By King Douche | January 16, 2012
So, the time has come. Sleepless nights. The wondering. The fear. Your grey campaign is milking years off of your life. (I just HAD to reuse that image on the left. It’s more appropriate than ever for this piece.)
You’ve weighed the negatives, the positives. You wanted to stand tough. But there was one factor that tipped the scales. The domain.
THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE
You see, Google basically gives you one ‘get out of jail free’ card in regards to paid links. Yes, you can ride the grey, get caught, and beg for forgiveness promising never to do it again and thou shall be saved. But, you only really get one bail out. Even if you tried it again on another domain, and got nailed, I doubt that the Google gods would be as forgiving on your 2nd and subsequent requests. So, throughout your whole life, you get one and only one pardon.
When will you use it? How long do you plan on being an SEO? 5 years? 20 years? 40 years? Perhaps time refills the guff.
But getting a pardon for paid links requires one important fact: You’ll need to own the domain, or have full access to it in order to authenticate through Google Webmaster Tools in order to file the reinclusion request. Meta tag, DNS, file upload, or Google Analytics authentication. You’ll need access.
THE COMPANY-OWNED DOMAIN TIPPED MY SCALES
“So,” you say. ”What’s the significance of that domain ownership fact, King Douche?”
Well, what if your money-maker was on an affiliate corporate-owned domain where you had no access to the site? What if you couldn’t file a reinclusion request if you ever got nailed? Would you then have to scrap the subdomain and start over? Is there a better way? Are you really better off riding the grey and just facing the penalty if it ever comes? What if would have never came?
Well, therein lies the question. What if you would have never got caught? What if you raked in the dough throughout the product’s lifecycle and by the time the algorithm caught up with you the product’s life cycle was on its way out? Which path would you choose? Turning the grey into white? Or riding the grey?
I’D RATHER CLAW MY WAY BACK THAN TRY AND BREAKOUT OF THE DOG-HOUSE
Even if I did have access to the domain, this solid realization remains: I’d rather experience a drop in rankings switching to white hat, then work my ass off to get it back, rather than ride the grey until (if) it breaks then work my way out of the dog house.
You see, a good SEO isn’t afraid to work hard. Yeah, yeah we work smart, too, but a solid campaign is almost never ending. The fact that a good SEO has a strong work ethic plays is his/her favor. Many simply won’t work that hard. 99% want to take a shortcut somehow. If you vow to keep cranking away on your campaign, you’ll end up right back at the top. That’s my logic anyway.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Go as far as possible without going over. This is the strategy for running a grey campaign. But when Google penalizes one of their own products, and even their own search engine in Japan for violating their quality guidelines, it’s time to chainsaw the main beams in your link strategy and try and go white hat. (Go ahead, Google “Google Chrome”...GONE is the download page, completely.)
WE SAW IT COMING
“Paid links drew much attention last year, after Google penalized JC Penney, as well as Forbes and Overstock for using them. Google even banned BeatThatQuote, one of its own companies last year, BeatTheQuote, over the issue.”
THE DECIDING FACTOR: GOOGLE CHROME RESULT GOT NUKED, GOOGLE’S NOT MESSING AROUND ANY MORE
It used to be somewhat easy to jack-up rankings. A few paid reviews, a few paid links, a handful of this and that, good relevant content, good page architecture and you were pretty much at the top of the SERPS and assuming your site was well designed, it converted. Now, with even more intense algorithmic changes, at best you’ll just not realize any gain from paid links. At worst, demotion or at ultra-worst, total nuke. Hell, Google demoted GOOGLE JAPAN for 11 fucking months from a PR9 to a pR5 and then they came back a PR8. If they’ll do that to one of their own companies, imagine what they’ll do to me. They’ll feed me to the lions without blinking an eye.
With Google Chrome getting nuked, I’m not doing grey hat anymore. No way. Not any more. It’s a new year. It’s time to take the hit, recover, and sleep easy as a white hat. Before it’s too late. Me? I’m out.
In a few months, I’ll let you know the repercussions of going white hat from grey. Hopefully, it’ll just be a few hiccups and not a total loss of lifestyle. I’ll keep you posted.