When it comes to doing blackhat SEO, one thing you'll find yourself needing time & time again, is a good footprint. Whether it be so you can spam a certain type of site, want to check out your competition or are just in need of a certain type of search result, you're going to need a footprint. Before I go any further, like any good book does, I'm going to wet your appetite with a good intro. To do that, I'm going to share one of the coolest footprints I've ever made that you've likely needed at one point but didn't know you could do...a footprint that will only return results that have YOUR keyword/keyword phrase IN THE DOMAIN of the URL. Since Google doesn't have an "indomain" operator (though in my opinion they should), you need to do this: Code: inurl:"http:// *keyword* .com/" Now, just so you can see how it works, just copy and paste that (without replacing "keyword" with something else) into Google and click search...and now you have every domain that has the word "keyword" in the root domain... Now imagine replacing keyword with a keyword related to your niche...could you think of a better laser targeted footprint for gathering sites related to yours to do link exchanges with? Probably not. Now to get out some frustration I see CRAPPY footprints being thrown around all the time, even in eBooks that you can buy. For instance, if you want to gather WordPress URLs that you can comment on, "powered by wordpress" is NOT a good footprint. For one, it is going to return sites that aren't even blogs, but rather sites that talk about how "powered by wordpress" is used to gather blog sites. Just as an example, in just a couple of hours, THIS THREAD will be returned in the search results of people searching "powered by wordpress"...see what I'm saying? So, what is a good footprint? A great footprint, is one that returns the largest amount of results that are EXACTLY what you're looking for in the shortest period of time, without having to filter results afterwards. If you gather wordpress blogs using the footprint "powered by wordpress" and then try to comment on them, you're going to have an abysmal success rate. You'll need to filter your results first...by why do that? A good footprint is making GOOGLE filter your results...that is what a search engine is supposed to do afterall isn't it? So how do you create a good footprint? While this may seem like common sense, a lot of people forget the first step in creating a good footprint, and that is to TRULY define what it is you want as your end result. If you say to yourself, "I need wordpress blogs" that isn't defined enough. Why do you want wordpress blogs? Is it to comment on them? If so, then what you REALLY want, are the BLOG POSTS of wordpress blogs (afterall, you can't comment on RSS feeds, tag pages, or sitemaps now can you?). But even then, that isn't defined well enough either. Plenty of blogs out there have comments closed, so you need to FURTHER define what you want...and that is "WordPress blog posts that have comments open". Now that you know EXACTLY what you're looking for, you need to create a footprint that finds them. First step in doing this, is visiting a couple of blogs, locating their blog post pages, looking them over, and finding a common denominator...that is, something that appears on every page of their blog posts. This is where you'll start gaining some traction in putting together your footprint. Open up notepad, and type 3 or 4 things that you find on every wordpress blog post page that has comments open. Things like: Name, Email, Website, Comment, Leave a Reply, Submit Comment, etc. Now it doesn't always have to be something on the page, it could be something in the URL that is always a common denominator (in WordPress blog post pages, this isn't the case, but for other things it may be). Once you've got some things written in notepad, visit another blog and check to see if the things you've written appear on that page as well, if only a couple do, remove the things that don't and then visit another and another. Now that you've got your common denominators written down, you come to the point of actually creating the footprint. To do that, you'll need to know what "boolean operators" are. What is a a "Boolean Operator"? I'm not going to go too in depth here, as there are far better write ups about operators than I could write here. An excellent one to read is located here. The basic definition of a boolean operator is this: Boolean operators define the relationships between words or groups of words. To go over just a few: Putting something in quotes, like this "apples and oranges" will return only search results that have apples and oranges as that exact phrase, appearing somewhere on the page. Use of the word AND (all in caps), like this apples AND oranges will return only search results that have the word apples and the word oranges somewhere on the page, but not necessarily together. In other words, it says it has to have BOTH of the words you've typed. Use of the word OR (all in caps), like this apples OR oranges will return only search results that have either the word apples or the word oranges or both, on the page. Use of the * symbol. The * is treated as a wildcard (my favorite operator). You use this in conjunction with other operators or by itself. One use of it might be "submitted on 2010-01-*" which will return pages that have had things submitted in either the month of January or the first day of any month of the year. How do you use boolean operators to FINALLY create your footprint? Well, as you probably discovered when looking over page after page of the types of pages you want to collect, there a lot of things that are common amongst them, but with minute differences. Going back to the wordpress example, you might have found that Name Email Leave a Reply Comment Submit Comment appear on a lot of the pages, but some have minor differences like: Name Mail or Email or E-Mail Leave a Comment or Leave a Reply or Leave a Response Submit Comment or Submit or Post Comment So what do you do to create the footprint? Well, you use the things that are common along with a little boolean operator magic to create something like: "name" AND "*mail" AND "Leave a *" AND "Comment" AND "* Comment" Lets break that down: "name" <- guarantees that name appears on the page somewhere "*mail" <- guarantees that email or e-mail or email or mail appears on the page somewhere. "leave a *" <- guarantees that leave a reply or leave a comment appears on the page somewhere. "comment" <- guarantees that comment appears on the page somewhere. "* comment" <- guarantees that post comment or leave comment or submit comment appears on the page somewhere. The use of the word AND (all in caps) between all of those <- guarantees that ALL of the above ALL appear on the page somewhere. All of the above is HOW you create a FANTASTIC Footprint. Now the next time you see somebody ask "what's a footprint for X?" or "what is a footprint?" or "how do I make a footprint for X?", you've got a nice solid thread to refer them too.