Evil SEO Business Models: Hate Site Networks & Mafia Styled Ranking Manipulation

Jul 4th

So like Google's motto, usually I try not to be evil. Sometimes I think of random evil thoughts though. I can't help it, sometimes I forget to wear the tinfoil hat... ;)

I have been contacted by an increasing number of corporations who want me to bury negative websites. Some general feedback sites with good root authority have inner pages which are ranking for a wide variety of business names.

What would happen if a person set up a network of sites to collect feedback about various companies, knowing that they would get mostly negative responses? Throw in a dash of promotion and a link to us reminders and you are ranking for many business names.

Have someone else inform people of the hate sites and maybe there is a subscription SEO business model burying the bad news. If they stop paying for your services you go about removing links for some sites and build a few for the negative site.

Of course if the businesses are too well connected and some stuff is sold in the wrong way I think it could be extortion or something, so I am not trying to promote that.

There has to be a way to make money leveraging the ability to bury bad news. Then again, depending on what bad news you were trying to bury that could be evil too.

Marketing is a Scam Part 38 - Renewing Wedding Vows

Jul 2nd

Looking through keyword research databases it is funny to see how much more volume there is for wedding vows than there are for people renewing their weddings.

People sell weddings as being the perfect day, even though most of them end in divorce.

Normally I wouldn't look at that sort of data, but an old client wants me to rewrite their meta tags. A total waste of time, but if it makes them happy, oh well...Meta tags? I do.

hehehe

On another funny note, I have a strange desire to put gay wedding vows next to Christian wedding vows in their meta keywords tags...but I resisted.

Yahoo! Search DMCA, Copywriting Advice, Google AdSense Supports Warez Sites

Yahoo! DMCA Policy:
bogus, removing sites without ANY sort of notification. They really ought to work on that. (from TW)

Bad Copywriting Advice:

You can also use copy from the site (no links), like the section where it says, "The only current SEO Book on the planet. Buy the industry standard #1 ranked SEO Book. What do the search engines think?" Etc.

Especially copy on this page:
http://www.seobook.com/buy-now.shtml

How can a copywriting professional offer such advice on an open forum?

Google AdSense Feedback:
Questions for AdSense...

  • Why are many WAREZ sites use AdSense as a business model?

  • Is it proper to use the AdSense spam report feature on WAREZ sites?
  • What if Google ignores that feedback?
  • Is Google telling webmasters that stealing is fine, and they support fraud?
  • Do they want people to run clickbots on their system to get them to actually accept feedback?
  • Are clickbots and other scam software products the only way to force quality into the AdSense program?

The One Campaign

Jun 26th

A friend of mine emailed me about a campaign aimed at erradicating debt, poverty, and hunger in many of the poorest nations. Official sites:

Some musicians are also supporting the campaign with free concerts. In a week, during the G8 meeting, there are going to be 5 free concerts around the globe. Another friend said Pink Floyd is getting back together for the concert in Hyde Park London.

Legitimate Guerilla Marketing Forum Advertising Threads - Google Site Targeting and Forums for Viral Advertising Success

Jun 18th

Another idea as an extension of creative ways to use the new site targeted AdSense idea...

Go to a forum and participate for at least a few days to make it seem like you want to participate in the community. Make a few friends, and maybe ask them what they think of your new tool, product, idea, or offering.

When the pump is primed:

  • Have one of your new friends post about your new tool on the forums or community site.

  • Create an advertisement that looks like it is from the forum site owner that does not look like an ad. Using good tact you could almost make the ad look like an endoresement without offending the site owner.
  • Link that ad at the thread about your new product.
  • Collect feedback and participate in the thread with a few friends to guide that thread along to a happy ending.

Ads that do not look like ads...taking it one step further :)

Google Site Targeted AdSense - Killer Market Research Data

Jun 18th

So some of my site targeted ads started running today.

Within the targeting there will be biases of the audience personality, and the bias of how well people know you or the product you advertise, but right now with the site targeting not having a ton of competition I can get a glimpse into how effective various AdSense formats and ad positions are, creating my own real world tested AdSense heat map.

