David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

Tips for better SEO (search engine optimization) and website marketing …

THE HAPPY GUY MARKETING

 

Archive for the ‘SEO scams’ Category

Creative Link-building Email Spam

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

I get my share of emails requesting links.  I do consider those that look realistic and worthwhile, but that is very few.

But none compare with an email that was sent to Tom over at Canadian Finance Blog. *

Hello Tom and greetings from New York and Mrs. Fowler’s 4th grade class!

I hope it’s ok that I’m contacting you directly! My class is currently working on special unit on Money and Finance and as part of an assignment, the kids had to go out and find an educational website/article(s) on a related topic of their choice, along with a list of websites to share them with. My job of emailing their lists is quite the task as you can imagine…

canadianfinanceblog.com was on one of the students’ lists (Amy) and her suggestion for you can be seen below:

“All About Money”
http://www.mycoupons.com/store/all-about-money/

Her suggestion is to add this resource to your links page
(http://canadianfinanceblog.com/friday-links-84/) so that others may benefit from it and learn something new. Some sort of prize or extra credit will be given to those students with the most implemented suggestions to reward them for their hard work!

Thank you for considering playing a role in our project, and please let us know if you post the link :)

Have a great day!

Mrs. Nancy Fowler (and Amy Byrk)
Harrison Wing A – Rm 322
“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.” -Jesse Jackson

OK, Mrs.  Fowler.  So your class project is to spam bloggers on behalf of MyCoupons.com?  Yeah, right.

This gets the award for most creative link-building. Creative is good; dirty, rotten, sticking, liar is less good.  I wonder whether there is anybody out there gullible enough to be fooled by this.

* I have disabled the spammer’s link in her letter.  Otherwise, I have left it untouched

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

SEO FAQ – Answers to your SEO questions

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

I don’t usually participate in memes, but this SEO FAQ meme interests me… and I hope it will interest you.  By way of introduction this SEO FAQ: 30+ SEO questions you always wanted an answer to was started by Berlin-based SEO specialist, Tad Chef.  He has challenged at least 10 other SEO specialists to create FAQs that will outrank “fake” SEO FAQs for the search term SEO FAQ.

 

So without further ado, here are the 31 questions he proposed, with my answers inserted:

 

  1. What does SEO stand for? Usually it stands for Search Engine Optimization, but it is often used also for Search Engine Optimizer.  This can get somewhat confusing – an SEO who practices SEO – so I prefer to call SEOs “SEO specialists”.  (Not “SEO experts”, but that’s another rant for another day.)
  2.  

  3. What is SEO? I define SEO as the combination of steps that lead to improved (higher) rankings in the search engines’ organic (non-paid) listings.
  4.  

  5. Is SEO spam, bullshit, dead etc.? No, but if you expect it to be science, you will likely think it is all of the above.  SEO is much more sport than science – multiple players competing for specific, limited rankings for each keyword.  Think about all the goes into a sports champion – drive, training, strength, agility, equipment, discipline, player size, nutrition, coaching, funding, concentration, massage therapy…  Neither the team that wins the Stanley Cup nor the athlete who brings home the gold medal for diving is tops for all these factors.  The champion is the one that assembles the best combination.  No matter how well you and your competitors do SEO, there will always be ten websites in the top ten.  No matter how poorly  you and your competitors do SEO, there will always be ten websites in the top ten.   Somebody will always be tops – in tennis, in boxing, in bowling and in SEO; you just have to be better than each of your opponents.  
  6.  bikebowling

    SEO is a sport.  Just like bowling, only less dangerous.

  7. Why aren’t we #1 or on page 1 at Google? Because somebody else is.  Read the answer to Question #3 above.
  8.  

  9. Why am I on #1 all the time but when my wife searches for me she doesn’t find me? Often people searching from different computers are sending different geographic data to the search engines (such as a different location for a person’s home and workplace ISP).  Or there are elements of personal search enabled.  Or your wife lives in a different time zone.
  10.  

