black_hat_affiliate_marketingBlack hat affiliates is a term used to refer to affiliate marketers who use black hat SEO techniques to rapidly rank a site on search engines. While these affiliates represent only one type of affiliate strategy and a very small percentage of the overall number of affiliate sites out there, they are worth mentioning because they often get a lot of attention in the press.

Black Hat Affiliate Marketing

Basically, black hat affiliates use complex processes to attempt to game the search engines into ranking a relatively new and/or shallow site on the first page for a variety of keywords.

These sites are termed black hat because they use “Google illegal” techniques to get their pages to rank. They blatantly violate policies and best practices because they do not care if the site gets flagged and punished after a few days or weeks. Instead, their business model is to rapidly rank a site knowing the site will be penalized, and then use the same techniques to rank a new site shortly thereafter. In the meantime, they reap the rewards of ranking on the first page of Google. In other words, it’s the ‘get rich quick’ approach to marketing.

You can usually spot a black-hat affiliate site fairly easily. If you’ve ever searched for a product-related keyword and found a 1-5 page site, with a detailed splash page funneling you on to a third-party site, you’ve seen one of these sites. They, most commonly, provide little to no extra value to the user, and are banking on the fact that they can simply be an intermediary step a user takes right before he makes a purchase.

Pros and Cons of Black Hat Marketing

In my mind, the cons of black hat marketing far outweigh the potential monetary game. Constantly being chased by Google and Bing is simply not a solid strategy, and yet those that can successfully systematize and monetize the process can and do earn significant revenue.

The cons, on the other hand, are very clear. It is impossible to build a sustainable, long term business model off of leveraging loopholes in search algorithms. New algorithm updates are released frequently by all search engines, which means the effort spent learning how to game one algorithm is easily lost when the new release comes out.

Furthermore, I think it’s ridiculous that these marketers build their businesses knowing they’re only employing short term strategies. Unless you really know what you’re doing, this is a recipe for failure, and it’s best to stick to a white hat strategy using a few key principles of good SEO practices.

But then again, those that do it well are laughing all the way to the bank. If you’d rather learn how to build a high quality, sustainable business for the long term, check out this free training.