Joe Troyer: The next question, speaking of gray hat, black hat, if you were a black hat SEO, what would you be doing right now? Okay? If you were a black hat SEO, what would you be doing right now? This one does get me excited, don’t get me wrong. I have to really have a conversation with myself about kind of the… If I build an empire on sand, it could all crash and I just don’t know when. That’s fine.
Joe Troyer: A case study on the Digital Triggers’ blog talking about how we ranked in Miami, one of the biggest cities in the United States, for a locksmith, quite literally ranked for Miami locksmith and locksmith Miami, I think the highest we ever got was number two. I don’t know that we ever got to number one. We did lead gen with that. We did pay-per-call. We made a lot of money, barely spent any on some PBM posts and a little bit of onsite SEO. Then, the site got smacked. Google smacked it and it was gone. Okay? If you want to do black hat, that’s fine, just understand you kind of got a ticking time bomb, so to speak, that you’re dealing with.
Joe Troyer: If I was really big still into black hat SEO, specifically if I kind of had the background that I have now, what would I be doing right now? Right now, I would be focusing on essentially EMDs, exact match domains. Exact match domains have crushed it in terms of SEO for a long time. You take the keyword phrase that you want to rank for, and you would buy the exact match domain of that. You’d buy keywordphrase.com. Okay? This has worked for a very long time in Google. Okay? You could argue it still works today. It’s been spammed to death. It doesn’t work as good as it used to. Used to be able to buy an EMD domain though and go up against Wikipedia and huge sites with just a couple of backlinks and outrank them. Right? This worked really well.
Joe Troyer: These days, I don’t know that I would really call it an EMD. What I would call it instead is an exact match business name. Okay? Exact match business name. What I mean by that is maps, with Google Maps. If you guys look at Google Maps right now, it’s like the Wild Wild West still. If you look at what’s ranking, it’s a lot of exact match business names. Right? If you look at a keyword phrase, you put in iPhone repair St. Louis, I almost guarantee that iPhone repair St. Louis, as a business name, is what’s going to rank inside of Google Maps.
Joe Troyer: Give me a seven if that makes sense to everybody, okay? Yeah. All over the market, just do a couple, do a dozen Google searches for local [inaudible] in different cities around your area. You guys will be blown away. I mean it’s ramp it. As much as I think that this balloon is going to pop, as much as I think that this is going to go away, Google’s just right around the corner from this happening, guys, this has been going on for a really long time. Frankly, Google just isn’t doing shit about it. Quite literally, not doing shit about it.
Joe Troyer: If I were putting effort right now into black hat type of activities, I would be going after this in a major, major, major way. I’d be setting up GMBs with exact match business names, okay? I’d not go for the head terms. If you’re going after appliance repair in Jacksonville, I wouldn’t do Jacksonville appliance repair. If it was available, maybe I would. I don’t know. I’d probably do things more like 24 hour Jacksonville appliance repair, things that… Chances are, that domain’s going to be available and the competition’s going to be super low. I’m going to be able to jump into the map pack very quickly.
Joe Troyer: With that, you’re just playing a numbers game. It’s like a slot machine. It’s like hitting an ATM, right? I’d be kind of hitting these things in batches. Right? I’d test with five or 10 of these. Okay? Get them verified. The ones that pop, rank in the top 10, let’s say, inside a GMB, I’d put time, effort and resources into. I’d build citations, I’d build backlinks, right? I’d run with them and the other ones, I would leave. Right? I’d cut my losses of the ones that didn’t do well. Okay?
Joe Troyer: I’ve played this game, it’s fun. Still have lead gen assets that generate calls that I’ve set up, and I set up a long time ago, that quite literally bring in calls every single day. You might have $100 in one of these. If you’re getting paid out 30, 40, $50 a qualified call, you need one, two qualified calls ever for it to pay off. Right? It gets ranking and you’re in the money, so to speak.
Joe Troyer: If I was concentrating a bunch of my time these days on black hat SEO, I would be playing the local Google My Business, essentially, spam game with the exact match business names. A long, long time ago, Douglas says, or not Douglas, sorry, Frankie says, “I purchased 50 Halloween costume EMDs back in 2009, and I killed it.” I bet. About that time, probably late 2009, 2010, I jumped into affiliate marketing, very strong in the SEO, in exact match stuff. We were crushing it with coupons. We were going after retailer domain names, like brand names, and coupons. Right?
Joe Troyer: I had to pick up Omaha Steak coupons, right? I’d rank it, like super simple, like a couple of backlinks. Very easy SEO. It would rank really well. It’d rank in the top five with very, very little SEO and this is kind of the same tactic. Right? When it would pop and when it would rank and it would start getting some traffic, then I would start to actually work on it. Right? Then, I’d really work on the conversion rate and make sure that the website was really good and easy to use and customer experience. Right? I’d just keep it very, very easy, just get that thing to rank, get it getting traffic first. Once it gets traffic, then we can start to work on the conversion rate. That was an absolute killer business, very, very fun business.
Joe Troyer: Let’s see, reporting GMB spam is now a thing for SEOs. The jury is still out if Google will do anything, yeah. At the end of the day, it’s just against Google’s terms of service, John. Right? It’s not like it’s illegal, right? You got to draw the line though for you on what you’re okay with and what you’re not, right? That’s the difference between white hat and kind of gray hat. I wouldn’t even call GMB spam black hat. Frankly, it’s not really black hat. Black hat is like hacking other people’s site and maliciously inserting backlinks, which happens, and far crazier things.