  11. When will we see results? You start a new softball team with all rookies, no equipment, no training, no funding, no discipline, no muscles and no massage therapist.  Then you hire an experienced coach (an SEO specialist).  How long does it take to win the championship?  I have found many clients want to know exactly when they will achieve a certain position, and then they will own it.  Just as the team that stops playing baseball will fall in the standings, so too the website that stops doing SEO will fall in the rankings.
  12.  

  13. Can we rank for iPhones? Yes.  You can rank at least 2,112,888 for iphones at most search engines with very little effort.  If you want to rank #1 for iphones, you will need:
  14.  

    - lots of money

    - lots of time

    - lots of strategy

     

    Why?  Please read the answer to Question #3 again.

     

  15. Can we rank for everything (huge list of keywords)? Yes, some countries take home Olympic medals in a wide variety of sports.  But most countries take home medals in just a few sports where they have chosen to concentrate.  In the land of Internet, deciding how big a country you are – or can realistically be – is an important strategic decision.  Indeed, if you hire an SEO specialist, he should be able to help you make that call.  Just remember, the more searches you want to rank for, and the more competitive those searches are, the deeper pockets you will need.
  16.  

  17. How much does SEO cost?  How much does a baseball coach cost?  The little league team down by the park pays their coach with a big High Five after every game.  Rumor has it the New York Mets pay theirs slightly more.  It all depends on what you are competing against, how determined or entrenched your competitors are, and how good an SEO specialist you wish to hire.
  18.  

  19. Why is SEO so expensive? It’s not.  SEO is an investment that earns you money.  But if you plan to invest just $200/month in SEO, don’t expect to see any ROI during your lifetime.
  20.  

  21. How long does it take to get indexed by Google? Just a few minutes, but really the practical answer is that it doesn’t matter.
  22.  

  23. How to submit my new site to Google/Bing/Yahoo etc.?  I can’t answer any better than Tad did in the original meme post: “You don’t submit sites to search engines these days. You link to them from already indexed sites, you ping them via blog posts and or you submit an XML sitemap.”
  24.  

  25. How do I submit to 1000 search engines? By allowing yourself to get sucked in by a scammer.  It’s actually quite easy, and really quite painless because they only fleece you for a small amount and you learn such a valuable lesson.
  26.  

  27. Do I need an XML sitemap? Most sites do not.  Generally, only sites with thousands of pages spread multiple levels deep really need them.
  28.  

  29. Do I need meta tags for SEO? Meta tags have nothing to do with SEO, unless you need to instruct the search engines not to index or to follow a certain page (which is better done via a robots.txt file). Meta tags are still a good idea  (to increase click-through rates, to get listed in some directories, etc.), but they are not a requirement for SEO.
  30.  

  31. Do I need a high PageRank for SEO? The tighter the competition for your searches, the more important every factor is, including a high PageRank and the size of your site (I added site size for the benefit of visitors from Question 27).  Please reread the answer to Question #3. PageRank is one factor, probably a fairly important one, but there are many others that are extremely important, too.  (Related post on why PR0 links are sometimes worthwhile)
  32.  

  33. What is linkbait? It is any content you put on your site in the hopes that some other websites will link to it.  Interesting history about this.  The proper name for it is “magnetic content”, a name I gave to it before someone more famous than me started calling it link-bait and now I won’t get the movie rights.
  34.  

  35. Can’t my niece who is a graphic designer do the SEO? Absolutely.  Why just last week I asked my brother-in-law, the plumber, to flush out my arteries.
  36.  

  37. Can’t my nephew who is a web developer do the SEO? Absolutely.  Why just last week I asked my brother-in-law, the plumber, to flush out my arteries.
  38.  

