Not a black hat SEO.
So it seems that my slide deck (and that of Russ Jones @virante) caused a bit of a stir in some circles.
Firstly – my slide deck was evenly balanced, it starts off with why you shouldn’t do black hat, but in the past some very well known companies have, to go on to build a huge brand.
I go on to say NOT to buy links on webmaster forums (like mine, ironically) and NOT to buy mass directory submission, and NOT to buy linkwheels and so on.
Wil Reynolds summed it up nicely (which I quoted several times during my session) “do you want to be the kind of SEO that wakes up every morning worried about whether today is the day you get a penalty?”.
The answer ofcourse is NO – you do NOT want to be that kind of SEO professional.
Sam Crocker goes on to quote me several times as saying things like: “don’t do this for clients”, ” I would never do this anymore, but here’s what I learned”, “don’t do this, it will get you banned”, etc. in his reply to this post.
The strategies that I did give examples of include things like building your own affiliate network to keep control of your inbound links and not sacrificing the equity to the affiliate network – something that hasn’t conclusively been advised against by Google in the past, and building a mechanism to keep control of your links in widgets and embeds should you ever want to change them in future (seems a legitimate thing to me, if used correctly).
Neither of those strategies I would define as black hat – in fact, immediately before my session I pulled Will Critchlow aside and we discussed that my talk, despite being called “lessons from the darkside” was not in any way blackhat, rather the kind of things you would only normally discuss over a drink, which was my brief after all.
Therefore – I would like to state for the record, I do NOT advise people to use “black hat” tactics to rank.