Rand, Shoemoney, You and Me...we're all blackhats can't you see?


So earlier today there was a thread on here about Rand Fishkin and BlackHat Link Building. It was posted by Shoemoney, and later Shoemoney decided to delete the thread here. Of course, not many of us are fans of deleting posts, but Shoemoney started it, so I figure it's fair if he wants to delete it.

At first I was excited to hear all day from a few of my employees that there was "controversy" over at Threadwatch...but by the time I was able to go in, the post was gone...I can see the bing cache, but not of the comments....

I read the original story which Shoemoney was referencing here, and my own view is that Rands words were taken out of context...look, if you're an SEO, or an Internet Marketer, in my eyes, and in google's eyes, you're a spammer....those of you who think you're white hat, you're only fooling yourselves...the moment you learn about keywords, and start using them in your content, you're a spammer in the eyes of the search engines.

And, in my view, the future of online marketing has a lot to do with relationship building within your community....and Rands advice of "help others first before you ask for favors" is just good advice in relationship building.

Like Alan Bleiweiss said on that other post "Now if you care to, feel free to visit my site and see my own preferred vendors list. And look at who I follow on Twitter, and the tweets I retweet. So you can slam me for taking kickbacks as well."

What one person calls Kickbacks, another person calls relationship building, and another can call karma, and other can call it marketing.

Search engine don't like organic marketing, only paid marketing, and if you're aiming for organic, you're a blackhat spammer to the engines.


turquoise hat seo

"Search engine don't like organic marketing, only paid marketing, and if you're aiming for organic, you're a blackhat spammer to the engines."

Except with (non-PPC) links, where their policy is just the opposite. Pay any way other than "by the click" and you are a spamerooooor ;)

Rand is a blackhatter he just doesn't realise it.

Rand is a blackhatter. He scrapes Googles index on an industrial scale. I am pretty sure he is opperating against Google's T&C's. Infact I know so that is why his API access got taken away. 

At the level he scrapes the index he could one of the biggest BH marketers on the planet. I wrote a bad article about it a while ago. http://seoenquirer.com/what-is-happening-at-seomoz-510

Of course I could be confused. I personally like what Rand and SEOMoz do, I think they are a smart group of people doing good work. It is just that they have a tainted view of what they are.

What is Blackhat

Since when are you a blackhat if you violate Google's T&C's? What exactly is the definition everybody uses for Blackhat?

For me, personally, I don't see violating Google's T&C's as blackhat. Scraping Google making you a blackhat in SEO? Google is the biggest scraper out there, ever looked at the cached version of your site in their index? What about the image search..?


I don't believe in hats anyway

I think calling Rand a blackhat is just as much of a stretch as redefining relationship building to be equal to taking kickbacks - it's BS.

As far as I'm concerned, there ARE no hats - only business ethics. And those, my clients and I determine... not Google.

SEOEnquirer, serously?

SEPEnquirer. yea...I'm not sure if scraping google makes you a blackhat...and if you have ever used any SEOMoz tool, or any other tool that scrapes google...or ANY rank checkinig tool,  then you'd be just as black hat and a spammer in your book via your defination...and I'd bet that you're just as guilty as every other seo in the industry.

Definition of blackhat

Definition from Wikipedia : “An SEO technique is considered white hat if it conforms to the search engines’ guidelines”


blackhat must be the opposite.. right?

Rand does not conform to Googles guide lines he scrapes their results. that is against Google's T&C's.

By definition Rand is blackhat he just doesn't realise it. 

TheNextCorner no one really cares what any of us think is blackhat. We all have different definitions but in the end Google and the other engines define what is against the Terms and Conditions and if you do not conform to that then you are technically a blackhat.

Like I said I think SEOMoz and Rand do good work but "TECHNICALLY" he is blackhat.


I'm a French model, you can meet me on the Internet

"Definition from Wikipedia"

You read it on the Internet, so it must be true...

Back in the early days a

Back in the early days a "blackhat" used techniques that couldn't easily be seen, such as cloaking. But as more and more folks joined the party the term got diluted and thrown around much too often.

Hmm let me see..

Google sets a rule.

Rand doesn't abide by that rule.

Infact he breaks Google's "rule", "guideline", "whatever you want to call it" on an industrial scale. Possibly breaking that rule harder than almost any other person in the history of the internet. Breaks it so hard he loses his API access.


Rand is whitehat? 

Like I said I aren't trying to bash Rand he does good work but he needs to use some of that "thought leadership" he likes and have a think about what he does. 

Think you're white? I don't.

SEOEnquirer, do you think you're Whiter because you don't scrape results yourself...and you do use any tools yourself that scrape google?

Do you think you're an SEo and that you're white hat? I wish you would make all your info as public as Rand does, and see if I can find anything that's "blackhat" in my book....if you're an SEO, doing SEO things, then there's a case you're trying to manipulate the algorthym....and that's against the guildelines.

LOL did I say I was whitehat?

Blackhat, Greyhat or Whitehat who cares what terminology you use. If you are trying to game Google in anyway then Google doesn't like you and if Google doesn't like you, it really doesn't matter what term you are using.

Yes there are some evil practices out there like hacking websites. Less evil practices but still morally reprehensible practices such as spamming websites with scrapebox or xrummer. These things are traditionally considered blackhat.

Then we have things like cloaking which are designed to trick Google bot and that is considered blackhat. Why? because it is against Google's T&C's or because you are redirecting innocent people to sales pages when they have been sent there by Google expecting something else?

