The Bastards of SEO How Black and White Hat Goes Undetected
Now that we understand the difference between White Hat and Black Hat, we can discover the Grey Hat problem which is a combination of both.
How do they do it and why does much of it go undetected …?
First - we look at the rules of SEO
If these rules are obeyed – search engines will likely be none the wiser …
1. An organization can have one (max two) listings on a search page. This means you cannot have multiple pages from your website, your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or any other 3rd Party pages show up together to “spam” an index.
2. A website can have a maximum of 100 new links “upon it” or “to it” in one day.
3. Pages cannot be duplicated and 60% of the copy upon them must be unique and useful.
4. Cross Linking between sites to gain unfair advantage, e.g. push each other up in a keyword search query.
How They Evade The Rules
Search Engines are smart and will use algorithms to identify spamming websites, but they are not infallible. In the last decade Search Engines introduced some “trusted” relationship programs to make their job a little easier and encourage revenue.
Black-White Hat Rats know how to misuse the ‘trusted’ rules …
A growing issue in the world are individuals who can access SEO or Link privileges within large organizations that have millions if not trillions of website pages. They can throw in disguised mischief links and pages here and there, which are virtually undetectable creating highly effective link spam.
Even if we locate the spam ring, there is likely no link or IP address from the offenders to block, or if there is, it is hidden behind a WAF. (e.g. CloudFlare, Fastly etc)
This problem is running riot across some of the world’s biggest websites representing individuals, news media, job seekers, institutions, shopping programs and the property market.
Solution: We still need one. I will dedicate a chapter to this problem and until some detection programs are written there is some work to be done.
Search Engine Authorized Individuals
“Authorized” SEO Practitioners representing an organization can misuse their Search Engine credentials to harm other sites. Common scenarios include:
1. Creating fake Business Maps and Ads in the name of the victim site but placing them at the wrong address (common an empty field).
2. Using Search Engine Ads to trigger dynamically created websites (usually more classified listings) and/or xml sitemaps which should be banned but are instead trusted by search engines.
3. Click to pay scams – cashed up operators forcing others out of the race due to the many expensive overloaded link charges
Solution: Report to Search Engines immediately
Institution Spam Government and Academic
Education and Government Institutions are generally trusted by search engines to permit content to be submitted through XML Sitemaps which bypass any algorithm security tests.
These institutions commonly have online libraries that are open to their students or the general public to upload material.
Enormous amounts of documentation are added to these sites each day including PDF documents which can contain potent Black Hat link spam.
PDF documents can also contain dangerous trojans and other phishing code.
Solution – Do not open the Document. Report your concerns to the Search Engine and the Institution.
Hidden Search Engine Submissions
Hidden search engine link spam is mostly carried out using new websites that either vanish or change their IP Address and or domain address multiple times over a few days to a week. Eventually the site will be tracked down by the search engine algorithms and banned, but not before doing the damage required or taking control of the targeted keyword or key phrase.
With the right software a dynamic website of hundreds of pages and thousands of links can be created in just minutes, donning the right keywords or phrases to do their dirty work, using a new domain from a country where they don’t care too much (e.g. ru).
The most common dynamic website technique is to call in the search engine results identically and add some new content for good measure.
The site is launched either on a weak public hosting site (like in ru) or on the private PC of Savvy Host (who can spoof their MAC address in the operating system).
Just like a game of dominos a trusted site is used to trigger multiple layers of linked spam sites.
Hidden Links of this nature are use to drive up, drive down websites with hammered key word links - or irrelevant pages to cause high Error404 results to render site to be dropped as a badly designed site.
We are hoping to get some answers from of Tracie and Nicholl (both privileged in News-Media advertising, social media and some Academic Institutions) on some of the matters at hand.