“Search engine optimizers’ Blackhat social media optimization tricks can hurt you without you doing it yourself? Yes, it’s true, and here’s why.”
Today’s search engine optimization or SEO is rapidly changing to meet the New World Wide Web order of things. SMM (social media marketing) SMO (social media optimizing) SSM (social search marketing) and ‘personalized search’ are not only the catch-all SEO phrases or marketing fads of the moment: Search and social marketing now go hand in hand. Both social media and search optimization can work beautifully in tandem when used properly as a combined marketing strategy. Social media is here to stay, but Web 2.0 is old. Personalized Active Semantic Grid 3.0 is going to be the next Big Thing.
All in all, while technically things are different, nothing has really changed for SEO. What’s different to the Web as it was a short while ago is that Blackhats, marketers and Whitehats alike now use social media as part of their daily routine. The core principles of optimization have maintained identical faces in both worlds. Good gets good results and bad gets bad results. So most likely SEO professionals will continue to develop their talents and meet a demand through to the next phase of the Internet.
Why ramble on about what we already know? For some reason no SEO has yet broached the subject of the real issues with Blackhat optimizers. Once, link farms and mass directory submissions were just about standard practice, and when a Blackhat got started on your site, all that would be left was a disreputable, hollow husk. Even then, using these shady methods would hurt your ranking far more than they would help, and the same is true today. But what so many online business owners don’t realize is that when you have a Blackhat inside your social circle operating in stealth mode, you will unknowingly be ruining you own social search rankings just by associating with them.
“HOW in the WORLD could that possibly EVER happen?”
If you’re a quietly-observant person who is active on the internet, you may have already asked yourself this question. It may also be that you have already noticed the very thing I am about to unveil.
To make my point I can give some simple examples any social media user would have seen recently.
Blogs: Have you ever heard of Akismet? How about these spine-chilling terms: comment spam, feed scrapers, hacked blogs, hidden links, pingback spam, trackback spam, XSS injection? These are Blackhat tools and blog-abusing tricks. Every single one of these can destroy a site’s authority, ranking and traffic.
Take Delicious: Once a quality indicator for websites across the internet, now the most overcrowded, insanely dense sea of innumerable tags, more an exercise in pointlessness than anything at this point. What does that mean for you? Your bookmarks may or may not get credited, listed or scanned. Why? Because of the flood of spam, Delicious is now filtered to protect the site itself. Poisoned links can seep into your pool, fed by mass shares, bot armies and forced homepage listings that only seem interesting at first glance.
Digg: Wow this one is Easy. Digg.com has virtually ground to a halt in the last few weeks. Reports of hundreds, if not over a thousand diggers banned for unwittingly aiding technical social Blackhats. It’s a story that has played out many times, but perhaps not on so large a scale.
As the redirected sites and obviously ad-fueled ADVERTISEMENT INCORPORATED sites flooded the Digg gates, scores of unwittingly complicit users then vanished. A new community of new and old faces replaced them. Now those users are mingling in a social site permeated with fear. Yes, it could and probably will happen again.
StumbleUpon: This is by far the most dangerous target for users. Blackhats can send you direct pages, often in a friendly way that will leave you unsuspecting. Yet according to the terms of StumbleUpon, no click should be asked for or suggested. Users guilty of asking for Stumbles can be banned, no questions asked. So next time you get a Stumble request, ” blah blah … stumble and review plz” read “make me money … get banned dummy”.
Twitter: Twitter oh our cruel mistress of dread. It’s addictive once you get started, yet staring you in the face is the Blackhat core from the dark depths of the Internet. Everything from adult and hijack redirects to mass-Google blacklisting has befallen Twitter users. Again as a Twitter user you may not be doing anything you would think could harm you, but you can get tagged as a spammer by association, and this can be visible to everyone and totally out of your control on ratings sites all over the Web. Talk about a reputation management nightmare.
As you now may see, the Internet as we know it has changed, in many ways for the better, but in some ways for the worse. Facets and faces of marketing will always be part of any product or consumer driven society, therefore greed or need will always drive some to choose the darker path.The bright side for all of us is that as technology changes, new and better is always just ahead. Test it, try it, explore the possibility of the Web. Go search and be thoughtful, be vigilant while you’re being social. Consider your actions and your associates carefully, and all will be well.
[Published for Well Written Words]