Although I should, I do not have many AdSense sites yet. I have been pouring most of my time into this one.

Some markets are absurdly expensive in search, but poor in content.

Mesothelioma is a term which is so expensive that people joke about it, yet when you look at content pricing people end up making little off it. Why? Because many people want those large ad dollars, so there is a ton of junk mesothelioma sites, and limited ad spend to go around them, combined with a fear of click fraud.

If you create scraper sites then there is little sense spending time and money to test the markets. You can just put up a site and see how it works. If you are debating creating legitimate long term content sites the new site targeted ads is an excellent way to see how well certain niches pay.

Simply join an affiliate program or two, run a few ads, and see how much they cost you per impression.

Great Thank You Page

Jun 16th

So you might be a geek if you are excited about a DVD documentary on Bulletin Board Systems.

All doubt is removed when the purchase thank you page is so great that you have to blog about it.

I think that is the best thank you page I have ever seen. Great marketing.

Blowhard Clients & Bad SEO Leads

Jun 15th

Bad clients will waste your time and destroy your business. Since SEO can deliever such cheap marketing sometimes it is easy to sell yourself short, taking on bad clients.

The worst prospects I have ever encountered are:

  • those burned by SEOs who have no trust left

  • those who used to rank well, feel they deserve free top rankings, and are unwilling to change with the algorithms
  • those who think SEO should be free marketing

A person recently emailed me, telling me they were having a rough situation, wanting me to commit to them, but not wanting to pay anything before their problems are guaranteed to be solved. Sometimes even analyzing a situation can take hours, and you would be a nut case to do that work free unless it was for a cause you believed in.

Eventually they even thought they were going to taunt me into fixing their problems for them:

Having read your blog I had thought you were up for a challenge to put right what is not only an unfair penalty, but potentially one that shows that Yahoo applies one set of rules for its 'channel' partners and another to its 'channel' partner's competitors.

If you are at all serious about what you do, check out this search and tell me if Yahoo should be penalizing this website.

This person assumes that there is a hidden agenda, where the search engine is out to get them, unwilling to look in the mirror to see if he is providing the search engine with something they would like.

As far as that want a challenge bit goes, there are many challenges in life:

Sometimes it is easy to feel too important, but you can only do so much, and there is no reason to spend your life helping someone who wants guaranteed results who pushes blame on others. Last time I had a lead like that I blew them off. A friend later worked for them, and is still regretting it.

If you bronze a turd it is still a turd. Any decent SEO knows that they can't make the search engine listen if it does not want to. Even if I could find a way to make a search engine eat itself, taking on a client who is only interested in pushing risk and blame is still not a gamble I would want to take. Most SEO leads are not worth much.

Keyword Ranking Getting No Love Over at Virtual Promote

Jun 13th

Andy Beal is a JimGuide, and yet there is a thread over at VirtualPromote ripping up his SEO firm?

Now a bunch of what you read in the forums is rubbish, but there are some strong alligations about Keyword Ranking in that thread:

They go after small companies, persistient sales force who promises everything, once you sign you find out that for the money you pay them YOU do all the work.... it's like hiring someone to read you a book on SEO. They provide generic canned reports, basically "find and replace" company name, no specific analysis to your site, only what you provide to them they take an reformat into another useless report.

and

Keywordranking has a shoddy record with the BBB.

Visit the website of the Better Business Bureau and search for "keywordranking" under the section "Check It Out". The BBB report on Keywordranking / Websourced states "The Bureau has processed 22 complaints about this company in the last 36 months concerning unfulfilled contract and refund and credit issues. Eighteen of those were processed in the last 12 months"

Can you find any other large SEO company with such a bad BBB record? I couldn't!

Also check out Alexa/Amazon for Keywordranking.com the reviews. Out of 11 current reviews, 8 reviews are very negative.

bhartzer, a fellow JimGuide, even worked Traffic Power into the thread!

I am sure I am going to get some hate for this post, but at what point should large SEO companies also have people who work the forums, and not just the phones?

