What Penguin Did To Black Hat SEO Scene

Keep this under your hat, but I like looking at Google Trends. I find it useful for understanding what’s happening in sectors and with brands. It is trend based so not to be taken as gospel but from my experience the predictions are usually accurate.

The other day I decided to investigate if people were still talking about black/white hat SEO. Not sure why it popped into my head, it just did. Maybe my head was cold and I needed a hat.

Anyway, the results were interesting and to me they made a lot of sense.

White Hat SEO versus Black Hat SEO

The trend for black hat SEO has been around from as far back as Google Trends can show you. White hat SEO seems to have had made an appearance about one year later.  I feel that the phrase white hat SEO was created to counter black hat and help differentiate the two when selling in to clients.

I prefer the phrase ‘ethical SEO’ but as you can see from the graphic it’s never really taken off. Unlike hats, which are easy to take off.

What Country do We Most Associate
with Black Hat SEO?

It’s not a surprise that black hat SEO attracts greater interest than white hat. Using it you can either spam the competition, boost your traffic or both simultaneously. What is worth noting though is that the country we most associate spamming with is the country which seems to have the greatest interest in black hat SEO. That’s right, India!

No longer can we say ‘they didn’t know what they were doing’.

A Penguin Ate My Black Hat

When Google released Penguin, its job was to destroy link spammers. I was happy when this update hit. A lot of sites which didn’t earn their SERPS were hit hard. Unfortunately, as in most wars, there was collateral damage and some good guys got taken out, but in general it was a helpful update.

Penguin created a shock wave in the industry and beyond. If we are to compare Penguin to natural disasters I’d liken it to a meteor blast. Why? According Google Trends it’s caused lasting damage which over time may lead to the extinction of black hat SEO or at least people’s interest in it.

RIP, Black Hat

In May 2012 the search phrase ‘black hat SEO’ dropped off a cliff. While the phrase ‘black hat SEO’ still gets more interest than ‘white hat SEO’,  people’s interest in black hat techniques are in free fall and unlikely to return.

Although black hat techniques still work and it is possible to rank using spammy techniques it would seem that Penguin has put the frighteners on people. Nobody wants to talk about it, they live in dread of the shadow of the Penguin!

Maybe black hat SEO will evolve and another term will take its place. Crash Hat SEO, maybe. Or how about Top Hat SEO? Any other suggestions out there, that you’d like to hang your hat on?

How do I get more visitors to my company’s website?

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the internet has been the fastest changing business environment over the last 15+ years and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. In these years, the way that individuals use the internet has went from dial up, to broadband and desktop computer to smart phone. What they are searching for has changed too.

Back when Amazon was still a start-up,  the number of people searching for books, DVDs and CDs was growing every year. Nowadays the number of people searching for these kind of terms will still be growing (well blu ray will) but this growth has been eclipsed by the growth in people asking questions.

What do I mean by questions? “How do I…..” The internet is full of people asking looking for answers!

how do I

People are of course, still conducting searches for products and service, but the number people people just typing straight searches into Google just keeps on increasing.


The important question for business owners is “how do I make more sales from this trend?”. This is undoubtedly a difficult question, but one that I’m going to attempt to answer.

If you are a lawyer, power tool seller, wedding dress maker, home cinema installer or mobile phone retailer, people (potential customers) will be looking for the answers to questions that you can help them with.

  • what do I do if I get fired for….
  • what is the best tool for….
  • what type of wedding dress should X people wear
  • what wireless speakers work with….
  • when will the Samsung Galaxy SIII be updated to Android 4.2.2

I know many people will argue that once the visitor gets the information they will leave the site and never come back. I won’t try to argue with this – conversion rates of these people will be low, but what you are trying to do is build your company as the experts, the people to visit or call when they do want to buy or engage a service.

Ask yourself this: if you had the choice between two local lawyers to call, one who displays their wide ranging knowledge by giving simple and straightforward advice on their website and another who has generic text and stock images, who would you choose?

You can find the type of things your customers are searching for quite easily if your website has been running for a while and you have Google Analytics setup.  Have a look for “how”, “what”, “where” and “why” keywords and you are bound to find some questions that your website probably isn’t delivering the answer to.  A few blog posts or an FAQ page later and your going to be picking up more traffic and showing off your expertise to potential customers. You might even pick up a link or 10 along the way!

Finally, don’t be afraid to give this information out thinking that people won’t need you once they have the answer. Will people decide to do their own SEO because they read this article? No. Will I do all my own accounts because I read up on how to use Sage? Hell no! I will, however, have more trust in the accountant that published the article/blog post and be more likely to pass them my business.

Google!? Miratrix isn’t just a Power Ranger!

We are struggling in the search engines. Not often you hear that phrase from an agency.

What do I mean by it? I mean if you google Miratrix, you’re getting nothing but power rangers results.

Miratrix marketing, not miratrix power ranger

According to the untrustworthy webmaster tools we are position 25!

Even one of my friends commented on it.

 

Damn Power Rangers!

Google doesn’t associate miratrix.co.uk with ‘miratrix’

…and Google is entirely correct to assume this. Until now all the signals Google have been given from other websites and users is that Miratrix = Power Ranger.

This is how Google is associating the search phrase Miratrix with the results.

Miratrix search phrase association with power rangers

We must shift Google’s association between the word Miratrix = Power Ranger + misc to Miratrix = digital marketing agency + power ranger + misc. And we want the association to occur in that order.

How to Get Google To Associate Miratrix with our Domain

Here are few reasons why we don’t currently have that association.

Firstly – a newish domain with next to no history. What this means is Google doesn’t trust the domain yet. It has no reason to. It’s like meeting someone for the first time. You know nothing about them but are happy to chat away over a couple of drinks but you’re not going to discuss your investment portfolio with them.

Trust takes time and investment in good content.

Secondly. We don’t have a lot of content on our site. This makes it difficult for Google to associate the term ‘Miratrix’ with what we do. As you will see over the next few weeks we will build the association between Miratrix and marketing, giving Google the signals it needs to show us more often in the results.

Another import aspect about our content: it will be fresh, unlike the pages which are presently ranking for Miratrix the Power Ranger. Google will be visiting us more often than the Power Ranger pages and giving us kudos for the fresh content. But we can’t just stop at written content. We also need video and images ranking because these are what are dominate the SERP’s for Miratrix at the moment.

Links. Good old links. We’ve not got many, not to mention we have no link velocity. Check out our link profile.

Miratrix backlink profile

Miratrix backlink profile

I’d just like to say that the only links that we’ve built are from ddmconsultancy.co.uk (I used to trade under this domain) and folio14. Which is a redirect from ddmconsultancy.co.uk. We have no idea who built those other links! If you are reading this and you did it, please own up.

Finally social signals. Some say it’s the ‘new link’. I’m holding off on that until facebook or twitter actually produce a profit and manage to sustain themselves without VC. In saying that, they are important and Google uses them to alter the SERPs and index things. We’ve got twitter we’ve got a Google + -though we’ve not really paid much attention to it yet but we will in time. And it will be a key tool for syndicating our content, ideas and moans.

Help us persuade Google to associate miratrix.co.uk with ‘miratrix’

Our team here at Miratrix will be taking care of the content aspect but you can help us by tweeting, sharing or +1’n our domain. You can also link to this post, another one you have found helpful or our domain with the word Miratrix in the anchor text.

If you help us out with this by doing either or all of these things, in no time at all we will be ranking for our own brand name.

I’ll do a review post in the next few weeks to update you on how it’s going. It shouldn’t take us ‘10,000 years’ and unlike Zordon we won’t need to ‘recruit a team of teenagers with attitude’.