Of Apologies, Black Hatting, & More – Follow up to the Mitchell Report Post

By Justin Seibert| 4 Min Read | December 17, 2007

Last week I posted about the Mitchell Report and how the accused baseball players could use search engine reputation management to protect their future earning capacities. I did not get into the ridiculousness of Donald Fehr, how football probably has an even bigger problem with HGH, or any of the other interesting side topics.

During my post, I made a side comment about a site that touched off a bit of a firestorm.Really more of a warmstorm or whatever is less than a firestorm, but more comments than we typically get on a post at least since we converted to WordPress.This post is all about those comments, so to understand it, you should start by reading them first.

A few points in number format for no other reason than because I like outlines.

1. I would like to make a public apology to Geoff Young of KnuckleCurve. I accused him of employing some black hat – or unethical – search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.I saw something that looked spammy and jumped the gun.I should have looked at it a little more closely.All in all a fine site (the whole reason I linked in the first place was because I liked one of his articles) and you should check it out if you have a sickness like I do and really love baseball.

2. Paul and I typically write posts on this blog for the general business public – not online marketers, bloggers, and Web developers. So we try to use our posts to include a little more information about internet marketing in an effort to educate. I thought that I would introduce the term black hat seo when I saw something that I thought – again, incorrectly – looked spammy. I’ve updated the post accordingly. And just for the record, we are big fans of SEO; if we thought any kind of link building or copy writing for SEO purposes was bad, we’d have a lot of explaining to do to several clients paying us for those services.

3. The reason I originally thought that the post about some of Roger Clemens’ more enjoyable exploits wasn’t above board was that it contains 28 comments, all of which are the exact same line: “Five Unforgettable Roger Clemens Moments by Geoff Young.”These comments aren’t actually comments, but pingbacks.They’re not labeled as such (and they don’t need to be – there’s no standard formatting for these), but I could have found that out fairly quickly by just spending a couple minutes clicking on them.

Boiling it down very succinctly for discussion purposes, SEO basically boils down to two items:

A. Authority as judged by the content on sites that people can read, and
B. Credibility as judged by the sites that link to yours.

So, I thought the site was spamming its own comments by adding the same keyword phrase to its comments (showing up as “Authority”) over and over again. Having actually gone through and looked at the Top 5 Group Writing Contest, I now have a question about the overall contest (not the individual writers) from the “Credibility” or linking side. And that’s all it is: a question. Is the Top 5 Contest a brilliant link building idea, a modified version of paid linking that the search engines may not like today or in the future, or somewhere in between? Here are the contest rules. Let me know what you think.

Also, one commenter said he wasn’t receiving email notification of the posts; I think there was a bug that’s been fixed, but if you ever experience any problems with that, feel free to give us a call at 800.979.3177 or email us.

Full-Scope Online Marketing Services | justin-seibert-headshot

Written by Justin Seibert

Justin Seibert is the President of Direct Online Marketing. Justin holds a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University. He contributes a wide range of online business-oriented topics, including the subject of exporting. His contributions can be found on publications such as the Pittsburgh Business Times, AdAge, SES Magazine, and La Voz del interior. Justin and his family enjoy learning about new cultures during their travels.

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