Clearly they have many bright marketers over there, some of the best in the industry, and yet they are getting torn up on forums where they moderate at.

On another front, that thread is over 5 months old. You would think a company trying to position themselves as a cutting edge marketing firm would track what the major channels say about them at least a few times a year, wouldn't you?

Dirt & Making People Link at You

Jun 8th

So most people are all driven by emotions and a desires like

  • money

  • power
  • fame
  • empathy
  • happiness

If you fill someone's needs there is limited profit potential in that market space as others will try to fill needs cheaper. The key is to fill wants and desires.

You can buy links all day long, but the more your site launch conveys a social element and fills people's desires for at least one of the above the better the chance it will succeed. Fathom's Keyword Price Index is in my opinion fairly arbitrary. Much of the search profit growth is driven by search volume, but Fathom created a system to give people a set of numbers to track click prices by sector and report them each month. Since some people feel the data is important they may feel their site is incomplete without it. Thus we talk about it.

Other marketers will need to pay for that type of exposure, and even then many people discount or ignore ads. I ALWAYS prefer to buy content advertorials over traditional ads because they look less like ads and converts better. It is the reason behind the whole page editorial looking ad and a large part of the exceptional profitability of AdWords (the other part is of course precise targeting).

The below example might be full of crap or easy to do wrong, therefore it is no formal suggestion and the author of this post shall not be held liable for the use or misuse of this information / post / idea.

A friend of mine recently wanted to launch a site about celebrities and asked me what I thought of it. The design looked good, but the writing could have been better. I told my friend that the site had low content quality. But what does that really mean?

On this blog I miss out on many link opportunities by randomly whinging about and not putting much effort into editing. When I told my friend their writing could have been better the editing was an issue, but that really was not the flawed part of the idea. The flaw was that the idea ignored the social structure of the web, why people link, and what keeps people coming back.

If I was going to launch a site about celebrities here are some of the things I would do:

  • Either make the idea niche (about a few celebrities) or try to get some funding.

  • Get a killer brandable domain name that conveys something more. For example, a parked page rests at www.dirt.org and some of the other similar domain names might be available cheap. Dirt.org, Dirt.net, or Dirt.com is a great web brand waiting to happen.
  • Create something people could not get elsewhere. If people are looking up celebrity information sure their birth date is cool, but why not have sections like:
    • Recent Sexual Partners (rumoured)

    • Illegal habbits and fetishes (rumoured)
  • You could further extend that "what you can't get elsewhere" idea by showing:
    • the connectivity of degrees of separation between sex partners (confirmed or rumoured)

    • links to people who got in trouble for the same illegal activities
    • links to people who share the same fetishes
    • etc etc etc
  • To make the idea more social, give away free fan blogs and use a social software program which allows people to rate the best pots and channels to make them more visible. Also hire some editors and grab some news feed to help the network work and ensure there is a decent level of content quality.
  • Encourage people to report the dirt. Perhaps even offering cash rewards.
  • The site might even be more over the top by offering ad space to sketchy advertisers that deal in semi illegal or intrusive stuff such as paparazzi photos and the like.

At the end of the day if you can cause people to talk about something your bank account will swell (unless you get sued). Sometimes lawsuits are a cheap form of marketing as well though. Also many times people are required to inform you of what you are doing wrong before they can sue you for it.

Recently Lee Odden mentioned a new folksonomy tool called Tag Cloud.

I am sure you can spam some information systems such as Tag Cloud, but if you can get your name, your site name, and ideas you made up to be semantically related to the subject of your content then you win. If DMOZ links to many of your celebrity content pages you win. If bloggers frequenlty link in you win. If many people desire your site specifically then it is hard for a search engine to penalize your site and you win.

Lots of other random ideas in my head, but I don't pay much attention to most celebrities. That was an example of how to future proof SEO techniques by making sure the idea is socially well structured for guaranteed longterm success.

Not sure if I have it in me to be a strong entrepreneur, but in a few years I might be willing to try out a bit more of my random ideas.

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