  39. Can my son-in-law who is a Perl, Java and C programmer do my SEO? You really are not getting this, right?  SEO is a specialty that requires both planning in advance and judgment calls on the fly.  I have seen situations where any of these people have made unfortunate judgment calls that have gotten websites banned from Google or Yahoo because they thought they knew SEO (In fact, they did know SEO, or at least 20% or 30% of it, and a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.).
  40.  

  41. Why should I outsource my SEO? It’s pretty much a full-time job to keep up on the changing landscape of the web.  Outsourcing or having a dedicated in-house team are your best two options.
  42.  

  43. Can’t I just use WordPress plus plugins for SEO? Can’t I just buy good hockey equipment for my team?  Please, please reread Question #3..
  44.  

  45. Does Google hate SEO?  I like Tad’s answer in the original meme post, so this is what he said: “No, Google even offers SEO advice and a plethora of SEO tools itself. It’s an ages old myth that Google fight SEOs. In fact the Google employees and SEO practitioners speak at the same conferences and work together as business partners. Most SEO companies are big clients of Google as they also buy PPC ads from Google.”
  46.  

  47. Does SEO mean optimization for search engines spiders not humans? First, what Tad said: “Some people still assume that SEO is used to please search bots only. Most reputable SEO experts advocate search engine optimization for users.” Next, let me add that an important part of SEO these days is drumming up interest in your content so that you get talked about on blogs and in social media (and in offline media).  While speaking to the search engines’ algorithms is crucial, you ignore human beings at your peril.  You might also want to refer to my SEO thesaurus post.
  48.  

  49. Is buying links, hidden text, IP delivery etc. black hat SEO? I consider them all black hat, except buying links.  I very rarely recommend purchasing a link, partly because the “purchase” is in fact a rental.  And partly because the search engines frown on it, which is a bone I have to pick with the search engines (but that’s another rant for another day).
  50.  

  51. Is black hat SEO legal? Yes.  So are evil-looking smiles and teensy-weensy fine print.  I don’t practice black hat SEO because I value my clients’ long-term welfare, but it’s not illegal.
  52.  

  53. Does site size matter? Yes.  See the answer to Question 16 for elaboration.
  54.  

  55. Do domain extensions (top level domains  like .com, co.uk) matter? For the most part, I do not believe TLDs make a difference.  But if your business targets the clientele of a certain country, they do.  I have a number of Canadian clients, and having a .ca TLD makes a big difference ranking at Google.ca .  TLD matters even more for increasing your click-through rate. If you plan to serve Hungarians, you had better have a .hu TLD, or you won’t get anyone to even click on your site.  In Latin America, .com often says “impressive and credible International website”; in Europe .com often says ‘Yuck, an American site.”
  56.  

  57. Do nofollow links count? Yes, they count less than DoFollow links because they don’t pass on PageRank.  PageRank is something, but it is not everything.  Please refer to the answer to Question 16 and also to this NoFollow/DoFollow post.
  58.  

  59. Do you offer PageRank optimization, search engine submission, meta tag optimization? No.  Why not re-read the answer to Question 13?
  60.  

  61. Is blog commenting for SEO spam? This has been debated widely and bloggers are all over the map on this.  On my blog, I look almost exclusively at the quality of the comment and what it adds to the conversation.  Only if the comment is borderline will I consider whether the name makes the comment spammyish or not (So John Block has a better chance of having his comment approved than John the Florida Villas Guy, but if he makes a really great contribution to the discussion, John the Florida Villas Guy is welcome here) .

 

One final note…if others in this meme wish to link to this page, please do so and let me know, so I can also link back to your answers and connect the meme participants.  SEO is not a science, so there are certainly many items where different specialists will offer different strategies and therefore different answers to a number of these questions.

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

Want a link on a throw-away domain?

