LAST EDITED ON Oct-12-07 AT 03:40 AM (PST)
What's black hat? What's whitehat? What's grayhat?
These are opinions that will differ from person to person.
However, for this forum we will need to define these terms and I'll be using my own definitions so that we are all on one "page"...Not that mine are right or better than your's...
Blackhat = Anything you do on someone else's site to improve your own site, that is against the other site's TOS or common manners.
Whitehat = Anything we do on our own sites. I do not believe setting up 1,000,000 doorway pages on my own site is blackhat. I am paying for my hosting. I am paying for my domains. Unlike other types of spam, I'm paying my own way.
I'm going to make understanding even the most complex blackhat strategies very simple: They exploit other people's sites for their own gain.
This is most often done in one of two ways:
1. "Borrowing" others' content.
2. Looking for exploits in other people's sites for their own gain.
There's legit ways to use others' content. One is through use of RSS pheeds. Some webmasters will cry that you're not supposed to use their pheed. However, the whole reason for RSS to exist is to "syndicate" your content.
I do believe that when using others' pheeds, you keep their info intact, don't use "nofollow" and give them a legit link back. Blackhatters will try to hide their links, or even mis-direct the links to affiliate programs.
Probably the biggest form of Blackhat SEO is for linking...As most of us know, linking is a major part of SEO.
Blackhatters look for anyway they can get access to others' sites and pages. Some blackhatters will go so far as to try to hack into your site. But we won't deal with this type of blackhatter.
Mostly, blackhatters look for opportunities YOU give them to add links to their site. Sure, they abuse these opportunities, but it's important to understand the concept.
Any way you give someone else to write something on your website, or control any part of your site is an opportunity for a blackhat link spammer.
Some of the more common ways they do this are blog comment spam and forum posting spam. As you can see, here's a case where a webmaster gives the ability to modify their site.
So let's make a quick list of potential opportunities for blackhatters:
social bookmaking sites (they allow others to modify pages)
classified ad sites
free hosting sites
blog trackback spam
Blackhatters even look for "referal spam" opportunities.
What do I mean by referal spam?
Have you ever seen a site that lists the "top sites" that send them traffic, then link to those sites? Blackhatters will easily "game" this, making the other site think they are sending them traffic, when they are not.
Another way is search the engines looking for popular web stats programs that have been indexed in the search engines. If a site's web logs/stats are in the engines, the blackhatter will again "game" the site, making it appear that it is sending them a lot of traffic.
Now, the blackhat site will appear as a "top referer" and because the other site's stats are indexed, the blackhat site gets a link.
The thing to remember is that there's a number of ways to automate finding these exploits. There's blackhat software to find just about any exploit.
We'll cover some of this software as time goes on...Some can be used for legit reasons, others are just plain evil.
I'll end this post with another of my own opinion...I have a bit of a Robin Hood mentality. I have very little problem "gaming" some of the big, million dollar sites, while feeling that the little guy should be left alone. I can't really defend this "robbing from the rich, give to the poor", so I won't.
But I will say, we'll see if we can't exploit some of the bigger sites for our own good.
Let me give you an idea of what is acceptable in this forum, and what isn't:
Acceptable - Someone has a good page that will be of interest to many. We will "game" the social bookmarking sites to give our fellow member more exposure.
Unacceptable - Stealing and posting others' property here. By this, I mean we won't be sharing software, ebooks, etc, which some other blackhat sites do.
Unacceptable - Spamming other little guys' blogs, forums, etc. WE can and will discuss how to find relelvant places to post our links that give us the most return, but not spam. By this, I mean we may find a method to find relevant blogs that don't have "nofollow" tags. but instead of spamming these resources, we will add useful comments to them.
This is actually a win-win. We're just going to make sure we get links back for our contributions.