Confessions of a Retired Black Hat SEO: 7 Crazy Tactics That Yielded Big Gains


When I began my career in Search Engine Optimization, I happened to be 16 yrs old. And, just like most 16 12 months olds, I didn’t stress much about “consequences.”  In my fairytale globe, they didn’t truly exist.

We all figure out how to understand better as we age, however you need certainly to keep in mind that I happened to be naive. When I began my journey in to the realm of Search Engine Optimization, I didn’t concern yourself with Google’s principles… i recently did whatever I wanted.

In the event that you fast toward today, I don’t leverage or training black hat practices assuming I could take action yet again, i’dn’t have dabbled into the art regarding the dark part. Why? Because if I invested all of that time and energy on genuine strategies, i’d have produced a much larger long-lasting business.

I won’t bore the reasons why you need to stay away from black hat search engine optimization, while you already know just them. Instead, I’m planning give out 7 crazy strategies (with data) that I leveraged as a kid.

You’ll rapidly see that I happened to be a truly imaginative kid… plus it’s one of many reasons i actually do really as a marketer today.

Crazy Tactic number 1: TwitThis

What’s something that every blog has? Well, needless to say, every blog has material… however they also have personal sharing buttons.

From Twitter, to Twitter as well as LinkedIn… the truth is these personal sharing buttons every-where. But, that has beenn’t constantly the outcome.

Whenever Twitter initially came out, they didn’t have “tweet” buttons. Heck, individuals weren’t also calling them “tweets.”

So, my team and I also produced our own Twitter sharing buttons that people could embed within their internet sites. We labeled as these Twitter sharing buttons: TwitThis (you can see exactly what the original site looked like below)


Just how made it happen do?  Well, so many people started to embed TwitThis buttons on the site so it caused the website to when have a Google PageRank of 8 and over 54 million backlinks.

twit this backlinks

As you care able to see from screenshot above, the website peaked at 54 million backlinks from 45,000 special domains. But. what’s much more impressive is the backlink profile.

twit this link details

Only consider the image above, you’ll see that the website had 27 .gov and 123 .edu backlinks.

That’s perhaps not also shabby… all from just generating a free of charge tool that allowed individuals to place “tweet” buttons on the site.

The way in which we distribute the term about this really was interesting. I recently proceeded Twitter, found all the well-known websites using it and I also emailed the webmasters something like this:

Hey John,

I pointed out that CNN happens to be using Twitter recently. Maybe you have considered asking your people to talk about your articles on Twitter to get a lot more traffic?

We really produced a free of charge tool called TwitThis that makes this entire process simple. We provide a straightforward signal that you could paste into your HTML which means that your site readers can certainly share your articles on Twitter, which can help CNN get more traffic.

Let me know for those who have any questions.


When we built TwitThis around a top domain expert site, I happened to be after that capable develop sub pages that would consist of content around many of the well-known terms on the market plus they would normally rank large, because the site had plenty domain expert.

Crazy Tactic number 2: Battlefield Bypass

I’m sure what you are actually thinking… “what the heck is battlefield bypass”.

You’re most likely already familiar with the technique concerning purchasing expired domains. I took a little bit of an alternative strategy whenever I was more youthful, i’d only get expired domains which were related to globe record, because increased the chances of .edu and .gov backlinks.

One of the domains we obtained was called It absolutely was a web site which used become related to the Civil War.

When I obtained it, it had a huge selection of backlinks and many of those had been from government-run internet sites.

I rapidly obtained the website and switched it into an internet casino site. Within a couple of months, the website ranked #2 on Bing the term “online casino,” that is nonetheless a highly competitive term.

On the site, we listed from top ten web gambling enterprises that some body could subscribe to.  Each and every time a person registered due to my site, i obtained paid an affiliate marketer payment. Your website was averaging $40,000 to $60,000 per month. Obviously, we didn’t do a fantastic job at good tuning the website for affiliate income, because the individual ranking above myself was making over $100,000 each month.