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

A while back, I wrote about why to ignore three-way link requests.  Many of the reasons I listed had to do with the quality of the site linking back to you.  But what if it’s a PR3 home page.  Sounds like a juicy link to score, doesn’t it?  Well, maybe not.  I don’t want to pick on one domain or another, but I need an example, so the one that came in today will do.  In the words of the link-exchanger:

Mate its PR 3 schoolsprepared.org
 
Check it again..not throwaway… :-(

There are so many domains like this, and while a link from that page might not carry zero value, it’s caveat emptor.  Here are seven reasons why this is not a ” Wow! A PR3 home-page link!”

The domain will get dumped.Like so many others, this domain used to be a real website, but no longer. One glance at it with naked eyes shows that it was nicely set up and had a purpose. It accumulated a PageRank of 3, which means it was somewhat active on the Internet. And like so many others, the owners bailed out and sold the domain to someone who thought a PR3 website would be great for three-way link exchanges. So what happens once the site is “used up”? Once it is so stuffed with links that it is no longer useful for attracting link-exchanges, what do you think will happen to that website (and your link on it)? Come on, be honest, do you really trust that they will continue to maintain the website?

The page will fail to keep up. Let’s suppose they do maintain the website, honestly remaining committed to protecting the link they posted to your website, as promised. How long will the page remain PR3. Remember, PageRank is relative; as the total number of web pages and the total number of links on the Internet increase, so too does the link juice required to maintain a given PageRank. But the owners are not building links to this site; they are building links to another site.

The page will not attract new links. The eyeball test tells you this is a link farm. Even if it isn’t technically a link farm, it looks like one on first glance. Nobody will want to link to it. No bloggers. No industry sites. Nobody. The owner could be less careless and format the links nicely. But, as with most such situations, the owners did not.

The page will suffer link attrition. OK, let’s take this one step further. Over time, all websites suffer from link-attrition. That is to say, links die every day (websites close down, links pages are cleaned up, links get pushed deeper and deeper on directory pages, etc.), and links pointing to the page your link is on will die. In the case of a website that looks cheap like this, it stand to suffer accelerated attrition, as some websites linking to it will remove their links when they realize what they are now linking to.

No targeted traffic. As Yura Filimonov pointed out to me, sites like this won’t deliver targeted traffic.  Anyone who lands on such a page will quickly see that it is useless and back out the door.  Of course many links don’t deliver much traffic, but one of the benefits expected from a home page link is some targeted traffic.

PageRank will be diluted. Eventually there will be dozens, maybe hundreds of links on the page. The PR from PR3 (what’s left of it) will be diluted before the domain gets recycled, is dumped or simply disappears.

You are not fooling the search engines. If I can see with a glance that this is a flipped website turned link farm, do you really believe that Google and Yahoo are being fooled? Please, don’t flatter me; I know they are smarter than I am.

“So, OK, David…would my link on a page like this place my website at risk?” you ask.

I doubt it.  If you have 100 inbound links and 80 of them are from home page link farms, that might throw up a pretty big red flag.  But if you have a dozen links on silly pages like this amongst 500 links of various quality, I can’t imagine it harming your rankings.  Just don’t go jumping for joy thinking you’ve struck gold.  You’ve just found a penny.

Related reading on a humerous note: a spammer link exchange note.

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

Ethical SEO or SEO Spam

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

You cannot always believe what you read, and in SEO you have to be very careful.  Take for instance the good folks at OutsourcingforSEO.com .  They repeatedly spam Zoomit Canada with non-Canadian submissions.  I have deleted several dozen accounts, but they keep creating new ones.  They don’t seem to get the message or they are gluttons for fruitless work.  They also seem to have figured out a hack to add many more tags per submission than the form allows.  One day last month they even created accounts with names like danysulivan8 and leeoden4 and johnbatele4, mimicking the names of high-profile SEO consultants (I know these colleagues to be reputable, but imagine what can happen to their reputations if such accounts are being created elsewhere!).  I suppose they thought I might let their submissions pass if I thought somebody respectable was doing the submitting.

seo-spammer

Of course, this all must be part of their “Ethical SEO Website Traffic Services”, as seen in the screen capture below that I took just before deleting another of their spam posts.

