The Human Side of Black Hat SEO

Editors Note: I thought I would take the day off today and invite a guest author on the blog for you all! Please be nice to Dustin it’s his first time here, he approached me with an epic idea for a post and with recent events in our little “SEO bubble” I couldn’t wait to hit the Publish button on this one…

Author’s Note: Chris helped me out a ton in gathering interviews and giving me ideas. He’s the best. I’m sad I couldn’t use everything that everyone typed, because most of it was brilliant. I’d also like to thank Bill, Ian, Paddy, Paul, Rand, Eric and the folks on Reddit who answered my silly questions. You’re all great. 



“Forgive me Matt Cutts, for I have sinned…”

I don’t use some of the same SEO practices I used 8 months ago. I’ve moved on from some ineffective and borderline spammy practices, but I’m still the same person I always was. Some industry dinosaurs label practices I still use as “spammy” or “black hat” even when I wholeheartedly disagree. These prehistoric lizards have seen the SEO world evolve from its Jurassic period to its Cretaceous period and they’re quick to point fingers. And we’re all quick to point fingers at one another—but we’re all people.

Regardless of our experience, our insider knowledge, the size of our cubicles and our psychic search algorithm predictions, we’re all just people. That means those black hat practices we speak of only in hushed whispers are the product of people. People just like us.

People who use black hat tactics aren’t cloaked warlocks reciting ancient incantations in dark towers—they’re our friends, our siblings and our lovers. They’re us. People use black hat practices because they can get away with it, because they disagree with Google’s policies, because the money is good or because white hat strategies just don’t work for them. I think it’s time to examine the human side of black hat SEO.

What is Black Hat SEO?

We usually define black hat SEO as “the tactics other people use” or “the tactics I would never use,” but it goes beyond that.

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