SEO Services For Serious ROI. Blog Posts For Serious SEOs.

How To Win By Copycatting

It’s a well known fact that many copycats succeed online, but sometimes it’s a risky path to follow. I’d like to share an example or two with you today, and perhaps help you do a better job copy, err, I mean taking inspiration from others. (more…)

Wikia’s Clean Cloaking An Interesting Technology

I recently happened to go to Wikia’s page on the 100 worst songs to sing at a funeral, and came across the following cloaked screen that takes up most of the page – none of the content is visible by scrolling or looking closely (i.e. it’s not transparent).

Ongoing Case Study: The Advanced SEO Book Put To The Test

Someone told me recently he’s skeptical about the value provided by The Advanced SEO Book. Notwithstanding the fact that it’s had great reviews and gotten me positive feedback from SEOs at serious online companies like Salesforce, I’ve decided to eat my own dog food and implement the tactics and prove their worth.

At least once a week, I’m going to write about what I’m doing to build the site, generate revenue and how it implements my book’s advice.

Here’s a quick preview of the game plan: (more…)

Can You Tell Me If This Is A New Algo Loophole? Does Link Disavowal Enable Mafia-Style Link Laundering?

The new link disavowal tools seem to create a unique, certainly unintended opportunity for SEOs to get short term AND long term results via “link laundering.” This is a new algorithm loophole it seems, spam which resembles the mafia’s (and Russian and Iranian governments’) money laundering tactics. I’d love to hear your comments on this. (more…)

I Got A Fake (?) “Please Remove This Link” Email

Jon Cooper writes about an interesting negative SEO tactic: fake link removal requests. I have particular interest since I think I got one of these, recently.

As I emailed Jon: (more…)

Negative SEO: How To Tear Down Competitors’ Links

Does your competitor have some sweet old links you wish they didn’t have?

Well, here are two sneaky ways – one’s even sly and nasty – to get your competition’s links dropped.

1) Run their site through your favourite backlink research tools.
2) Use something like Xenu Link Sleuth or your favourite link checker to look for 404 pages on your competitor’s site that have links.
3) Contact the webmasters linking to said 404s and use broken link building to get the link for yourself instead.

If the link is on a hub page that links to many pages in the field, you don’t even need the competitor’s page to 404.
1) Run the hub page through a broken link checker.
2) Write an email to the hub page’s webmaster with a large list of the broken links – but don’t send yet.
3) Add your competitor’s link into the list near the end.

Q: Why would the webmaster remove your competitor’s link if it’s not broken?
A: Laziness and trust – if the first dozen links were all broken, the next dozen are probably broken, too. Why keep checking all of them?

While I think it’s fine for you to do the first to competitors, the second approach isn’t ethical. It’s an approach to be aware of though, so if you have a link management software like Buzzstream , follow up with the appropriate webmaster if a link dissappears. And of course, monitor your 404 errors in Webmaster Tools and server logs.

How to Use ScrapeBox to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities

This guest post is by Andrew Breen of Outshine Online Marketing who offers SEO, PPC management, and CRO services. We met at SMX West a few years ago and he recently got back in touch to see about guest posting… I suspect this technique is how he found out about me taking guest posts ;)!

ScrapeBox kicks butt for link building. It has dramatically sped up my link building process more than any other tool I’ve used. This post will show you exactly how I use ScrapeBox to find dozens of high quality guest blogging opportunities – in minutes instead of hours.

What the heck is ScrapeBox?

Scrapebox logo (more…)

Stuff Your Face On Long Tail Keywords In 5 Easy Steps

This is a guest post by John McElborough, a [ed: awesome!] search marketer from Brighton, England who runs inbound360 and blogs at

There’s been a lot of talk in the SEO world of late about the idea of ‘content farms’-  sites which exist principally to attract mid to long tail search traffic through large scale content generation.

Several high profile SEO’s have been pretty critical of sites like ehow, mahalo and livestong who use these tactics. Personally if a sites earning that much cash through SEO I’d rather learn from it than criticise so for my first guest post here on Gab’s blog I want to take a closer look at long tail tactics and share some practical tips for how pretty much any site can cash in on their markets long tail potential.

Want To Test The Text Link Broker Waters, Without Boiling Over?

I recently spent $200+ testing out a text link ad broker who promised a big network of blogs, without footprints. This link broker sells on a monthly membership basis that ended up auto-renewing for a few months, partly because I was too busy to test immediately when I bought it. Lesson #1: Avoid buying on impulse. (more…)

When Does Reputation Management Grow The Bottom Line?