SEO spam to the extreme

I think this is the first time I have ever called out another SEO company. It’s not that I haven’t seen plenty of pure spam and plenty of questionable stuff, too. But it’s a slippery slope and I’m not big on rating other SEO consultants. But these guys are so determined to keep spamming Zoomit Canada, over and over and over and over, that I’ll make an exception. If anybody knows of a spammer award, I would love to have this company submitted.  After that, committed.

The moral of the story is to be very careful who you hire for SEO services.  This company is submitting its client websites, too, exposing them to potential sanctions from the search engines and being banned by other social bookmarking websites, too.  You don’t want a purposeful spammer representing your website.

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

SEO Strategies for government websites

Friday, March 27th, 2009

In times like these, when companies are cutting costs, not many are hiring SEO services.  But governments aren’t cutting back (quite the contrary, but that’s a rant for another time).  I am just putting to bed a major SEO audit of a government website, so I thought I would share with you some of my observations.

 “What?” you ask.  “Why would a government website need SEO?  They don’t compete for business.  They’re an information website, like Wikipedia.”  In fact, government websites do compete in a number of ways and SEO can be a very powerful tool in reaching the right audience. 

This post recommends SEO strategies to address issues that are particularly relevant for government websites – and in some cases any major information portals, such as university or newspaper websites.  I cannot reveal who our client is, but you should know that it is a government agency that operates bilingually with both domestic and foreign audiences.

Governments have certain natural advantages – the search engines like government TLDs (top level domains, such as .gov or .gc.ca), the sites are huge, they are link magnets because they carry so much official information (they are the authority on so many things) and they typically have a high PageRank.  Just to give you an idea, here are a few key stats for the website I have been working on (I wish this blog had stats 10% as good!:

government-seo-stats

But government websites also have some unique challenges.  Here are a two of those challenges, along with strategies to address them:

SEO against the scammers

Any government agency that has the authority to approve or reject something, is a potential target for scammers.  This might apply to:

  • Licenses
  • Permits
  • Grants
  • Jobs
  • Contracts
  • Status (tax status, citizenship status, business category, etc.)
  • Appeals

Scammers will optimize their websites using words like “free” and “guaranteed” and “easy” and other qualifiers that sound like you can somehow get past due process.  Obviously, a government website does not offer “guaranteed grants” or “free mortgages” or “guaranteed immigration” or “easy access”.  But to protect the integrity of its services, the agency must rank above the scammers for those searches.

We found a few instances where there were several scammers ranking for several such searches better than our government client, so recommendations were made to out-SEO the scammers.  In such cases, the government website must rank well not just for things it wants the public to hear, but for things it would just as soon noit discuss.

SEO for proper direction

Given the size of most government websites, there are usually many levels of information.  People might do searches based on very specific or broad criteria.  For instance:

  • There might be a department with several branches. 
  • One of those branches might be in charge of several areas interest. 
  • Within one of those areas of interest there might be a number of programs. 
  • And one of those programs might include local delivery through offices in various locations. 

The bread crumb trail to get to one of these delivery points would look like this:

Home > branch > interest > program > locations > specific location

So information might go five or more levels deep, with multiple branches to each level.  This means that there are many pages with similar wording that could rank for a specific search.  Here are some of the possibilities.

A person seeking a specific item, such as “health card Bottomsville office” would ideally land at the “Bottomsville” office page.  He might also land on the page listing all the locations, including the link to the Bottomsville page.  Or he might land on the health card program page, where he can follow the link to “health card office locations” and with a couple clicks he gets where he wants.  These are all good scenarios.