Many SEOs nonetheless leverage expired domains… but few consider people that have .gov and .edu backlinks, despite the fact that they have a tendency become the most powerful. You might also need to pay more of these expired names of domain, but we never comprehended why some body would try to save yourself several bucks whenever difference could suggest ranking number 1 versus perhaps not.

Crazy Tactic number 3: I’m Able To Has Poker?

Maybe you have heard about a crazy pet site labeled as we Can Has Cheezburger? I don’t know-how well-known the website reaches as soon as, but it familiar with generate around 500,000,000 web page views per month. Perhaps not also shabby for a site who has tons of pet memes.

The viewers was so loyal that we partnered together with them to operate a contest. The contest was a poker giveaway in which one person would win a two-night trip to vegas with $500 in investing money and no-cost airfare for 2 individuals to and from vegas.

I can’t discover web page on I am able to offers Cheezburger that covers the contest (guessing they eliminated it)… but here’s a snapshot:

  • Create a funny pet meme related to poker (they will have a meme creator on the site).
  • Embed the pet meme on your own website to enter (the embed signal connected to my poker site).

poker meme

Within a matter of a few short days, i obtained over 2000 backlinks that contained the term “poker” and “online poker” into the anchor-text. I also had I am able to offers Cheezburger turn up the embed rules, to ensure that I could result in the anchor-text more natural.

In a few days, my ratings raised to web page 7 of Bing the term “online poker.” Within weekly, I happened to be ranking on web page 2 and, within a fortnight, I happened to be ranking on web page 1. I would have strike the number 1 area, but I rapidly got caught and Bing pulled my ranking.

My total price for your contest was under $10,000. Fifty percent of this was the things I paid I am able to offers Cheezburger for working the price.

Crazy Tactic #4: WordPress Themes

What’s something that all WordPress motifs have in common? They will have a footer link to the designer.

wordpress footer

And, what’s something that most WordPress motif manufacturers have in common? Many create motifs regarding passion and seldom try to make money using them. These motifs do effectively, since the manufacturers care about their particular work.

So, I thought it could be interesting to pay these motif proprietors a lot of bucks to produce a change of their already well-known motif. The main reason we targeted present motifs is that when they release an update, it could show up into the user’s WordPress administrator plus they would follow on a button to update the motif.

On the bright side, if I produced completely new motifs from scratch, there is no guarantee that people desire the look and install it… this is exactly why, we only specific present motifs which were well-known.

When a WordPress individual added the brand new motif change, they would get some cool brand new functions and, needless to say, a web link to among my websites was positioned in the motif footer.

Your website I experienced backlinks check-out was called Web Hosting Information (we don’t know-how, although site remains up… unsure who the owner is).

At one point, the website ranked into the top 3 link between Bing for “web web hosting.” In the course of time, Bing caught on therefore the site got slapped therefore the ratings plummeted.

These days, we nonetheless make use of WordPress motifs, but way more for branding. Needs a lot more people to understand myself as a marketer, therefore I pay motif companies to add “marketed by Neil Patel” backlinks inside their motif and, needless to say, each link is nofollow, to ensure that I am not breaking Google’s principles.

Crazy Tactic number 5: Procedure Bing Domination

The easiest technique we deployed was that one. Do you really remember Bing Pages? It absolutely was once you could develop an internet web page using Google’s domain. That’s right, you could create a site on “”

Bing Pages doesn’t exist any longer… nearest thing I could find is this.

I familiar with create pages for very competitive terms, like: credit cards, car insurance and forex. From there, i’d get spammy blog backlinks from Sponsored Reviews, Blogsvertise and Pay Per Post.

Because of these systems, i’d acquire PageRank 4 and 5 backlinks for about 30 bucks a pop music and I also would get a few hundred at a time. As a whole I invested $24,990 on paid backlinks.

Within 60 to ninety days, I happened to be on web page one the terms in the above list, as well as other competitive key phrases.

The main reason this tactic worked wonderfully is that I happened to be creating backlinks to Google’s very own domain plus it already contained tons of expert.

