How Fraudsters Use Amazon Cloud To Create False Web Traffic

If you, or your company, own a website, then you know that the key to the success of that website is traffic. Internet traffic is the holy grail, without it, you might as well set up shop in the middle of the desert.

Internet marketers always strive to understand how web traffic works and more importantly, use this knowledge to drive more traffic to particular site. It is such an important aspect of online businesses that companies exist with the sole the purpose of offering potential customers their expertise and send more traffic to their sites. This industry is such that it is difficult to offer any recommendation as to what exactly constitutes expertise, and how much you should pay for it. It’s a number’s game. If an internet marketing you’ve hired brings you qualified traffic (which leads to actual purchases), then, provided your profit margin is such that you can afford to pay for this expertise, chances are you will have hired the “right” internet marketing company. Often times, it’s only after you’ve invested your hard earned cash that will know whether you made the right choice.

Experts or not, most internet specialists work to exploit their knowledge in ways that doesn’t break any law. In the search engine industry for example, this has lead to a dance whereby search engines introduce new algorithms, which in turn we try to understand, adapt to, and then to our own benefits. It’s a dance alright and it is even called like that in the search engine industry:  The Google Dance.

Internet traffic doesn’t come only through search engines.  It is estimated that social media platforms generate more traffic than the king itself, google, but if you want traffic, and you are prepared to buy it, then web ads, placed in high traffic website can generate a lot of traffic as well. There are people who specialize in that niche as well. It can be costly, the kind of traffic you might eventually receive might not generate enough business, but it is entirely above board.

But just like any other aspect of online business, there are those of us who want to work without breaking any rule and then there are others, who really don’t mind bending the rule, and sometimes even employ illegal means to generate traffic.

These individual use specialized “bots” to create traffic and disseminate it over the Web. If you don’t know what a bot is, you can learn all about it Bots.

Of course, the bots these people use works differently in that they mimic the actions of real consumers and trick marketers into paying for ads displayed on Web pages. Various techniques are used to generate artificial traffic, such as infecting consumers personal  computers with software that load web pages without their knowledge.  Or, even better, install similar software on cloud computing services such as Amazon to simulate real users.

Be cautious out there.

Or you could hire me! 🙂

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Click here for more information on how Fraudsters Use Amazon’s Cloud to Create Fake Web Traffic.

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Scheduling Facebook Posts, Google and Facebook Tit for Tat

After the roller coaster of the past few months, with Panda and Penguin dancing this way and that, it is fair to say that some of us who were just settling into the reality of things gone by, and the subsequent painful lost income due to devalued search engine rankings, were left wondering what to do next!

Not everyone of course lost everything, but most of us have in fact suffered from the effects of such changes, even though most SEO and Internet Marketing “gurus” will regularly go out there claiming that “THEY” were not affected. Maybe there were not, or maybe they are just NOT being “truthful”.

As far as we are concerned though, let me tell you that whilst the majority of our websites did come out of the latest big G tsunami unscathed, (we own over 400, but if you add customers sites, our portfolio of the sites we handle is a whole lot more), some of our websites were indeed affected by our furry friend (Panda) and its not so furry accomplice (Penguin).

When you lose up to 40 pc of your income on a bunch of websites, as an internet marketer with a portfolio of hundreds of sites specializing in a wide variety of (affiliate) products and services you realize the true value of not putting all “you eggs in one basket” so that all in all, whilst our overall income stream has diminished, our portfolio is wide and varied enough that the 40 pc drop in some of our sites is something we are able to deal with.

If you have witnessed a drop in your rankings, and you have largely stayed away from “black hat” techniques, over optimization may be the culprit and you will probably be looking at ways to recover the Over Optimization Penalty! To that end I encourage you to read the excellent article written by Nick Eubanks at SEOmoz which will provide you with a step by step blue print of what to do in other to recover from said over optimization penalty!

As if Google’s new policies hadn’t been enough to cause us to reach for the anti vertigo medication that all of us involved in internet marketing keep in the top draw of our desk Facebook and Google+ were at it again with the introduction of their latest feature changes!

First it was the launch of Facebook Promoted Posts a paid for new feature enabling the promotion of recent posts by extending its reach beyond the normal exposure this post might get in fans news feeds.

Or in other words, reach more people than the number of fans your organic content currently reaches.

“… promoted posts will be seen by a larger percentage of the people who like your Page than would normally see it. It will also be seen by a larger percentage of the friends of people who interact with your post.” – Facebook

 

Then it was the turn of Google+ to rock our world with the death of Google places which has been replaced by Google+ Local.

And finally it was Facebook turn once again in this battle of the tit for tat with the introduction of the brand new feature of “Scheduling Facebook Posts“!

This is one feature that has god Crescele (our own social media expert) all excited since she will now be able to schedule posts in advance instead of having to login daily.  Of course, there were apps already who could do just that, but now all you have to do is log into your Facebook Account, go to your page’s sharing tool, type your update, click on the little blue clock icon and schedule!  Easy as that.  Now of course, scheduling doesn’t mean that you will get away with “bad” content, since in the world of social media, your fans will determine how useful your content by way of their interaction.  And just in case, you want to increase said interaction, you can always pay for promotion which is at the end of day exactly what Facebook and Google are moving towards.