On the other hand, someone doing a general search – let’s say a person in Sometown searching for “health card information” would ideally land on the program page, where she might find links to “health card fees”, “health card eligibility”,  “health card office locations”, etc.  However, if she lands on the page for the at the “Bottomsville” office page, she might be confused (because she is from Sometown).  If she is clever, she will notice the breadcrumbs and follow them up…but don’t count on her to notice them, nor necessarily to understand their utility.

If the wrong pages are showing up for certain searches (and we found a number of those), the pages need to somehow be unSEOed, and the correct pages need to be better optimized.

Other SEO challenges

There were other SEO challenges that are not unique to government websites.  In this case, we had to track not just domestic searches, but the rankings across a variety of country-specific search engines.  And, given the bilingual nature of the website we had challenges when certain searches were the same in both languages and the English pages were the only ones that were showing up.

And don’t get me started about the restrictions one has working within the prescribed regulations of a government website.

Beyond all these issues, SEO is SEO, and we provided a report based on best practices, competitive intelligence and working within the constraints of what changes this government agency would be able to make.  Doing SEO on a government website is a complex but rewarding project.

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

How not to sell SEO

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

I just have to share this email with you as an example of how not to sell SEO.

Hello and Good Day! OK, so it’s not a bad start.
 
I am [name withheld], SEO Manager

I was surfing through your website and realized that despite having a good design; it was not ranking on any of the search engines for most of the keywords pertaining to your domain. Let’s get one thing straight: the site in question was designed to practce HTML several years ago and certainly does not have a good design. On the other hand, despite a certain amount of neglect over the past couple years, it does retain good rankings for major search terms.
 
I was wondering if you would be interested in getting the SEO done for your website. Did he do any research on me?  Come on!
 
There is a simple equation that is applicable to the online world.
 
Ethical SEO -> Better Traffic -> Higher Sales. Ethical SEO? Spam is ethical? Hopefully that is a big enough clue for the newbiest of newbie website owners to delete this email.
 
We are an ISO Certified, SEMPO registered Online Marketing firm and have over 5 years of working experience. All the techniques used are ethical and proprietary. If this is true, ISO and SEMPO have some explaining to do.
 
In case you require any additional information, it shall be our pleasure to furnish the same.
 
I look forward to your mail.

Basically, this was a bulk mail sent to a mailing list scraped somewhere on the Web. Given that SEO is more like a sport than a science, every website needs its own custom approach. A cookie-cutter email will not make the sale, because it will never address the particulars of my website.

Well, maybe it will make the sale in some cases, where the website owner falls for such a pitch. Such is the law of the jungle, I suppose, where the lions pick off the weakest members of the herd and enjoy a tasty dinner. Just make sure you are not the one they pick off.

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

Hidden Text Trick

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Every wonder how that image-only home page can outrank you for some pretty important search terms.  The typical advice you will get on forums and in articles is that it is all in the links – that the high-ranking page has more, better and more relevant links pointing from other web pages. 

But there might be something more sneaky and nefarious going on.  Check the source code.  Are there hundreds of words of text that do not appear on the page?  If so, go back to the page.  Where can they be, you can’t see them and there is no scrollbar to scroll any farther.  You highlight the page to see if any hidden text shows up and all of a sudden the page starts scrolling.  You see plenty of text.  And technically it’s not hidden, but it is tucked away where nobody would think to view, because the webmaster has deactivated the scrollbar.  Pretty sneaky.  But is this hidden text?

Technically, the text is very clearly visible, so it is not technically hidden.  On the other hand, a manual review of this site would reveal that there is spiderable text placed where most visitors would not know how to find.  I am willing to bet that a hidden text penalty would be issued to such a page.   

My advice is to report your competitor to Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask right away.  And don’t even think about doing the same thing…because someone else might report you both! 

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

Reciprocal Linking Versus Triangular Linking

Monday, August 13th, 2007

When emails like this come from amateurs it’s one thing, but when they come from so-called SEO professionals… 

I came across your site ( http://www.seo-writer.com )  whilst searching for potential link partners for a client site I am currently promoting (name withheld to protect her innocent client). My client’s site is thematically relevant to your own without being competitive.

