Media Guy's Pop Pick: Black-hat SEO

Our Columnist's Current Media Obsession

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NEW YORK ( -- If you view much of your media life, as I do, through the prism of a search engine, then you'd do well to immerse yourself, if only briefly, in the whole netherworld of something called black-hat SEO. Search engine optimization (tweaking web pages to improve their search-engine rankings) is, of course, a fast-growing industry -- and, naturally, so is black-hat SEO: using super-shady, largely unethical techniques to gain an advantage and sabotage competitors.

If you're a consumer or producer of web content, a good place to start understanding such techniques is, a "parody" site created by SEO expert Aaron Wall (author of a definitive, constantly revised e-book available at that links to all manner of black-hat SEO purveyors. Click around a bit and read up on stuff like Google Bowling -- the storied practice of attempting to knock out competitors that rank above you in Google search results by making those rivals' sites look bad to Google.

Mr. Wall, bless his heart, is shining a bright light on the snakes in the grass that are warping our collective web-based realities.
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