The True Cost Of Black Hat SEO

[Image: seo-costing.png]Despite what most black hat skeptics might think, running a decent automation system isn’t cheap. Everything needs to align correctly for it to be a profitable venture, which is what we’re all after.
And it seems to be one of the first questions people have when approaching link building automation; how much is it going to cost?
We’re going to look at all the necessary pieces of software, hosting, proxies, captcha costs, etc. required to run a solid operation. The breakdown will be small, medium, large, for the system sizes. Cost breakdowns will be followed by potential output estimates.
We will also consider labor for spun content as this is crucial to feed our system with manually spun high quality content. So let’s get started and take some accounting to the link blasting game.
“Dirty Harry”
[Image: dirty-harry-357.jpg]This set up is sufficient for the weekend blaster. Looking to rank some YouTube videos in your spare time or spank a few parasites to the first page? This setup is for you. I always advise that beginners start small and scale up strategically, so this is perfect to get rolling on a budget and still make some noise. You’ll be running one server, with Ultimate Demon building the majority of your links. Using the link tree function you can build tier 2 and 3 links right in Ultimate Demon. Using Scrapebox you can prepare all the necessary inputs and run comment blasts for tier 3, then let the good times roll. 50 proxies is the bare minimum to accomplish anything with scraping and volume submissions, so pony up. With this setup we are accounting for 50k captcha solves per month.
Software Requirements:


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Technical Requirements:


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50k Captchas

Up front – $134
Monthly – $249

“Terminator”
[Image: the-terminator.png]Now we’re heating up a bit, this set up is going to give us some serious power. The beauty of running more than one VPS is it allows you to greatly increase efficiency and work flow. With this setup you can dedicate an entire server to building both tiers 1 and 2. The first VPS will run Ultimate Demon doing the majority of tier 1 link building and the second VPS will run GSA Search engine ranker doing the tier 2 heavy lifting. We have upped the amount of proxies to 200, since the way I see it, at this point we better shit or get off the pot.
This will allow you to run both pieces of software with 100 proxies in each, which is the equivalent to link building beast mode. And you also have the ability to scrape like a freak. Either stop everything and scrape with all 200 of your proxies at once or reduce the proxies in the software temporarily. For example, you could cut down to 60 proxies on each VPS and scrape with the available 80. This assuming you have a copy of ScrapeBox handy on your desktop as well.
200k captcha solves should leave room for plenty of spam. Running GSA now requires Kontent Machine which is an awesome little tool that scrapes and spins together tons of articles for tier 2 content. With this setup we are spending a few extra bucks per month on tools, an extra proxies can start enabling the whole system to run smoothly. If you skimp on proxies don’t come crying to me when the few you do have all get banned.
Software Requirements:


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Technical Requirements:


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200k Captchas

Upfront Cost – $380
Monthly Cost – $684
“Heisenberg”
[Image: heisenburg.jpg]This is the setup that I run and it gives me enough power to blast link building hell fire all over the web. The potential is almost endless with this setup, and when you get in the groove, you can stack on an additional VPS as needed.
It may sound crazy, but there are people out there running 10 servers and straight dominating 24/7. So from that standpoint this setup is actually quite modest.
We’ll be running tier 1 with Ultimate Demon, GSA SER, and Rankwyz. Then dumping on the tiered links with GSA SER and Scrapebox. New additions are Serengines, Wordai, and Rankwyz.
Serengines is an awesome GSA addon that costs $14.95 per month and allows us to build super high PR web2s and repost to them. Easy money for adding some more quality to your first tier. Wordai is used for some tier 1 and tier 2 stuff when you want to maintain better quality on the content. It integrates with Kontent Machine just like The Best Spinner API making it easy. Rankwyz is the weapon of choice for building a nice blog network of web2 sites, further diversifying our link blasts and driving better rankings. It doesn’t get much better than this setup.
Software Requirements


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Technical Requirements


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300k Captchas

Upfront Cost – $380
Monthly Cost – $1,247
Labor and Content Spinning
The last thing to consider is labor. For the Dirty Harry system you will be able to get by on your own but for the Terminator and Heisenberg you’re going to need some extra hands for spinning. The content is a big challenge, and if you screw up establishing a steady flow, you’ll have a costly system not being fully utilized.
So getting your ducks in a row before jumping into this game is essential for ongoing success.
Average cost per Week for Filipino labor: $100-$150 per week.
Expected Output: 12 spun articles and 3 sets of titles and descriptions per week.
Spinning Standards:

  • Seed article written by spinner
  • Sentences rewritten 3 times
  • Words and phrases spun wherever make sense
  • Titles are rewritten 15 times

