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Blogs Worth Reading

Monday, December 15th, 2008

I’ve never done a round-up of the blogs I read before, which I guess is a bit selfish. So, in no particular order (and this isn’t a complete list) some of my favourite blogs, if you’re looking for some inspiration.

Dark SEO Programming is run by Harry. As he puts it, “SEO Tools. I make ‘em”. A great guy if you need help with coding and somewhat of a captcha guru, with a sense of humour. Definitely worth keeping up with. I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy starts making big Google waves in the next few years.

Ask Apache is a blog I absolutely love. Great, detailed tutorials on script optimisation, advanced SEO and mod_rewrite. AskApache’s blog posts are the kind of ones that live in your bookmarks, rather than your RSS Reader.

Andrew Girdwood is a great chap from BigMouthMedia I met last year (although I very much doubt he remembers that). Andrew seems to be a vigilante web bug hunter. What I like about his blog is that he is usually the first to find weird things with Google that are going down. This usually gets my brain rolling in the right direction of my next nefarious plan. ^_^

Blackhat SEO Blog run by busin3ss is always worth checking out. He was even kind enough to give me a pre-release copy of YACG mass installer to review (it’s coming soon – I’m still playing!). Apart from his excellent tools, his blog features the darker side of link building, which of course, interests me greatly.

Kooshy is a blog run by a guy I know, who.. Well I think he wants to remain anonymous (at least a little). He’s just got started again after closing down his last blog and moving Internet personas (doesn’t the mystery just rivet you?). Anyway, get in early, I think we can expect some good stuff from here. He’s already done a cool post on Pimpin’ Duplicate Content For Links.

Jon Waraas is run by.. Can you guess? Jon has something that a lot of even really smart Internet entrepreneurs are missing, good old fashioned elbow grease. This guy is a workaholic and it pays off in a big way. Apart from time saving posts on loads of different ways to monetise your site, build backlinks and flush out your competitors I get quite a lot of inspiration for his constant stream of effort and ideas. I could definitely take a leaf out of his work ethic book.

Blue Hat SEO is becoming one of the usual suspects really. If you’re here, you probably already know about Eli. Being part of my “let’s only do a post every few months club”, I love Eli’s blog because there is absolutely no fluff. He gets straight down to the business of overthrowing Wikipedia, exploiting social media and answering specific SEO questions. You’ll struggle to find higher quality out there.

SEO Book is probably the most “famous” blog I’m going to mention here. Aaron was off at a disadvantage, because to be honest, I thought he was a massive waste of space for quite a while. (I guess that’s what happens when you take your SEO youth on Sitepoint listening to the people with xx,xxx posts on there). I bought his SEO Book and for me, at least, it was way too fluffy. I’m pleased he’s started an SEO training service now as it represents much better value. I’m sure he was making a lot of money from his SEO Book, but perhaps milked it too long (like I probably would have). Anyway, I kept with his blog and I’ve been impressed with his attitude and posts. He’s done some really cool stuff, like the SEO Mindmap and more recently, a keyword strategy flowchart which would be useful for those looking to a more structured search approach. He’s also written about algorithm weightings for different types of keywords and of course has some useful SEO Tools.

Slightly Shady SEO – Great name, great blog. Although XMCP will probably take it as an insult, I’ve always regarded Slightly Shady as the blog most similar to mine on this list. Maybe it’s because I wish I’d written some of the posts he has, before he did, hehe. Again, a no BS approach to effective SEO, whether he’s writing about Google’s User Data Empire, hiding from it or site automation it’s all gravy.

The Google Cache is a great blog for analytical approaches to SEO. There are some awesome posts on Advanced Whitehat SEO and using proxies with search position trackers. I like.

SEOcracy is run by a lovely database overlord called Rob. Rob’s a cool guy, he was kind enough to donate some databases to include in the Digerati Blackbox a while back. Most of his databases are stashed away in his content club now, which is well worth a look in. He’s also done some enlightening posts on keyword research, stuffing website inputs and Google Hacking.

This is all I’ve got time for now, apologies if I’ve missed you. There may be a Part II in the near future.