I would be more than happy to offer you a quality one-way link from our site ( name withheld, well, just out of politeness) in return for a one-way link from your site to my client’s site (from a page with a minimum pagerank of 2+). This linking arrangement avoids reciprocal linking which Google has devalued, giving instead a more valuable one-way link.

Google devalued reciprocal linking?  This is news to me.  What Google has devalued is unnatural linking patterns – anything that can be recognized as a plain attempt to fiddle with their rankings.  If all your links are reciprocal, well, that’s a pretty unnatural linking pattern.  On the other hand, if all your links are triangular, that’s an even more unnatural linking pattern.  What’s more, whereas reciprocal linking can be for traffic reasons and/or better search engine rankings, triangular linking is a pretty transparent attempt to control Google’s rankings.   

To sum up, here is how I responded to this so-called SEO: 

That myth about reciprocal linking is certainly getting around.  It’s basically bunk.  If you follow natural linking patterns, Google will love you.  Triangular linking is less natural than reciprocal linking.  Anyway, this particular arrangement doesn’t interest me.

Best of luck.

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

A brand-new SEO scam

Friday, March 9th, 2007

This SEO scam is so new that it hasn’t even begun yet, at least not to my knowledge.  I don’t want to give SEO scammers ideas, but I am 100% certain that this is coming and that there will be many, many, many (did I mention “many”?) unsuspecting webmasters who will fall for it, so let’s for once get the warnings about the scam out there before it begins. 

Google’s new personalized search has already begun, and within months it will start to skew Google’s rankings in two ways.  

First, data Google gathers about how people are searching will certainly start to be factored into the general algorithm.  This means that on-page relevancy and inbound links will have to share the stage with such factors as click-through rates, click-back rates (back to Google from the site), length of visit, number of pages viewed, repeat visits, etc.  In other words, Google will be better able to measure “good” content from trash.  

A whole industry will sprout up to help webmasters take advantage of this, much of it black hat (like click fraud, perhaps?), some white hat, mostly to create more “sticky” content, improve click-through rates and encourage people to “vote” in some way for the site. On the white hat side, TheBookmarketer can help you move ahead right away, as I reported in this post on how to use social bookmarking to a website’s advantage

Second, the data it collects from each individual will be used to present more personalized results to that individual.  Exactly how this will work remains to be seen, as there are many ways that Google has hinted it can factor the information into a person’s individual results.  But one thing is for certain…as soon as SEO scammers get a sense of some of the factors that affect personalized results, the scamming will begin.  Here is exactly what the scammers will do:  

1. The scammer will tell the website owner to sign up for a Google account.  

2. The scammer will tell the webmaster to “visit your website every day” or “visit at least ten pages of your site in succession every day” or “Google bookmark your website” or “do the following ten searches and click on your site from the rankings every day”.  The precise instructions will depend on the factors that most influence personal search.  

3. The scammer will promise that the website owner will see his site move up in the rankings.  And he will see it move up in the rankings.  But only on his computer using his personalized search.  Even if his website shows up as #1 for “broken glass”, none of the broken-glass-buying market might even see his site in their results. 

This scam won’t fool everybody.  It is most likely to work on the little guy, who operates from one computer and would not think to compare results.  It might not work forever, but what scammer will stick around to argue the finer points once he’s sucked the money out of an unsuspecting website owner’s pockets? 

Google will surely take steps to reduce this in order to protect the integrity of its results (remember the searcher is whom Google must please), but like every game of locks and lock-pickers, there will be plenty of scams flying under Google’s radar or keeping one step ahead. 

The best protection a webmaster has against this sort of scam is to include mention of it in passing in every article posted on the Internet about personal search.  Hopefully not too many webmasters will miss it before hiring an SEO scammer.  And that’s why today I am outing the scammers before they even start!

 


Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).

Close