Jeff Deutsch

Neil Patel

Jeff Deutsch: Growth Marketer: “Why & How I Gave Up the Spam Diet (the Opposite of Long-Lasting Marketing)”

Jeff Deutsch originally made $$$$ as a black hat marketer. Eventually, he flipped the script, came to the light, and grew a legit business as a power-player growth marketer. Today he spends his time building and leading marketing teams, guiding tech companies to mega-growth with digital marketing, and blogging about what he knows. 

Jeff’s Original Story: “Why & How I Gave Up the Spam Diet (the Opposite of Long-Lasting Marketing)”

I wasn’t always an inbound marketer. I didn’t always abide by the principle of ‘Content is king’ or the idea that providing value to users is the end-all, be-all.

In fact, back when it was much easier + extremely profitable to spam Google search, I was a spammer.

You read that right. I was the ‘author’ of ‘content’ that looked like this:


A sentence like ‘Regardless old 85% people report experiencing tired in due course’ wasn’t going to help a single living soul on earth. But, back then, I didn’t understand the point of inbound marketing. As long as I could make fast, easy money using black hat SEO, as long as I could game the system and get my clients to #1 for their keywords without batting an eye, why would I care?

Funnily, I never saw myself as the villain in this scenario. I saw myself as championing the ‘little guy’ against big, bad, all-powerful Google, an evil empire forcing people to buy into pay-per-click ads just to make a dent in the top 10.

Meanwhile, as my spammer tactics racked up dollar signs, I was living a largely empty, dull existence. I barely worked. I spent my days mostly playing with my young son, playing basketball, or BS-ing with my spammer buddies on the internet. I had a private chef and a nanny. I was living a dream – or was I?

Deep down, I knew that I was the villain. Deep down, I had secret visions of running a business model that was, well, legit. And, of course, eventually the spamming and link-buying all came crashing down.

 A few pivotal things happened:

Google located and started destroying our ALN (Authority Link Network) service. Participating sites started getting de-indexed.

My partner and I attended the LinkLove 2012 conference, still puffed-up with arrogance despite what was happening. While there, it became clear how the just-gaining-legs inbound marketing industry viewed what we were doing: We were outcasts and outliers. Case in point – Rand Fishkin, who was a big player in SEO back then, too, kicked off the entire conference with a presentation called, I kid you not, ‘F#$%! Link Building.’


Like a wounded animal, I became more aggressively angry about it all, even as the months rolled past and more and more of my clients’ sites were de-indexed, and my SEO spamming ways were ground into the dirt.

My business was ruined, but I thought I could pivot. I bought into more link schemes – fruitlessly. Google’s mega-updates, Panda and Penguin, were the nails in the spammer’s coffin.

Defeated, purposeless, with my anxiety at an all-time high, I spent 18 months chasing dead-ends… Until…

I gave up. I straightened out. I gave inbound a chance. I became ‘legit.’ Now, I’m a growth expert for the tech industry. I’ve helped four straight tech companies grow by over 5x year-on-year. I work with big marketing budgets, but now my techniques involve SEO, blogging, paid social media, and search engine marketing. It’s a mix of inbound and outbound, but the mission is always value first.

And now I understand what all the hype is about. It took me a long time to come around, but take it from me: Change is good. Change can change your life.

Find more from Jeff Deutsch at jgdeutsch.com.