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Approved Services, Black Hat, Blogging, Digerati News, Google, Grey Hat, Marketing Insights, Research & Analytics, Search Engine Optimisation, Social Marketing, Splogs, Viral Marketing, White Hat, Yahoo | 7 Comments »

How To Make Money With An Automated Blog & AutoStumble

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Welcome to another “how to” post. If you follow the recipe here, you’ll be onto Stage 3 = Profit in no time. This ties quite nicely in with the Blackhat SEO Tools post and the AutoStumble post, for those who haven’t read them. It’s a little blackhat, but nothing to lose sleep over (hah, as if!) and this is really, really, reaaallyy easy stuff. Sitting comfortably? Let us begin..

What is the end goal?

The end-game of this post is to have a fully automated blog, which generates shitloads of traffic via StumbleUpon, referrals and Google Blogsearch. In the process, you’ll also gain loads of subscribers and generate some nice easy revenue. Once it’s built, the entire thing is just about hands free.

What you need before you begin…#
To complete this project you will need:

1) Nice clean installation of WordPress

2) The Digerati Blackhat SEO Tool Set

3) A registered copy of AutoStumble

Lets get started
I’m going assume you know the basics of setting up a WordPress blog. If not you can get more detail from Making Money With a Video Blog or if you’re totally new, check out the official WordPress documentation. So yea, if you’re that new, please RTFM.

Once you’ve got your WordPress blog installed and running, do the basics such as setting the permalinks to be the post title, so you get those little extra keywords in the URL. You’ll also need to find yourself a theme. As discussed in Making Money With a Video Blog, the layout is really, really important to get clicks on your ads. You could start with a template like ProSense, although I’ve found the click through ratio to be pretty low, but at least it’s quick. Ideally, have a hunt around so you meet the criteria of showing your content above the fold, centrally and having your ads nicely surrounded and blended in. The key here is to experiment and see what works well for you.

Plugins FTW
There’s a whole crapload of plugins that will make your life a lot easier. We’ll start off with the important one, FeedWordpress, which is part of the Digerati Blackhat SEO Tool Set if you don’t already have it.

Upload the feedwordpress folder, as usual to your wp-content/plugins directory. You’ll need to remove the 2 files from the feedwordpress “Magpie” subfolder, and put these into your “wp-includes” directory, which will overwrite some default WordPress files too. Don’t miss that step…

Once you’re installed and you’ve activated the plugin via your WordPress dashboard, you’ll have a new option on your main navigation.



Just like that. So give that a click and then go into the “Syndication Options” menu. From here you’ll be able to configure FeedWordpress to do your bidding.

You should get an option screen like this:


So lets run through these options.

1) The first thing you want to change is the “Check For New Posts” option. You’ll want to set this to “automatic”. This will go sniff your RSS feeds at an interval you specify to grab new content. You can leave it on every 10 minutes for now.

2) Make sure the next 3 boxes are checked, this will keep your feed information bang up to date.

3) You should set syndicated posts to be published immediately. This will allow you to get your content live ASAP, which is always a plus.

4) Pemalinks. This is basically when somebody clicks on the post, do they go to the original website that you er… Borrowed? The content from, or do they go so a scraped version on your site. For this example (which I’ll give the gonadless among you an ethical loophole for later), set it to “this website”.

5) I always set FeedWordpress to create new categories. I never display categories in the menu, but it gives the post a few more keywords and a bit more relevance for search. So, if someone else has gone to the effort of writing a tag, it would just be wasteful of you not to use it!

Okay, that’s set up… What exactly are we scraping?
To be honest, I’m not a big fan of people scraping content that people have sweated over. However, one thing I don’t mind doing is thieving from thieves.

You’re on the hunt for “disposable” content – generally not text based. Think along the lines of Flash games, funny videos, funny pictures, hypnomagical-optical-illusions – that kind of thing. The Internet is awash with blogs that showcase this stuff. Check out Google blogsearch and try a search like funny pictures blog. There’s hundreds of the leeching bastards showcasing other peoples pictures, videos, games and hypnomagical-optical-illusions for their website. They can hardly call it “their” content. With this ethical pebble tossed aside, we can go and grab some content.

