Black Blogs: The Dark Side of the Web?
Maybe you have heard the term “black blog” kicked around , but you may not be familiar with its meaning. So, what exactly is a black blog? Black blog is a term coined by Zach Ball, co-founder of link building firm, Page One Power, who explained, “a black blog is one dedicated solely to selling links to game the search engines and possesses no true value to a person visiting the blog.”
“A black blog is a blog used for the sole purpose of selling anchor text links,” Ball said. “Unlike a normal blog, which seeks to attract traffic and visitors a black blog does not care about its traffic or visitors. The general characteristics of a black blog are: poorly written content, irrelevant external links, a lack of contact information or an about page and typically has poor graphic design.”
If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting a black blog, allow me to fill you in. On the black blog Sopadias, which is presumably about soap, I read the following bit of text (although shortened, the text as it appears is intact).
“Here are some tips for the treatment of facial
In general, both women want any man should keep his skin from a variety of disorders. Actions that should be done is the following: […] Perform skin cleansing in the morning and evening: There needs to be at night – even though you did not makeup, because the face easily tainted by pollution. It should also be done in the morning, because your skin grease and dirt in the evening […] For dry skin: Give pleasure every time. […] Avoid hot baths, it is better to use bath oil. For sensitive skin: Warm-care products used in hand before you wear them. Do not rub skin care”
On one hand, this site is pretty much a comedy gold mine. On the other hand, what if I were someone genuinely seeking information about skin care? This is potentially dangerous “advice” however, because if I didn’t know much about the subject, or were very young, or inexperienced on the web, etc., I might be inclined to stop bathing altogether and begin using a bath oil-only regimen of hygiene. But, the people who created that content aren’t concerned with quality. Faux sites like these are only placeholders, the useless content on them is only there to give someone a place to put a link. I suppose that if you squint enough, there might be the occasional string of words that can pass for something like an intelligent thought, but overall, these black blogs are awful.
[learn_more caption="Characteristics of Black Blogs" state="open"]
- Doesn’t seek traffic
- Poorly written content
- Irrelevant external links
- Lack of contact information
- Lack of an “About” page
- Poor graphic design/layout[/learn_more]
If, like me, you’ve had the unpleasant experience of landing on a blog like this one, you can empathize. Blogs like these are like the Area-51 of the web, and they leave you with little more than rashes and regret. So, what are they, and why would anyone invest their time and resources into creating such useless sites?
The “value” of a black blog goes solely to the owner of the site who is purchasing the links. Site owners were able to buy links on black blogs that helped their sites rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Companies that overly used the practice of black blogs, until very recently were able to get their sites to the top of the Google SERPs.
After reading that, you might feeling like you’re having trouble standing up, or perhaps, what exactly a “nuatan” is. Either way, the effect of black blogs on the internet at large has always been somewhat controversial. You may be wondering why this matters, since they are just silly website and ours is a free enterprise system, after all. What harm can a few random spam links do?
“Anyone can approach a black blog owner and offer cash in exchange for either a blog roll link or a blog post link,” Ball said. “Most black blogs are part of larger blog networks like build my rank and submit edge. There are also small blog networks run by individuals.” In fact, Build My Rank wasn’t searchable for sometime on Google’s Chrome browser after the most recent algorithm update. There are lots of these companies in the business of black blogging. For example, here’s some text from the black blog, Vegas Enespanol, which says:
Regarding the glittering lights of the millions of watts day and night is said to have never turned off so that the sidewalk in front of every window of the building so the heat and glass building with static electricity nuatan so when we passed by the hair or threads on the clothes we can stood up.
Black Blog Extinction?
The search engine giants want control over what is and isn’t showing up in the SERPS, and they’ve released countless updates to their search engine algorithms in order to do so. Ball believes that these updates have relegated black blogs to the debris of the bygone web.
“Between 2009 and the end of 2010, black blogs were extremely effective for gaining search engine rankings,” Ball said. “In early 2011, Google’s Panda update targeted the language and poorly written content of black blogs and just recently, Google’s Penguin update targeted over-optimized anchor text links, which were the hallmark of black blogs. Now, black blogs are irrelevant and have essentially become a thing of the past.”
Post-Black Blog Link Building
Although not everyone agrees with Google’s changes, Ball says web-based companies should always be ready to roll with the punches, and to change their business practices accordingly. He advises companies to stay away from using tactics like black blogs and to shift focus instead to creating content that is of genuine value to web users.
“Link building today means that you have to earn links in a brand aware and socially minded way, with great content for real people,” he said.