Interview with a Black Hat SEO

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Black Hat SEO Never Looked So Good!

Interview with a Black Hat SEO

Franky Walker, a new addition to SEOSLINGER, who conducted this interview, welcoming you to the first of a series of interviews, we are extremely grateful to our guest for sharing her time with us. The interview was conducted over a period of two weeks. In this segment of the interview, our guest will candidly share her opinion about current search optimization trends within the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) industry. She will also shed light on the challenges that SEO practitioners are facing in a time of over hyper evolution in search marketing, and what some are doing to adapt. 

Our interviewee, who by the way is absolutely stunning, comes to us from Chicago, a city known for many things such as deep dish pizza, Italian Beef sandwiches, the Sears Tower, The Chicago Cubs versus The Chicago White Sox baseball rivalry, The Chicago Bears, The City That Works, The City of Big Shoulders, cars (Chicago is a car centric town), Al Capone... The list is extensive to say the least.

As it might become evident, and because of time constraints, this interview is a composite of several micro encounters with our subject. The intro was actually in-house during a brief visit to our studio (can we say studio?). Subsequent exchanges were over email, instant message and an occasional coffee.

As always, on the insistence of our insurers, we include the customary disclaimer...

"The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily the opinions of this website or that of its owners."  OK, now that we got that out of the way (WTF)...

Let's do this!

About Our Black Hat SEO

What we can say about our guest, without dispute, is that she's a successful Internet marketer and SEO who has built for herself income streams worth tens of thousands of dollars a month in commissions. Her marketing know-how helps her attract tens of thousands of visitors to her web sites and and conversion expertise affords her sales conversions that are 3 to 5 times higher than the average affiliate marketer. As if those figures weren't enough our guest also boast several 6 figure SEO contracts and commands consulting fees of $10,000 a session! These are real world stats, no "from-thin-air" statistics here, these numbers are real. No, "If I can do it, you can it" hype. No secret formulas. No tricks. 

Franky: Why do you go by the alias Black Hat SEO?

Black Hat SEO: Because that's what people want. People want results now, not in six months. They want to see double if not triple digit increases in traffic. Short of a conversion bounce rates, returning visitors, new visitors means nothings. Small business people are not about page views or impressions, they're about the conversion and for most a conversion represents a sale. It's about the bottom line in simple terms without need for mathematical equations or formulas that only data scientist can appreciate. People want what Black Hat SEO can produce, they want results now. 

Franky: Can you share with us your thoughts about the current state of SEO as an industry?

Black Hat SEO: I don't think I'm the person you should be asking. I mean, I work a very narrow niche and though I make it my business to stay abreast on the latest trends, I represent a very small segment of the search industry. However, from my perspective, I see SEO with a focus on audience and mobility with conversion dominating the landscape which makes perfect sense since the small business segment is challenging its larger counterparts, and succeeding.

Franky: How did you become interested in SEO?

Black Hat SEO: I wish I could say that my journey into the dark side began uneventfully, but it was the result of disenchantment with what I was doing at the time. I was a project manager, a PMP by designation, and my team and I were in charge of creating the user interfaces for the consumer facing websites of our employer, a bank with a global footprint. It was a position that I was damn good at and proud of but not excited about. I was well into my second year as a PMP when I found myself becoming dreadfully bored. It was unsettling because at age 28 I didn't want to reeducate. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the banking system was on the verge of collapse which it eventually did causing a recession that was felt world wide. Seven years earlier it was the Dot Com bust that forced a rethinking of careers for those in the IT sector, me included, now it would be the near collapse of our banking system. My mind went into meltdown mode.

Franky: As an SEO, what makes you a success?

Black Hat SEO: Google gives me everything I need to make me a successful SEO, if it wasn't for Google's less than transparent manipulation of search results I perhaps be doing something different.

Franky: Let's turn our attention to the elephant in the room and that's the subject of black hat SEO. Are you a black hat SEO?

Black Hat SEO: I'm no more a black hat than you are. What four search terms are the most popular? In addition to [1]porn, [2]prescription drugs, and [3]gambling (what does that tell you about our society?), what do you think is the fourth most popular search term? Actually it's the 4th Amendment US Constitution. It's a trick question. But yeah, porn, prescription drugs, and gambling are the most search for topics on the Internet. So, what do you think you'll need to do to rank in these industries? 

Franky: Wow! I don't know what happened there but I'm not asking again. Ok, next question... As an SEO, what has been the biggest challenge you have encountered?

Black Hat SEO: My biggest challenge has been finding my  place in the business. In other words, my biggest challenge as an SEO was coming to my own, reaching a state of independence and capable of sustaining a practice. I believe that has been a shared challenge for many women in SEO. 

Franky: And would you share with us how you overcame the challenge?

Black Hat SEO: Sure, I became an affiliate marketer, so in a way, I did not overcome it. I found SEO to be a tough sell. People were wanting details for their "cup of coffee" budgets. I soon began to resent my customers. That was the first sign that indicated that I was in trouble and that I needed to make a change. People wanting overnight results, etc. all the typical bullshit that gamers bring to table. They all want to game the system, and by system I mean Google, Bing, and other search engines. They want fast results and want thousand dollar results for a buck fifty. Just thinking about it churns a bad mojo in me. The potential of being penalized only excites them even more. It's the forbidden fruit that's the lure, if it's forbidden then it has to be good and black hat tactics are forbidden. It's forbidden because it's effective. So there I was, I had quit my job, a job I was damn good at, two years later my saving were growing thin and I was starting to worry about what I was going to do next, and then it hit me.

The potential of being penalized only excites them even more. It's the forbidden fruit that's the lure, if it's forbidden then it has to be good and black hat tactics are forbidden.

Franky: What hit you?

Black Hat SEO: There I was, wearing computer glasses, sitting in my pilot's chair, looking into computers screens when it dawned on me, it was like getting hit right between the eyes, bam! Why not SEO my own websites? It was not a question but a realization. I went from dark despair to being enlightened. It was midnight and by seven that morning I had the beginnings of my network. I was an SEO and I was my most important client. I went from owning zero domains to owning 100 domains. Looking back it seems like a manic experience but I survived it. 

Franky: What aspects of Search Engine Optimization still interest you the most today? 

Black Hat SEO: Everything and anything that I can get my hands on that relates to SEO, but I don't allow myself to prefer one over another, but instead I take a clinical approach in order to stay objective. 

Even at the height of my career as a project manager the most I was making was $6000 a month. Not bad, but it was a lot LESS than my male counterparts. Granted, some of those boys moved on to doing taxes or teaching. Have you seen the meme "Write code for food", right. To make matters worse, life in the corporate ladder was not only dangerous but traitorous. Somebody always had you in their cross hairs, even your best friend. It was a sport. Sure I made more money than the average Jane, but my position was uncertain and that uncertainty was getting the best of me. I was working 60 to 80 hours a week just to secure my key card and 4X4 cubical. Today I net an average of $25750 a month after taxes. Yes, I pay taxes.

Franky: I have to ask...what do you call yourself? 

Black Hat SEO: Ha ha, I guess I'm a "Black Hat Marketer". Did I just invent a new term? You can call me Black Hat Marketer in our next interview. 


This brings us to the end of this interview. We hope you have found it informative. Stay tuned for more interviews with our mystery guest in the coming weeks. Until then, stay calm and SEO on. 


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