Published on February 16th, 2012 | by 01110011011001075
SEO Needs an Anti-Hero
There’s a scene in Batman: The Dark Knight where Batman is interviewing the Joker. I strongly recommend you watch it so that you catch all my awesome Batman references —> http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2164222/dark_knight_batman_interrogates_joker_scene/
“I don’t want to kill you! …. You complete me!”
I love that scene because Joker is totally counter everything Batman is. Batman loves order and justice. The Joker loves chaos and destruction. They’re both arguably brilliant and yet driven to serve different causes.
How boring would that movie have been if the Joker was a white-knighting do-gooder who squirted old ladies with fake flowers, cracked puns and shared idiotic limericks? If Batman’s mission was just to publically shame the Joker by writing mean things about him on the internet?
And yet that’s exactly what we have in SEO right now. There are dozens of well known, incredibly smart white hat advocates – these are your “Batmen”.
But who is the “Ying” to Rand’s “Yang”? Who is Wil Reynolds’ “Joker”? Who is Matt Cutts’ arch nemesis? At best we can label the “dark side” of SEO “Spammers”. We find it edgy and frightening when a well known figure advocates something that smacks of being even gray-hat.
“You have all these rules, and you think they’ll save you!”
Where is the brilliant arch-nemesis to make this story complete?
SEO needs an unabashed black hat. A genius who doesn’t cling to the absurd optimism that one day Google will fix everything and we’ll all fart rainbows while riding a unicorn on our way to the top of the SERPs because we played by the rules.
Our industry is starving for someone with Rand Fishkin’s goatee and angrier eyebrows. Someone who wears golf shirts like Cutts, but only black ones with hoods sewn on. Someone who publishes “EvilBoard Fridays” and releases “Top 5 Ways to Make a Fool of Google” lists.
Someone who says, “You know all the things they’ve told you don’t work? They do and there’s nothing you can do about it!” – before unleashing a cackle and disappearing in a puff of digital smoke.
“See, I’m not a monster, I’m just ahead of the curve.”
What I would love to see is a well-known rule breaker; a black hat so insidious that though we hate them passionately, we also respect them.
That last bit is important. We categorize black hats as “lazy” without stopping to think that in a lot of cases these are the few really innovating in ways we haven’t thought of.
We collectively wave our finger at the mysterious enemy known as “spam” while patting each other on the backs for being more ethical than “the other guys”. We live in constant fear that Google is watching our every move.
We need to stop thinking that there’s only one effective way to get things done. Because there isn’t. That’s never been the case. We could learn a lot by studying our enemies instead of dismissing them as short-sighted idiots.
“Bad Makes Good Better!”
My point is this: Good can only become BETTER if it has some sort of opposition to fight against.
One of the best things that ever happened to me was discovering my local arch nemesis. I can see what this guy does to get rankings. It infuriates me. It physically upsets me. I swear at my computer screen. I curse Google for their inability to crush his evilness. I sometimes cry into my beer.
And then you know what I do? I figure out a way to whoop his ass without breaching my client’s trust. Like Batman I have my one rule: “Don’t compromise the client.” I stick to it at all costs though I often want to break it.
When I finally see my client’s site beat this competitor out, I rejoice. I turn on “Lowrider” and fist pump and air-thrust until my legs give out.
Because I earned that success against a worthy opponent.
So if you’re one of the “good guys”, then it’s time you found yourself an arch nemesis. Study them. Learn from them. Fight them. Your life (and your work) will be better for it.
If you’re a smart, personable, quirky black hat: The industry is waiting for you.
We need you badly.
Come step into the spotlight.
SEO Needs an Anti-Hero,