Episode 142 | Posted on

A Peek into the World of PBNs and Grey Hat SEO with Matt Diggity

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Don’t miss SEO expert @mattdiggityseo on the next Marketing Speak. We talk about different link methods from white hat to grey hat. Click To Tweet

This Week’s Guest:

Given my client list, I operate strictly in the realm of white hat SEO. And it works incredibly well, with fantastic ROI. That said, black hat and grey hat SEOs have incredibly interesting and often valuable insights to share. In this episode, we’ll visit the darker side of SEO. While we won’t focus on the darkest of black hat tactics, we’ll definitely explore some of the greyer shades.


Matt Diggity points out that whether you’re white hat, grey hat, or black hat is all in the eye of the beholder. With that said, he freely admits that he uses grey hat tactics and has even had some black hat tendencies (although not with his clients). Matt is prolifically successful online; he’s the founder of Diggity Marketing, LeadSpring, Authority Builders Co., The Search Initiative, and the Chiang Mai SEO Conference. He’s also a trainer at The Lab.

Find Out More About Matt Here:

Diggity Marketing
@mattdiggityseo on Twitter
Matt Diggity on YouTube
Matt Diggity on LinkedIn

In This Episode:

  • [01:01] – The conversation starts off in an unusual way: with a discussion of Matt’s last name. “Diggity” is a pen name, he explains, and talks about where he came up with it.
  • [02:45] – Matt talks about how he got to know Alex Becker.
  • [04:05] – We learn that Matt considers white hat, black hat, and grey hat to be all in the eye of the beholder. He also describes his history in black hat, grey hat, and white hat SEO.
  • [07:41] – Is Matt considered a super-affiliate?
  • [11:21] – Matt talks about whether he still does spun content. He then walks listeners through what spun content is and how it works.
  • [13:31] – We learn about what works (and doesn’t work) with PBNs, as well as what PBNs are.
  • [18:38] – Matt explains what dropcatch is.
  • [21:41] – We hear Matt’s thoughts on not changing all the Whois information at once.
  • [23:31] – How big of a team does Matt have on the grey hat side?
  • [24:58] – Matt talks about what he does if a network or important site gets taken down, and explores the disavow process.
  • [29:58] – We hear more about Matt’s use of Pitchbox.
  • [33:48] – Matt has only had one manual action in his life, but tells the story of someone else who has always been able to recover from manual penalties.
  • [35:25] – What does Matt do when he’s trying to get a high-trust link?
  • [39:59] – Matt and Stephan share their thoughts on the debate between white hats and black hats in the SEO industry.
  • [43:04] – Matt defines negative SEO and talks about how it functions.
  • [47:54] – There’s a lot of bad stuff that goes on, Matt points out, and is hesitant to go into details in case some unscrupulous listeners might get bad ideas.
  • [49:03] – What are the techniques Matt uses for obscuring his footprint to Google?
  • [52:14] – Matt asserts that PBNs make a lot of sense in the beginning of a website.
  • [53:57] – Where can people learn more about Matt, or learn from him?

Links and Resources:

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

☑ Remember to stick to white hat SEO strategies when working with clients and with sites of which you would hate to damage the reputation. A thoughtful risk versus reward assessment is always required before venturing into the black hat or grey hat territory.

☑ Familiarize myself with the SEO tactics that are considered grey hat or black hat by Google’s standards. Understand the differences between white hat and black/grey

☑ Steer clear of black hat SEO such as hacking, malware, and link injections. Aside from the risk of having all my rankings removed, many are considered criminal activities.

☑ Check for manual penalties (under “Manual Actions” in Google Search Console). Address them whenever I get a notification on my Google Search Console.

☑ Become an affiliate and earn extra money on the side and use those sites to experiment with, rather than client sites.

☑ Don’t rely on PBNs as the strategy to build authoritative backlinks to improve my site rankings on Google SERPs. Build links sustainably.

☑ Make sure that sites with previous owners have clean backlinks and no penalties before I purchase and repurpose a used domain.

☑ Publish unique, high-quality content. Don’t “spin” articles to use as SEO fodder.

☑ Become a contributor on high-authority blogs to achieve valuable links. Reach out to credible sites and online influencers with the help of outreach tools like Pitchbox.

☑ Stay on top of the latest Google updates to avoid algorithmic penalties and outdated SEO strategies.


S: White hat, black hat, grey hat, tin foil hat, in this episode number 142, we’re going to visit the dark side of SEO. Well, at least the greyer shades of SEO, not 50 shades, but it’s going to be a fun episode. Our guest today is Matt Diggity. He’s the founder of diggitymarketing.com, LeadSpring LLC, Authority Builders, and the Chiang Mai SEO Conference. He’s also a trainer at the Lab. Matt, it’s great to have you on the show.


M: It’s a pleasure to be here. Thanks a lot, Stephan.


S: Let’s talk about, first of all, your last name. Is it Diggity or is it Elmore?


M: Surprise, yeah it’s pseudonym. My real last name is just something I keep aside and I got this pen name that I use for SEO.


S: Right. So you picked Diggity because of what? What inspired that? I want to hear it.


M: It’s a funny story.


S: I want to hear it.


M: Remember the days when SEO forums were the place to hang out? Now it’s all Facebook. I was on the forum, Source Infinitum, Alex Becker’s forum and that was a place you hangout around 2012, something like that, and it was a paid forum. I believe at one point, I canceled my membership, or something like that, and I just wanted to fire it up again but the screen name that I used, which was just my first name and my last name, was taken, or not taken but it was already an account and I couldn’t fire it up again. So I was just like, “All right I got to make a new screen name and at the time I was listening to No Diggity, so it just became Matt Diggity.” I’m on the forums for a while and then people were just saying, “You know there has a ring to it. Why don’t you just stick with that? Why don’t you just make that your brand,” and I was like, “Okay, why not?” and that’s how the cookie crumbles.


S: That’s awesome and what year was that?


M: I want to say 2012, 2013, something like that.

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