A: When you rank for coupon terms plus your brand. A guest post by yours truly at my friend Dean Chew’s site, .

Some other recent guest posts of mine: (more…)

30 Second Tip For Phone Number Integrity In Local SEO Listings

Reading the curiosity-arousing article on SEL, “The Phone, Calling,” I noticed that the use and presence of call tracking numbers, toll-free numbers and other non-main-line phone numbers could cause trouble for search engines.

“First, these numbers throw a monkey wrench in business identification. Second, they could expire, inadvertently creating a dead-end for a consumer. Publishers today struggle with how to accurately identify an actual business when many phone numbers are involved.”

The easiest solution, imho, is (more…)

Sneaky Link Tactics: Removing Credit Where It’s Not Due

The situation: Your competitors have inbound links that are broken because of typos, changes in URL structures etc.

The common link building commentary: Most SEOs who’ve been around the link building block will tell you that it’s an opportunity to ‘build links’ for free – to pick low hanging fruit. Just drop the site owner a little email and voila – good as new. More juice for you! (more…)

Buying Text Links – Pre-Published vs. Post-Published

This is a guest post by Brandon Hopkins, a freelance Fresno website designer who blogs at

The most common way to buy links is to find a site that shows up in Google’s index, then contact the owner asking them to add your link in exchange for monetary compensation. What is often not considered is that published pages don’t change very often. (more…)

How To Find Competitors’ Best PPC Ads

If you could find out your competitors’ top converting ads when you enter a market, you’d save a lot of time optimizing campaigns, wouldn’t you?

It would be like knowing where the jelly is in a jelly donut – you’d bite right into the good stuff and skip the mostly-dough areas. (more…)

Find Competitors’ Conversion Rates

If you could find out what competitors’ conversion rates are and you can estimate the traffic value to your competition? Surely the PPC pros could use that conversion data…

Well, it turns out you can get a pretty good idea about competitors’ conversion rates. (more…)

Twitter Grayhat Tip: Fake It Till You Make It

As my friend Mike Gray pointed out at SMX Advanced, RTing is a great way to get people’s attention and build a relationship with them. The difficulty is getting people’s attention when they write a really popular post that gets RTed 100+ times.

So here’s the greyhat solution. (more…)

Should You Buy Links And Video Embeds For YouTube SEO?

Paid links

SMX West’s video SEO panel taught me that the number of embeds your video gets is important to having it rank better at Youtube, and potentially in Google’s universal search results. So why not speed things up by buying a few installs and links for your video?

If more embeds means better SEO, there seems to be an argument for buying installs, just as there is for buying links in normal SEO. An embed is when someone copy-pastes the html code from Youtube to put a video on their site. (more…)

How I Cloaked My Way To LOWER Rankings

Actually, this post should be titled: “How did I cloak my way to lower rankings?!” Because the truth is that it was completely unintentional – as evidenced by it causing my traffic to drop like a rock. (more…)

The 3-Step, 2-For-1 Link Building Technique

I’ve seen variations on this link building trick, but it’s the first time I see it producing additional links beyond the value you already have. (more…)

Should I Disclose Paid Link Risks To Potential Link Sellers?


Gray Hat Hacking - The Ethical Hacker's Handbook

Attribution-ShareAlike License by Trond Viggo Håpnes

Should I disclose the risk for potential penalties in Google to people who I’m approaching to buy links? This is something that’s been bothering me, since I’ve started buying links.

I’m not concerned about “competitive differentiation” as an “ethical whitehat” – that’s a stupid notion that confuses search engine guidelines with moral codes… particularly dangerous considering the search engine guidelines are motivated by profit. I’m a grey hat, and proud of it – it means I can think outside the box and get creative.

My concern is that I may be treating the potential link sellers in an unfair way, and my personal happiness depends on being able to see myself as a fundamentally ethical guy.


How Navigation Peekaboo Converts SEO Traffic Better

Standard conversion advice says remove navigation from the landing page (at least for lead generation landers). Standard SEO says use links. The next best thing would be to put the navigation out of sight, in the footer, and have your calls to action above that so visitors won’t use your navigation to leave your page.

But if you put the nav in the footer, it might get less search engine trust, precisely because folks don’t use footer navigation. What’s a conversion minded SEO to do? Here are 4 options to play navigation peekaboo with search engines and humans to convert your SEO traffic better. Blackhats use some forms of this, but I think I’ve also thought of original twists too. (more…)

Link Buying Services – Free :)

Update: These are no longer being offered; I got an immediate response and booked all the spots. Link building inquiries with budgets for the service are still welcome, however. (more…)

Two Videos: On Buying Sites and SEOmoz’s Give It Up

Have a look – yours truly is in a Web Pro News video on buying sites, and at SEOmoz’s Whiteboard Friday, where I shared some local search stuff!

