Links make the internet, without them the web would just be a random collection of websites. Google has gotten to where it is today because they were able to build an algorithm that ranks a website by looking at its backlinks. Though their algorithm changes almost daily, links are the one element that has stayed constant.
People are constantly devising new ways to build links, one of the newest trends is to use a link wheel, this basically involves cross linking web 2.0 properties and pushing as much authority through one link to your main website as possible. These methods, though not necessarily blackhat can get you penalized if Google figures out what you are trying to do. For this reason many of the link builders that employ these methods constantly worry about their “footprint” and they do everything they can to cover their tracks in the hope that they can keep Google off their trail. We have all seen tactics like this come and go over the years, someone comes up with a new and exciting way to build links, they share it with the community, then everyone gives it a shot. Then it is up to Google to figure out what they are doing, how they are doing it and eventually how to stop them from doing it.
Depending on who you talk to, some may consider these tactics as BlackHat, some see no issues with these methods and others would class them as being in the grey area between white and blackhat. Everybody has their own opinions and it’s not my place to say what it right or wrong, if it works and there is no repercussions then is it really a bad thing?
Now I am not saying drop everything and start hitting the Blackhat tactics, but what I am suggesting is that it is wise to know what Blackhatters are doing, how they are doing it and are they seeing results from what they are doing, this is especially true if you are competing against anyone that is using shady tactics.
Often the people who use Blackhat tactics are accomplished link builders, smart and extremely good at what they do, they need to be smart because if they want their sites to succeed they need to stay one step ahead of Goolge, or else their site will get burned.
That is another trait of Blackhat link builders, if Google does sandbox their site they will just move to another project and start the process all over again.
So What can be learned?
Just browsing through the different forums, you can quickly see what tools they use and are popular, how they use them and what they use them for and don’t forget it’s not the tools that are blackhat, it’s the people that are using them, so there is nothing to say that these tools can’t be used when building whitehat links.
Not all Blackhat practices are bad news, many of the tactics can be tweeked so that Google won’t frown on what you’re doing and you won’t have to worry about your site getting sandboxed.
Many link building tactics have not changed much over the years, many blackhatters have taken these tactics, tweaked, tested and improved on these methods and as a link builder we should be aware of these new tricks and tactics, we don’t necessarily need to use them but we should know that these new methods are out there.