SEO used to literally be the wild west. The meanest and the baddest outlaws found ways to cheat the system, and they profited from it. Boy, did they profit from it. They walked around with gold chains, fur coats, and Reebok Pumps, and flaunted their con-artistry for all the world to see. Lucky for us, these black hat strategies no longer work because the sheriff (the Google spam team) is back in town and they aren’t taking any crap.
But just for fun, let’s revisit the top 9 sketchiest SEO moves of all time (that actually worked):
1. Link Farms
Link farms were fun little websites built specifically to manipulate the Google search algorithm. Essentially, search engines used to look to the volume of links pointing to your site to determine if you were a valid information source. So if you had 1,000′s of links pointing to your site from many different websites for the term “Viagra”, the search engines would think you were a valid information source for “Viagra” and you would most likely sell a ton of prescription drugs. It was easy money.
The links were accomplished by placing links on many different websites that all link to every other site in the group or “farm”. A lot of times these sites were duplicate copies of each other and were generally run by the same entity to simply generate a high volume of links.