30+ Weird, Educational and Stupid Search Screenshots

One of my favourite things to do when browsing the web is take screenshots of interesting things I notice, particularly in the SERPs, but also on other sites. It’s an easier way of taking notes and learning from others. Featured below are some sites you know, like DoshDosh, Treatment Search, Sphinn and others.

There’s also the genuinely stupid, some much more intelligent Sphinn spammers who’ve carefully observed what tips us off to spam, and more. In the interest of load times, I’ve linked to some pictures rather than post them here. Enjoy! (more…)

Buying Sites? Use Trusts To Avoid Google Domain Demolitions

At the Domain Roundtable, Matt Cutts said that Google will cut down any sites that get sold back to zero ranking value. So after a site has built up SEO strength for a few years, the asset could be worthless on the search market because Google – which controls the overwhelming majority of North American and most Western search – makes the rules.

This is clearly unfair to webmasters. Not to mention that the Fortune 500 are again on a different playing field, because their purchases are just mergers and acquisitions, not “site purchases”… (more…)

Would You Attend a Greyhat SEO Panel?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and I’ll bet that conference organizers would too. So go share your thoughts at Sphinn (and feel free to sphinn the discussion ;) ) on whether you’d attend a greyhat SEO panel at SMX/SES/Sphinncon/Pubcon/SEM Canada etc. (more…)

How Legal Fictions Can Break Google’s Paradigms on Greyhat SEO

Legal fictions can be used by greyhat SEOs to overcome Google’s nearsighted paradigms on buying websites and buying links. While Google is trying to pass off its guidelines as law – and is succeeding in convincing some people of that fact* – the facts are otherwise, and my two-post series on the topic will show that the law can actually enable people to skirt Google’s techniques and expose its faults. (more…)

How to Find Competitors’ Keywords For Your SEO & PPC

Want to find out competitors’ keywords? Here’s how to find what keywords competitors use on their sites – and protect your own!


Google Slaughters Wall & Inman, But Amazon Survives

Google killed former SEOmoz CTO Matt Inman’s widgetbait because some Guardian reporter didn’t like it and wrote his negative opinion up. Then Aaron Wall was unlucky enough to trust a jerk who asked Matt Cutts about Aaron’s affiliate program based linkbuilding.

The question is: Will Amazon get a beat-down too? For their (more…)

The Sneakiest Text Link Ad Disguise Or How To Pass Any/All Human Reviews

Google AdSense Here’s another Greyhat SEO idea for you, ladies and gents. The sneakiest text link ad disguise ever! It’s a true Sherlock Holmes who’ll see through this disguise. If you enjoy this post, there’s plenty more where it came from (i.e. the greyhat, idea and linkbuilding archives), so do subscribe ;) . Update: Many people reading this want to hide their link destination using javascript. See here.

Google AdSense unit image courtesy of Frank O’Dwyer.


  1. Put Adsense on the page from which you want to sell/buy a text link.
  2. Take a screenshot (more…)

The Independent Webmaster’s Manifesto

  • If knowledge is power;
  • If information is knowledge;
  • And if Google is organizing – and, more importantly, distributing – the world’s information;

Then isn’t Google the single most powerful organization in the world?


Editorial Calendar: Lotsa Goodies Coming Soon!

Hey gang,

I’m back from SMX West – the best three days of my life EVER – and have got some great material to share with you guys. Here are some highlights of what’s coming: (more…)

Winston Churchill Would Have Been a Grey Hat SEO

Sir Winston Churchill in Black Bowler Hat“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
- Sir Winston Churchill (more…)

Link Buying, Anchor Grams, UGC, Persuasive Influences and Linking Oot n Aboot – Scratchpad

Today’s scratchpad is going to cover some new how to ideas in link building, the ROI on Google’s user generated content (UGC) properties, influence and then do some linking oot n aboot. If you enjoy this, please subscribe. (more…)

Cloning Expired Sites: Blackhat Tactics and Whitehat Strategies Don’t Mix, But Greyhats Eat the Cake

Eli wrote about desert scraping, which is the practice of digging around expired sites on, grabbing their content and reposting it on your own sites. Cloning expired sites is a similar idea that (more…)