote it.

According to the room monitor, that’s all the time we have. You can find out more about Giovanni on his blog: Blog.gallucci.net and get a copy of his social media manifesto at: gallucci.net/smm

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Lee,nnThanks for the coverage – LOL – the “don’t tweet this session” was a bit of social engineering 😉 We’ll call it real-world link-bait. nnHope you’ll be at the conference tomorrow also – I’m off to take pictures of more cowboys riding bulls.

  2. Lee,nnI have a YouTube video, and while on YouTube I can check out various stats for this video.nnI see lots of traffic coming from another YouTube video made by someone else.nnI assume this happens because when people see the other video, mine appears on the list of videos they show on the right sidebar.nnMy video is about my favorite football team, and there are thousands of videos about this team on YouTube.nnSince this is a significant source of traffic, I can’t help but wonder why my video is “piggybacked” on the sidebar of this one particular video that someone else made.nnIf I could figure this out, maybe I could do something to get my video shown in the sidebar for many other videos instead of just one or two. This would dramatically increase the number of people who see it in the sidebar and click on it.nnDo you have any idea how I can do this?

  3. Interesting.. nndo you guys think that services like Owalla, Foursquare, Whrrrl, etc will have a major impact in the future for seo?nnn-artmarketingstudio.com

  4. If any site produces web content that can be crawled by search engine spider, then it creates a potential signal that might be of some benefit to SEO. So with that in mind, yes, there could be some type of SEO benefit.

  5. I do Greg, but I would defer you to Gio. @gallucci since that’s his recommendation

  6. Greg,nnI might be able to give you some insight here – shoot me an email at [email protected]i.net – verify via spamarrest and we’ll chat via email.nn- @giovanni

  7. There’s a very thin line between black and white hat SEO. There should be some specific guidelines to make out which is which. Is automated blog/forum posting bad? Not if it doesn’t look too spammy.

  8. Avatar Lisa | SEO Brisbane says

    I agree, if you fit in no one will notice, but do it poorly and suffer…

  9. Good article, I definitely need to be using flickr more as I use all of the other main services he mentioned except flickr.