There’s loads of ways you can hunt down potential content. You’re on the lookout for RSS feeds with this rich media. So you could try; Google Blogsearch, Technorati, MyBlogLog – basically any site that lets you search the blogosphere.

Once you’ve got the location of about a dozen or so RSS feeds, you can go to your Syndication menu again and “add a new syndicated site”. Simple matter, paste in the RSS feed location and hit syndicate. Once you’ve added them all, it “update”. Boom, shake the room, you’ve probably got a couple of hundred “new posts”.

New posts, no traffic
You want to of course, set up your WordPress RSS. Something like Feedburner is dead easy to set up and will get Google interested off the bat. Make sure you have a nice big RSS button and offer e-mail subscription (Feedburner does this) for those who don’t have a clue what the hell RSS is.

The cool thing about services like Google Blogsearch is that they’re pretty much chronologically sorted. So as long as you have a steady stream of posts, you’re guaranteed at least a trickle of traffic from long-tail searches.

Hot potato, grab and switch
If you really want to get some serious traffic, you’re going to need some “pillar” posts – content that you know for sure is strong. The easiest way to do this is to keep an eye on sites like Digg and Reddit. Check out on there what is going hot, what’s new and what’s viral. Probably the easiest thing to do is subscribe to the Digg Offbeat / Comedy RSS. This will give you constant updates on what’s upcoming.

Due to the differences in the types of people, there doesn’t tend to be as much overlap between hubs such as Digg, Reddit & StumbleUpon as you might first think. I’ve seen things go viral on Reddit and then take two or three days to make it onto the frontpage of Digg. So, you can grab content that’s going hot from one of these hubs; your proverbial “hot potato” and put in front of the nose of another audience.

Here’s where AutoStumble comes in
This is probably the easiest way to use AutoStumble. Grab your hot potato content from Digg and do a manual post on your blog. Submit this page to StumbleUpon.

AutoStumble costs £20 and is a desktop application, which allows you to automatically pool hundreds of StumbleUpon votes with other users. I.e., this is your quick way of getting your content to go viral on StumbleUpon. If you purchase and download AutoStumble, it is simple a matter of pasting in the URL you want to go viral on StumbleUpon and hitting “AutoStumble”.

A few hundred votes later. Voila. You have traffic.

The value of StumbleUpon traffic
1) The most I’ve had is just over 70,000 unique visitors over a 3 day spike from StumbleUpon. So firstly, you can generate a fairly decent bit of green from your initial CPM ad impressions and clicks on things like Adsense. (StumbleUpon users don’t tend to be as picky about clicking on ads as Diggers).

2) With this volume of traffic, you’ll likely find a few people who really like your content. You’ll get RSS / Email subscribers who will be a permanent addition to your monthly traffic (and revenue).

3) A lot of these social sites are populated with pretty tech savvy people. A lot of these people run their own blogs, forums, websites – or at least add content somewhere themselves on the web. If you get 10,000 visitors from StumbleUpon, you can expect a decent amount of lovely natural links from around the web. Links mean better website authority, better rankings, better traffic and better revenue. The value for me at least, is really long-term.

Making things easy for yourself
You’ll probably want to install some extra plugins such as:

  • WordPress Automatic Update – This will update your WordPress installation as well as plugins. Generally, it will save you a lot of time.
  • Clean Archives Reloaded – I use there on my archive page. It’s a nice way to layout all of your blog posts with clean anchortext to improve relevance with some internal linking.
  • Sitemap Generator – I don’t really bother with Sitemaps, but for those who do – saves you generating one from scratch.

Don’t forget, if you’re going to be switching content onto platforms like Digg or Reddit, make sure you have their native vote button included in the post! You want to make it as easy as possible to grab all of the votes you can. Again, personally – I don’t bother with the generic social bookmarking plugins for WordPress, as I find nobody actually seems to use them.

