You have been conned. All those people with hundreds of social media followers, thousands of links to their websites or all those blog comments have quite simply paid for those followers, links and comments. Sure there are a few honest and ethical people out there who haven’t used these nefarious means to pretend they’re popular. There is a massive underground industry that you may well not know about that will help you appear far more popular than you are and even celebrities and other ‘popular’ figures use them.
Here is your quick guide to buy your way to popularity. If you use a so called SEO agency that promises any firm results, then you’re already using the techniques below. Read on however as you’ll begin to understand just how bad this will be for your SEO in the long run as it is really simple for Google and Bing to detect these nefarious SEO and popularity shenanigans.
The top 3 SEO and Social Media cons
First off, let’s learn about three of the most popular ways that are used to influence the opinion of website visitors and even Search Engines.
Buy Facebook or Linkedin Followers
You’ve probably watched TV where there is obviously canned laughter; the activity just isn’t funny but canned laughter is added which has the effect of making viewers laugh and perceive that the activity is humorous. Social proof on website works the same way where perceived popularity influences the website visitor to make an incorrect assumption about the content or author. Having a large number of social media friends or followers is a great way to make people believe that we are popular when we may well not be.
You may have been onto a website and seen that the person has thousands of Facebook friends. A natural response to seeing large numbers of social media followers is to assume that the person with the followers must be influential or some sort of expert. Unfortunately the truth is probably far more sinister; the author may well have paid just a few dollars for all their followers.
Yes, many of those hundreds of Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest etc. followers don’t really exist and have been created by software.
Get 1,000 website links
Back in the very old days of SEO it was all about links (also called backlinks). In fact Backrub, the precursor to Google, based almost exclusive emphasis on interlinks between websites. The days of links holding value purely because they are links were well and truly gone many years back. Hyperlinks linking to a site still have value however the Google, Bing/Yahoo and other search engine algorithms now calculate a score per link based on the reputation of the website on which the hyperlink is placed and many other link analytics. What this means is that if there are lots of hyperlinks linking to your website from many websites that are very low quality (or worse still, websites that distribute badware) then this will actually negatively affect the ranking of your website.
Even although SEO has moved on significantly purely from a count of links coming in to a website, many SEO services still market the number of links they’ll provide to your website. The problem of course is that buying these links will probably make your website SEO worse. Google and Bing have many articles warning of the dangers of these link farms and blackhat SEO techniques; in short, your website will suffer if you let your SEO guru sell you a large number of backlinks.
Get hundreds of blog comments
Getting people to comment on your blog posts isn’t simple. In general people do no leave comments. I’ve worked on hundreds of WordPress blogs for clients and there are various things that encourage more comments (such as allowing people to authenticate themselves to leave comments on your WordPress blog using their Twitter or Facebook login details) however it remains difficult, especially when starting out, to have people leave comments.
So how do many of the Websites you see have so many comments? Well, popular blogs such as those on CNN (which are powered by WordPress), naturally attract lots of genuine comments. If you are seeing lots of comments on poorly written or unoriginal posts then chances are that the comments have been purchased. Yes, just like Facebook friends can be purchased for a low cost, so can comments on your blog.
Similar to the sales pitch by so called SEO experts of backlinks, so these SEO snake-oil salesmen sell comments and assure unsuspecting customers that comments on their blog will improve SEO rankings (because ‘if there are lots of comments then surely Google and Bing will see that people like the content’ … lol).
The software used to automate SEO and Social Media
Just how can these SEO con-artists deliver thousands of followers, links or comments for such a low price such as $100? Because it costs the SEO scam-artists probably a cent or less per friend, link or comment. Your SEO consultant who is promising you the world is using some common, albeit expensive software, that automates the process of creating the links or whatever else you were promised. Even ‘though the software may be relatively expensive, when economies of scale are considered (and your SEO guru probably has thousands of clients at a time), the cost per client is next to nothing and the profits are substantial.
One of the most widely used and powerful software available to automate SEO tasks is called Ubot Studio. Ubot Studio is really impressive software and has genuine non-blackhat applications such as for web research. SEO con-artists however have discovered the potential of this software to automate creating multiple social media accounts or liking a website page thousands of times in a short space of time. The possibilities of Ubot Studio are remarkable and your SEO company is using this software to destroy your SEO (whilst promising that they will improve your SEO).
Why blackhat doesn’t work
At the end of the day, please do not fall into the trap of believing these mass market SEO scammers that will make a fortune out of you while your website suffers the consequences of being seen to be using blackhat techniques. Google, Bing and other significant search engines know exactly what to look for to determine if your site has taken advantage of link building schemes, fake social media followers or other dubious SEO tactics. The search engines absolutely will eventually figure out what your so called SEO guru has done and it will be next to impossible to get your website to be reputable once more.
The basics of SEO are well known and I see so many websites that could be doing more such as using pretty permalinks, using alt text of images correctly and so on. Doing the basics properly is so important and will help your SEO. Please don’t fall for the false promises of SEO ‘experts’ that will hurt your SEO.