Mission Impossible 4 – Revenge of the Black Hat

I had an interesting phone call yesterday. A polite young man suggested that my SEO skills were in great demand in London, Dublin, and Gibraltar and I would be looking at a salary of £50,000. Now call me an old cynic (you’re an old cynic! .Ed) but I didn’t jump for joy at the prospect of oodles of cash and tons of sunshine (or even Guinness) ‘cos I’d already guessed what was coming. The catch? It would be in the online gambling industry!

Fact is there are some industies that are just not worth the effort to optimise for organic listings, and gambling / betting is one of them. There are a number of others – loans and bad debts, mainstream sex sites, mp3s, mobile phones for instance.

So what’s the problem with them?

  • Impossibly competitive markets
  • Bad site history or no history
  • Black Hat opposition

Competing for rankings with the big boys

For all these areas there is an astonishing number of competing sites. Some long established and reputable – think big established betting shops, the big banks and loan companies, etc. – and some decidedly not reputable. The big guys can afford to spend massive amounts on advertising and site building, have usually had sites for many years, and those sites are usually big enough to cover just about every useful keyword available. The others guys cheat.

Domain name problems

If you’re entering one of these markets then you have two choices – start with a new domain name, or buy an established one. In a highly competitive market a new site on a new domain name will take a very long time to rank. Google aging filters will apply, and the usual remedy of getting links from trusted sites will be more difficult to apply. However if you try buying a domain name that has been operating previously then you may run into bad history problems. These appear when the previous owner has employed unethical techniques in trying to rank. If they’ve employed cloaking, or hidden text, or been connected to link farms, then this may very well affect your attempts to optimise the site because of the need to establish trust.

Competing with Black Hat techniques

What about the smaller opposition? A substantial number of them in any of these big money industries will be short term sites which are there to make a fast buck and then drop out again. They don’t care about long term results so they are happy to employ unethical or Black Hat techniques which may well get them highly ranked in the short term but will get them banned once the search engines work out what they’re doing. Because there is a constant stream of these there are always some of them competing against the ethically-built sites, making your job far more difficult than in a more normal business sector.

So I won’t be going to Gibraltar – pity, considering this year’s British Monsoon season summer. Anyone fancy a Guinness?


Mission Impossible 4 – Revenge of the Black Hat — 1 Comment

  1. Ireland ain’t much better, Every second company wants a job listing or house listing website and there isn’t alot of traffic kicking around Ireland.
    Phones are still quite a new thing over there. But if your looking for a move to Ireland and you don’t fancy working for Paddy Power let me know and I’ll point you in the right direction.