Oh, and before anyone chirps in trying to be clever saying “(sniffle) won’t duplicate content be an issue?” No! it won’t, fucktard! Get back in your hole. Aside from the dupe content filters being primarily built on shit, you’ll be posting mostly rich media. Google’s not too great at working out the exact content of pictures and videos… Yet. Yes, it will probably change one day in the future, and we’ll all look back on this post and laugh..At the moment, it’s not something they do well, so, well…. Ching..Ching.

Taking it one step further
This whole project should take you less than 30 minutes, from sitting down at your computer to having a fully automated blog posting and promotion system set up. If you like the idea, it would be an idea to package everything I’ve mentioned here together into your own custom install file, so you can deploy new sites in under 15minutes.

If you’re going to do this, you may as well make your cookie cutter solution as good as it can be. Hopefully, if you’re thinking down the right road you can come up with some of your own ideas to improve on these techniques (there are loads).

Why not look at only showing social voting buttons, from sites you know that your visitors actually use? Here’s some code.

Enjoy.

Posted in Adsense, Advertising, Black Hat, Blogging, Google, Grey Hat, Search Engine Optimisation, Social Marketing, Splogs, Viral Marketing | 33 Comments »

SEO Tools & The Future

Monday, August 11th, 2008

I’m aware this is the longest I’ve been without posting, but, meh. What ya gonna do?

I’ve had a post in drafts for a while, which isn’t quite finished. I’ll most likely be polishing and posting it tomorrow. Some real simple blackhat stuff, how to set up a few automated blogs and socially promote content to get some easy pocket money.

To my dear Elite SEO Tools subscribers. Yes, the service has been canned for now. As those of you “on the inside” saw, I was giving membership subscriptions free for the last few months as we were having problems with Social Storm. Unfortunately, several systems such as Propeller, OnlyWire and a couple of other APIs have significantly changed since launch. Nothing that couldn’t be met with a concerted effort – but something I really don’t have time to continue supporting at the moment.

I was *incredibly* pleased with the feedback from the SEO Tools – with several members signing up for multiple accounts as they were so happy with the results! The most popular tool (as I suspected) was Link Buster: which was a set of methods to automatically generate links. I will most likely look at developing a more extensive version of this in 2008, which will focus on links alone – as it seems to be what most people are having problems with.

As for the social media side – AutoStumble is flying! If you check the site out, I’ve added (at the top – squint) a live counter for the amount of stumbles swapped on the network. We are fast approaching 200,000 votes swapped – which is awesome! Like the SEO Tools, I’ve had excellent feedback from both direct feedback and forum chatter. Of course, there’s a few moaners (or as Aaron Wall calls them – Wankers), which does happen when you are at the “lower” price point with software – but hey, generally looking great…

With such great support and feedback, I am looking to develop AutoStumble to allow automatic account creation on StumbleUpon (yes, that means beating reCAPTCHA) and posting against multiple URLs…

Anyway, that’s the news – watch out for the post tomorrow.

Posted in Black Hat, Blogging, Digerati News, Research & Analytics, Splogs | 5 Comments »

How To Install AutoStumble On Linux

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Harry from darkseoprogramming kindly pointed out to me that there is a guide to installing and running Autostumble under Linux.

Here is is: [and here is the original]

Step 1. Install Wine

Install Wine from your package manager. Under Debian/Ubuntu it’s simple.
apt-get install wine

Step 2. Download and install Mono for Windows under Wine

If you try to run autostumbler with Wine it will complain that you don’t have the mono libraries installed. So run over to go-mono.com and download the Windows version with GTK and XSP (about 70megs).

Once the download is finished, run the installer under wine.
wine mono-1.9.1-gtksharp-2.10.4-win32-2.exe

Step 3. Install GDI Plus library

Supposedly Wine doesn’t provide some library that autostumbler requires (GDIPlus), so you’re going to have to download and extract it into your wine/drive_c/windows/system32 folder (usually hidden under ~/.wine).

After the DLL is extracted, run winecfg and under the “libraries tab” find the gdiplus library and “Add” it.

Step 4. Profit!