So what does SEOMoz do to make great tools like mozcast? Well from what I can gather through tweets by both Rand and Dr Pete. They scrape the crap out of Google's index. I like Mozcast I check it every day but for it to work, it appears SEOMoz has to go against Google's T&C's.

Going against Google's T&C's is considered by Google a bad thing and by "some definitions" black hat.

I guess people consider it not as morally reprehensible as spamming a website with fake comments. Why though? because Google is a big company and can afford for SEOMoz bot the crap out of it's index?

I guess you can equate blackhat to stealing. Steal from a big company and people don't mind they may even at times consider you a hero. Steal from a poor individual and you are considered a grub.

however in the end it is still stealing!

Hey Jim have you ever done any blackhat practices?

The first day I learned about

The first day I learned about SEO, back in 1999, I learned that the Title Tags were really important....so I did some keyword research, and edited my title tags...that was the start of my "trying to manipulate Google search results"...thus making me a black hat from day 1.....

....fyi, I'm not connecting your comments about "stealing"...so moz, and every other rank check tool in the world, and tons of other SEO tools "scrape" google...and you feel that these companies are "stealing" ...so you're upset that rand scrapes/steals from Google, to which you call him a black hat?...

Hum....Google steals my website with it's cache...google steals my traffic via putting adwords above the fold in a color that no one can see the difference between a paid ad and an organic listing....google steals...more than someone scraping results from Google...my gosh, no kittens are killed in scraping results...I don't think it's costing Google much $ at all in resources rand may or may not be using on them.... and I still miss the connection between being a black hat and scrapinig results...."scraping results = blackhat" is the crazyiest thing I've heard in a long time.....and to have you say that you you like Mozcast, and the you "check it every day"...well, if you're so against this data, (because of how it may or may not have been obtained), then stop lookiing at that data...it's not fair for you to use this data every day and then call Moz Blackhats for providing this information... you say you don't have issues with them, but you're reaching pretty far down to say "they scrape google, they're Blackhats"....sounds ...um...silly, to be honest.


That's not blackhat

Jim, I don't think adding the right keywords into your title tags would be considered blackhat. In fact, Matt Cutts himself says in this video that "using the right keywords" is one of the many white-hat techniques you can do as an SEO.

what does matt cutts know?

what does matt cutts know? jim is talking about a time long before matt came on the scene and even before google existed

I have said many times I am not against what Rand does.

I don't hate Rand for what he does infact I praise him for what he has achieved. What I am saying is that basically Google considers what Rand does as offensive. Not me. 

Google shut his API off for a reason. Yet Rand portrays himself as Sir Gallahad of the whitehat brigade. When quite frankly he is not as pristine as he thinks he is.

I really don't want this to degenerate into a bash Rand thread, because quite frankly like I said many a time, "I LIKE WHAT HE DOES", he just needs to reconsider what he is. He is not whitehat! He is at best Greyhat! Ask google what they think of some of his practices and quite frankly they make the rules and they set the definitions. Not us!

Now don't get me wrong I am no Google fan boy and infact I completely agree with you Google has made billions by scraping other peoples content. That was ok when they fairly distributed the traffic and didn't try and hold onto it.

In 2012 Google has become ravening and uncontrolable revenue raising beast that does not care who it destroys. I aren't talking about things like Panda and Penguin. I am more concerned with the way Google is implementing things like knowledge graph and how the above the fold experience has become 100% ads in some cases. Google is more and more blocking users from leaving it's site and we all need to be very concerned with that!

Google used our content to build a extremely profitable business and for most of that time distributed the traffic reasonably fairly but now in it's drive for a dragon hoard of revenue, it is no longer willing to share. I personally think this is due to Facebook turning up and showing Google that other companies can have delusions of grandeur and believe that they "ARE" the internet.

Google is a mean spiritied company, hiding behind a facade of "doing no evil". 

Probably not something we need here, but...

if there WAS a Thumbs-Up button, I'd have to agree with Jim.

This is one of the reasons I said there are no hats... you'd be hard pressed to find a meaningful number of sites that don't do something that games the SEs to some degree.

voting system coming in new

voting system coming in new threadwatch 2.0....and some other cool features as well...we're working on it...but going old school to start with...


Getting SEOs' panties in a bunch since 199forever. And we keep on swallowing it, hook, line and sinker


Technically 99% of SEO is black hat so yes by definition Rand is too. 

Unfortunately everyone knows that Rand is Gotham's white knight...

Didn't Google's guidelines

Didn't Google's guidelines have a don't use software like WebPosition Gold in them?

It is as it ever was

Blackhat to me is anything that involves hacking a site or other subterfuge such as cloacking or x-header tricks.

But who gives a fishes tit what I think? It's what Google (and hopefully one day someone else) think that we need care about. All effective off site SEO is spam / blackhat to them aside from naturally occuring links. Even "organic links" (remember Lyndon's money.co.uk linkbait) can be seen by the search engines anyway they want.


On the other hand, there used to be "get other sites link to you" phrase in official Google guidelines and now it is considered a bad thing to do...


I guess it depends on how you get them to link to you. If I simply ask you if you got something I should link to (or what you want me to link to) then it's no longer about the content I am linking to. Now it's more about you or whatever I want to get out of the "deal" ;)

...But I get your point.

purchase access

You can purchase raw search access from Google right? (about a penny a search).

Many agencies and SEO tool providers do this...

It's not blackhat if you are paying for the access...


Those who say all SEO is "blackhat"...

...are just trying to justify their own web spam.



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