Depending on how you allocate your spinning over the tiers, at least one full time spinner is key to running a solid system. If you can utilize more content than one spinner is producing, hire an additional spinner. After you find a winner, groom them into a champion, then hire additional spinner as needed.
The Input Costs Per Campaign
To better help you wrap your mind around this type of system from a business standpoint, let’s lay some variable cost numbers to an actual campaign.
Required # of Spun Articles – 3-6
Required # of Spun Titles and Descriptions – 1-2
I put ranges on these quantities but we will chose an arbitrary amount for costing purposes. There are two main elements to consider when attempting to determine the necessary inputs for an effective campaign.
Estimated quantity of links needed on tier 1 and potential outputs per spinner.
Between these two figures we should be able to estimate how much content is needed for a solid campaign.
Start by checking out the competition and factoring in your domain’s existing link profile and age.
You see it’s very tough to give an exact number for the amount of links needed to rank.
Sometimes just a handful of juiced up tier 1 links will stomp everyone out. Other times you’ll need several hundred tier 1s along with some other authority links sprinkled in.
The minimum I typically go with is 3 spun articles and 2 sets of titles and descriptions. But for my super money campaigns, I’ll go with 6 spinners.
This gives me more flexibility and I can put my foot on the gas as needed. It also leaves room for using Rankwyz to hit blogs with multiple posts along with manual submissions on tougher sites.
For the purposes of our analysis we will use the following:
Target # of Tier 1 Links Per Campaign ~300
Potential # of Outputs per Spun Article ~75
Potential # of Outputs per Spun Title and Descriptions ~50
Primary link types for Tier 1 – High PR articles, wikis, web2s, docshare, and press releases.
Secondary link types for Tier 1 – Social bookmarks, directories.
Notice I said High PR and also bolded and underlined it for tier 1.
Before you start rubbing your Matt Cutts bobble head and chuckling about social bookmarks, jump down off your white hat high horse and take a deep breath of SEO reality.
High PR sites are still authoritative to Google!! Sure it’s not the end all be all metric, but it’s quick and dirty and it works. Usually a dofollow link from a PR 6 site is valuable. And some natural social bookmarks make sense right? So don’t go crazy on them hitting every pligg site on this side of the web spam rainbow, be selective and push for quality on tier 1.
Ok so now I’ve gone on a rant about social bookmarks, but the same applies for the other above mentioned link types. Quality sites, quality outputs, dofollow links, good times. Simple as that.
And notice I didn’t mention forum profiles and other equally shitty link types? Because they’re shit and don’t make a quality tier 1 link.
I also have a feeling that many people will want me to put a number to the dofollow vs nofollow and high PR vs 0/NA on tier 1 dilemma. So I’ll save this post the comments.
You always need a natural mix, and the same holds true for the PR spread of your tier 1 links. 300 links all on PR 3+ domains might look a bit strange right? So we need to mix in some lower PR, PR 0, and PR na domains in the link profile.
Just like the social bookmark example, since I promised a number, I will recommend 60%.
60% of your tier 1 links aim for high PR sites and the other 40% mix it up.
Now the dofollow % is a bit more of a loaded question. Because this can vary greatly. I’ve seen pages rank with shit tons of nofollow links just fine, which I have no explanation for other then nofollow links pass substantial juice.
The thing is we are trying to emulate a natural backlink profile, which will always contain a natural mix of dofollow and nofollow links. Once again though, since I promised to stick a number on it, here it is.
30%, don’t let your nofollow ratio fall under 30%. And don’t let it exceed 70%.
Ok so now that we have that briefly covered we can move on, it didn’t seem right to throw out a bunch of link quantities and other numbers without some explanation, so there you have it.
We now have the following variable cost inputs, a full time spinner at $125 per week producing 12 spinners and 6 sets of titles and descriptions sets the cost.
Price per spun article – $9
Price per spun title and description – $2
3 spun articles – $27
2 sets of titles and descriptions – $6
Hours to prepare and input data – 3 hours at $5 per hour (adjust this as needed)
Total variable cost per campaign – $33
Total labor cost per campaign – $15
With this setup, you’ll get about 300 tier 1 links if you push each spinner to 75 outputs and each title and description set to 40 outputs.
Use The Best Spinner generate and compare function to get a gauge for how far your spinners will go. Obviously push for as much uniqueness as possible but you can not go past the point where uniqueness is severely compromised, this will result in diminishing returns.
[Image: generate-and-compare.png]
So there you have it, with a VA setting up the campaign, you can get it done for under $50 a pop, and trust me, this beats any BHW or Wickedfire package you’ll ever find.
Since with those you’ll be paying more for someone to run the same software and post to crappy sites with terribly spun content pushed for way too many outputs. The ability to control content, anchor text, and target sites makes or breaks these campaigns, so it’s DIY or nothing.
Final Thoughts
This post started as me just jotting down a few numbers to cost out some link building systems but wound up turning into something else. Almost like a black hat SEO business proposal without the potential profitability section. Since the potential profitability heavily depends on the way we are building sites and the vertical you’re going after, this section is up to you.
If you have a stacked portfolio of aged domains and an endless untapped niche to dominate, get the ball rolling asap. If you just plan on farting around with some YouTube videos made by the cutest girl you can find on Fiverr, starting small makes sense.
You don’t go buying 5 servers and hiring a small village in the Philippines without a solid model for extracting profit on an ongoing basis. I have mentioned before that I am heavily in the coupon SEO vertical and this has allowed me to focus on creating


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with the sole purpose of ranking and banking. But there is way more to it than that, finding the right partners, how to construct decent sites, parasite models, managing and updating, etc. all play a crucial role.
So remember, you could have the ultimate rank station but if you haven’t backed it up with a profitable affiliate, lead gen, or solid client model, you’re fucked.
Referenced tools and Prices
Tier 1, 2, and 3


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One Time Price: $397 Monthly Price: $47


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One Time Price: $99 Monthly Price: NA


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One Time Price: NA Monthly Price: $14.95


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One Time Price: $57 Monthly Price: NA


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One Time Price: NA Monthly Price: $47/$67/$97
Content Creation


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One Time Price: NA Monthly Price: $37


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One Time Price: NA Monthly Price: $49.95


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One Time Price: NA Monthly Price: $6.42 (billed $77 yearly)
Hosting


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Monthly Price: $50/$80/$90 per server
Proxies


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Monthly Price: Between $1.30-$2.40 per private proxy depending on quantity.
Captchas


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One Time Price: $147


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Per 10k captchas: $13.90


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Per 10k captchas: $13
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