You should now be able to run AutoStumbler under Linux with Wine!
wine autostumbler1.exe

Input your AS user/pass, stumbler user/pass your URL of choice and hit “AutoStumble” and you should be good to go.

Sidenode:
It doesn’t appear to like to be minimized, so just don’t do it :D. I have a feeling it’s still working while it’s minimized, but I lose the ability to see what’s going on.

Don’t know who wrote this guide, but thanks!

Posted in Black Hat, Digerati News, Grey Hat | 1 Comment »

Blackhat SEO Tools & Scripts – The Digerati Blackbox

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

buenos dias, friends!

I’ve put together a little treat for all of you budding and new blackhats out there. I got quite annoyed this week with the whitehattards on Sphinn.

Those of you who actually know me, will know I believe whitehat stuff is very important to building a web business. However, I also believe there is strong case for at least experimenting with gray/blackhat (whatever you want to call it). There are some markets you literally cannot touch without getting off your rainbow shitting whitehat unicorn of light. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of, erm, “dedicated” whitehats out there that refuse to even learn what blackhat is. I’d like to take this opportunity to shed some myths (AKA venting) about blackhat. For those of you who don’t enjoy reading pissed off (I believe the whitehat word for pissed is “snarky” – Thanks Matt.C), feel free to skip down the page to the goodies.

Things that whitehattards believe to be true:

1. That “on page” SEO is some uber-skill which takes years to learn.

False. If you actually get a good web developer, the chances are he (or she!) will make a decent crawable website. You might be able to help them out with some keyword research to help target title/header tags, or give them a little advice on PR sculpting for large sites with nofollow. Good internal linking structures are pretty commonly well known – at least with the web developers I know. If any pure whitehat starts talking about precise keyword density, just laugh in their face.

2. The main thing about SEO is creating good content.
Good content gets links, yes. Well done. Why are you doing SEO when so many crimes are going unsolved around the world? Good content is important for whitehat site, yes. However, good content is not bloody SEO! How do I know this? Would you bother writing good content if search engines didn’t exist? Yes, you would. Therefore it is actually a component of web design, not SEO!

3. There’s no point in blackhat, you’ll just get banned.
This little corker comes from two types of people, normally from people who have never tried blackhat (glad they’re qualified to comment, why not go give a lecture on brain surgery while you’re at it). Or, secondly, people who have tried some very, very, basic blackhat and done it badly and left footprints like a crack-addicted yeti storming around the web. I know of many blackhat sites that have enjoyed top positions for years without getting caught for competitive key phrases those whitehats couldn’t touch with a NASA sized hard drive full of great content.

4. I’m a good whitehat SEO because “I know” where to get links from
Aww now, c’mon. Not really a “core” SEO skill is it? I’ll give it to you, that it helps. I think what you’re trying to say is “I understand how the web works and where it is possible to drop links” or “I use social news/community sites”. I know people who have never built a link in their life and would make great whitehat SEO link builders because they spend ages writing content for blogs and taking part in Digg, Reddit, Stumble, blaahh, blahhh. At best, it’s a transferable skill.

5. Blackhat SEOs only resort to blackhat because they can’t produce good websites
This one (which I saw several times on Sphinn), just leaves my jaw dropped. Generally, blackhats are far more accomplished programmers than whitehats and can build much cleaner and more efficient websites (and a lot do) if they wish. The fact is, by scripts and automation they’ve found a way to make a decent income without burning the midnight oil writing content about their new “diamond goat hoof jewellery” niche they’ve found. This comment normally comes from whitehats who wouldn’t know a blackhat if they spammed them in the face.

There is however, advanced white hat SEO, as Eli kindly demonstrates in his painfully bastardish always right way.

Ahem. Anyway…..

The Digerati Blackbox

So, I’ve collected together a set of tools, scripts, databases and tutorials which will help the beginner blackhat find their feet. Some of the stuff is pretty good, albeit fairly basic. You should be able to make something decent if you combine some of these scripts, or strip out some of the code into your own creations.