In the course of time, Bing caught on, like they constantly do therefore the pages ended ranking.

Crazy Tactic number 6: My Stat Countertop

Have you been familiar with StatCounter? It’s the popular analytics tool that has been around means before Bing Analytics. And, for StatCounter to give you stats, you need to include a counter to your website.  The countertop also contains a backlink to StatCounter.


Only evaluate their particular link profile, they will have over 1 billion backlinks. That’s correct… 1 BILLION.

To log into StatCounter, you when needed to check-out (that subdomain doesn’t exist any longer). So, I thought it could be smart to produce my own stat countertop types of site and labeled as it

I acquired tons of traffic from people who entered “” incorrectly, which led to lots individuals generating stat counters using my site.

hit countertop

When anyone would embed some of those struck counters within their site, they would automatically in addition link out to whatever site I wanted to promote. The embed signal would consist of 3rd party backlinks and I also necessary that individuals leave tit in, as my solution was no-cost.

Like most regarding the black hat strategies we leveraged, my ratings raised fast. It lasted for longer than two years and worked wonderfully that I happened to be also selling backlinks back at my Stat countertop with other companies who pay myself.

I happened to be smart about this also… i’d make sure the anchor-text was rotated.  So, it seemed normal and I also never leveraged My Stat countertop for just about any of my marketing and advertising related websites or blog sites.  I didn’t wish draw attention to it. Plus, an individual registered, i’d question them what sort of site that they had, to ensure that I could place appropriate third party backlinks versus random people.

None-the-less, we ultimately got caught and ended using this technique.

Crazy Tactic number 7: Arbitraging Bing

In line with the strategies above, you are already aware that in the event that you have actually many backlinks pointing to 1 domain, it is possible to rank in serach engines for most situations.

In the early times of Search Engine Optimization, there weren’t Panda or Penguin penalties and Google’s algorithms had been way less sophisticated.

Back in 2003, Bing circulated AdSense, a service where individuals could monetize their own websites by putting Google adverts to them.

So, we took among my internet sites that had a top domain expert, Advice Monkey (site not any longer is present) and I also scraped over 100 million Google search outcome pages. I took each one of the results inside their search engine and I also produced millions of pages on my site that contained the exact same specific listing data.

My pages seemed just like Google’s search pages, however with my AdSense adverts throughout them.

Within per month, we started to get traffic from profitable terms that we scraped, particularly “mesothelioma” and I also was making $943 to $2592 every day from AdSense.

And, as you possibly can most likely guess, Bing ultimately shut myself down for leveraging this tactic also.


I’m sure many of these strategies might seem cool and I also may color them become attractive, however they truly aren’t. I am not proud of the things I did assuming I could return back over time and inform myself one thing… it could be that i willn’t consider any black hat strategies.

Basically focused each of my power on genuine white hat practices, i’dn’t went through as numerous websites.  Instead, i’d experienced one much larger site that nonetheless existed today.

Sure, into the short-run, i’d have made less money.  But, we began so early that in the long run i’d have been means in front of everyone.

The top classes from this post must certanly be:

  1. Be inventive – top entrepreneurs tend to be the most imaginative people. It cann’t mean that you need to break Google’s guidelines (you shouldn’t).  But, it indicates you need to think outside of the package to succeed (ensure you nonetheless follow the principles).
  2. Believe long-lasting – temporary strategies might seem enjoyable, but ultimately you’re going to get caught and you’ll have just lost your time. I experienced months where I happened to be making 6 figures from these strategies, but because they weren’t long-lasting, I also had truly terrible months where I destroyed money.
  3. Study on black hat strategies – there are a lot of entrepreneurs who leverage black hat practices… not just in search engine optimization, but in all forms of marketing and advertising. You need ton’t fundamentally copy these folks, but learn from them. Perhaps you can take their particular strategies, make sure they are white hat and apply them towards business.

Maybe you have seen any black hat practices we could all learn from?

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