“From Black Hat to White Hat – The Transition”

Dustin Erickson (Middle)

Sky Box at the Packer Game – August 2008

I have been an active reader of hundreds of blogs for nearly five years now; now it’s my turn! I’ve come to realize the world of Search Engine Optimization has many benefits that can only be found by getting your name out there.  In the past I was always skeptical to let the world know who was outranking them ;), but now I see it has its advantages. The fact that I first started SEO as a black hat warped my thinking quite a bit. Everything was anonymous, and under the radar.

My interest peaked in early 2004 after I met Bob Massa (SearchKing.com – Technudu.com). I was working with my father and bringing clients to Bob and Searchking.com in exchange for a portion of the proceeds.  I started to see the willingness of clients to risk big bucks on a dream, and a dream that was by no means guaranteed ;).  I thought to myself, I’m going to learn everything I can about this and one day do it myself. I began to absorb every tidbit of information I could browsing the successful websites and listening in on conversations with programmers, link builders and site designers.

After a a few weeks I had the basics down…well sorta. I at least understood the general concept of what needed to be done; actually doing it and keeping up with the algorithms would be a different story.

Bill and I (my father) soon realized there were a lot of hot affiliate programs out there and we should do everything we could to get in on a couple of them while they’re not over saturated like most programs today.  We sought out the help of a freelancer SEO, after coming across him through a complaining client who’s site’s ranking kept dropping because of, let’s call him Mr. Y.

We tracked Mr. Y through a funnel of email addresses and IPs to somewhere near Israel. Mr. Y was immediately impressed that we could put domains to his name. We told Mr. Y about our ideas and our connections with some of a certain industry’s leaders and things began. He smelt the money just like we did and the only barrier we had at this point was communication. Bill and I spoke English, our friend spoke Hebrew and was 8 hours ahead of us.

Coming right out of the 2003 “hyphen” era i.e. http://www.Search-Engine-Optimization-Tips-and-tricks.com we figured we’d buy a ton of domains, try to tweak them all, and cross our fingers that a few of them rank well. Thank god the program we were working with provided over 100 templates to choose from!! You may now be starting to see the roots of my black hat tendencies. We’d planned to create thousands of sub-domains and use a program that a member of the Israeli army created for us that was one of the first blog spammers out there.  Don’t give up on me yet, I’ve changed, I promise! I was taught by two SEO’s who had been very successful with these now very frowned upon techniques in serious violation of G’s and Y’s TOS, but we were making a nice chunk of change!

“Black Hat SEO – Now this is easy! Why doesn’t everyone do this?” – to be continued check back tomorrow.

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