Blackbox Contents:

Cloaking & Content Generation:

cloakgen1.zip:
This is a cloak / dynamic content generation script. To use it you simply add a small piece of code to the top of each page you wish to be cloaked. When someone accesses your page then cloakgen is run and if the user-agent suggests the visitor is a standard user then they are simply shown your standard page. However if the user-agent suggests that the visitor is a search engine then it will start doing the business. It will start by finding out what page called it, then it will open this page and find out what the most common words on the page are. Once it has worked this out then it will scrape some content about that word from wikipedia and add it with your normal page content. Each keyword will be emphasised in a random way. For example the keyword could be bold or red font etc. The final page will be output in the following way:

Title of the page in capital letters
Large title at the top of the page
Content of the website with emphasization and wiki content

padkit.zip:
PAD is the Portable Application Description, and it helps authors provide product descriptions and specifications to online sources in a standard way, using a standard data format that will allow webmasters and program librarians to automate program listings. PAD saves time for both authors and webmasters. This is what you want to use with the below databases.

yacg.zip:
You should have heard of Yet Another Content Generator (YACG). It’s a beautifully easy way to get websites up and running in minutes with mashed up scraped content.

Databases:

articles.zip:
A database of 23,770 different articles on a variety of topics.

bashquotes.zip:
This is a database of every quote on Bash.org. This huge Database has every single quote as of May 1st, 2007!

KJV_bible.zip:
The whole thing King James Bible – Old & New Testament.

medical_dictionary.sql.zip:
Over 130,000 rows of medical A-Z

Keyword Scripts:

ask-single-keyword-scraper.zip:
This script allows you to scrape a range of similar keywords to your original keyword from Ask.com.

google-single-keyword-scraper.zip:
This script will take a base keyword and then scrape similar keywords from google.

msn-live-api-scraper.zip:
This script uses php cURL to scrape search results from the MSN LIVE Search API.

overture-single-keyword-scraper.zip
Enter one base keyword and scrape similar keywords from overture.

Linkbuilding Scripts:

dity.zip:
A very easy to use (and old) multi guestbook spammer.

logscraper.zip:
Nifty little internal linker (read more about it here)

trackback.zip
Very powerful trackback poster. Trackback Solution is 100% multithreaded and very efficient at automatically locating and posting trackback links on blogs.

xml-feed-link-builder-z.zip
Very nice script to generate links from to your site from people scraping RSS.

Misc Scripts:

alexa-rank-cheater1.zip:
Automate the false increase of your Alexa rating/rank.

typo-generator-esruns.zip:
Create typos of a competitive keyword and rank easy!

Scraping:

feedwordpress.0.993.zip:
Wordpress plugin that makes scraping the easiest thing in the world.

Proxies:

proxy_url_maker.zip:
Create a list of web proxy URLs used for negative seo purposes or spam

proxygrabber.zip:
A script to download proxies from the samair proxy list site.

CAPTCHAs:

delicious.zip:
Delicious CAPTCHA broken. In Python.

smfcaptchacrack.zip:
Simple machines forums captcha breaker compiled and designed to run on Linux but portable to Windows.

Tutorials:

curl_multi_example.zip:
What it says on the tin. Examples of m-m-m-multi curl!

superbasiccurl.zip:
4 super basic tutorials on using curl/regex.

I’d like to give special thanks to all donators and people who included their stuff here:

Steve – For the majority of scripting here.
Rob – For the databases
Eli – For delicious CAPTCHA breaker
Rob – For trackback magic
Harry – For proxygrabber/linux captcha scripts

Here it is:

blackhat seo tools
Download Digerati Blackbox Toolkit (51.4Mb)



Disclaimer: I’m not offering support on any of these tools or scripts, although I might do a couple of tutorial posts on how to use them. So don’t ask me how to use them, check out the respective author’s website if you get stuck. Obviously Digerati Marketing Ltd, I, my dog, or anyone else cannot be held responsible for any type of loss or damages of any kind (even an act of God Google) if you choose to use them. At your own risk blah blah blah. Zzzzzz. Enjoy.

Posted in Black Hat, Grey Hat, Marketing Insights, Research & Analytics, Search Engine Optimisation, Social Marketing, Splogs, White Hat | 64 Comments »