Never a dull moment in the online world.

If you liked this post, don’t forget to comment, like and share please.

Are You Satisfied With Where Your Website Currently Ranks?

Did you know that 90% of website owners are not happy with how their site ranks in the search engines?

Did you know that 1 in 10 websites actually generate any kind of income for their owners simply because they are not being found by the search engine for their pertinent keywords? Are you the one whose site is generating income? Or part of the 90 percent of owners who are not?

Did you know that the best way to generate tons of qualified traffic to any website is to deliver high quality, highly contextual anchor text back linking from quality sites from all corners of this earth of ours?

Did you know that the easiest part of bringing traffic to a site is search engine optimization?

Did you also know that SEO, can only be responsible for a tiny fraction of the traffic you site could get? And that Back Linking is responsible for providing the bulk of all traffic?

Back Linking is the most powerful means of driving qualified traffic to your site, and remains as such in spite of the latest de-indexing policies recently imposed by Google on a plethora of blog network. In fact, not only is it still the most potent method of bringing visitors to a site, the very fact that Google has gone after (and deindexed) “bad neighborhood” blog networks is the clearest indication that quality back links, from quality sites remains the best traffic generating mechanism for your site, and it is not going to change.

The easiest analogy to this is this:

If you have spent any time in your garden you will know that one of the things you will likely have to do often is to control weeds in your lawn and garden. Controlling weeds doesn’t mean that you want to eradicate your lawn, just that you want to remove what you don’t like and keep it as flush and beautiful as you can make it.

The lawn is to a garden what millions of websites are to Google. Just as you endeavor to make your lawn weed free, so does Google try to remove from its index countless websites that bring no value to you and I who happen to be Google customers!

If you want to outrank your competitor, then you need to get more backlinks to your site than your competitor. Simple as that.  Of course there are certain conditions that have to be met, such as the quality of your content, basic seo etc…

If Back Linking is so powerful, how can it be done?

Let’s put it this way.  Back linking is one the toughest things to do in internet marketing and is the main reason why so many websites don’t rank very well at all for any of their relevant keywords.

Backlinking is also a tricky strategy since it is important that a person who uses that vital method to bring quality traffic to a site does so without breaking any of the rules imposed by the search engines.  Use a bad strategy and your site could end up being discarded.  Use the right strategy and there is no limit to what you can achieve for your site.

Back links and Blog Networks – Time To Review Your SEO Strategy

If you have used search engine optimization and back link building in order to improve your SERPs (search engine results page), then to say that this past month has been anything but crazy in the world of Internet Marketing is an understatement.

In past articles I have been talking about Google’s Over Optimization Penalty and the effect it has had (and is still having!) on anyone who has been using Search Engine Optimization to garner “favor” with the search engines, and in particular with Google.

As the dusts is starting to settle, and internet marketers slowly get up from their recent slumber, yet again a new reality has just hit the fan, and this one could have even more serious implications as to any future strategy.

After all, over optimization (which Google has recently decided to tackle) is a “lesser culprit” so to speak since it is easy to remedy.  But the steady building of backlinks to improve the relevance of a page which had been part and parcel of any SEO strategy is yet another area in which the search engine giant has turned its attention to, in an effort to regain control of its search engine.

It all started when the measure by which a search engine would rank a website (based on keywords density and online seo) was altered when Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google founders) expanded on the concept of keyword density and introduced the concept of Page Rank.

The idea was that important pages or websites would be those with the most important number of links leading to them.  In other words, if your site had 5 incoming links coming to it, and your competitor only 4, then your site would more likely feature higher in the search engine (all things considered) than your competitor’s because each incoming link would be considered to be like a vote from one site to another.  The beauty of this concept was that the determination of search engine relevance would be made by websites, which themselves were leaders in their own industry.

In terms of internet marketing, it was a Eureka moment because for once, internet marketers felt that the ranking of their own sites no longer depended solely on Google, but on other websites, if only they could find a way to get as many sites to link back to their own.

A monster was created.  First we had farm links where links could be purchased and this method worked for a while until the folks sitting at their google desks wised up to this and introduced methods to combat just that.

Then eZines were introduced where a webmaster was able to post an article pointing to his/her own site, and provided this article did not infringe on the terms of that particular ezine, said article, after manual review would then be made public and bingo yet another incoming link. This worked too, until of course people started to abuse the system and posted thousands of articles with the sole purpose of linking back to their own site.

The Panda upgrade took care of that one, as a number of eZines, including the biggest one (EzineArticle) had hundreds to their pages de-indexed overnight.

Around the same time, blog networks were created with the sole purpose of allowing internet marketers to automatically post articles (spun articles) in an ever increasing number of blogs becoming part of the networks everyday. Some of these blogs became a repository of poorly written and badly spun articles with little to no value to any reader.

These blog networks made it it possible for enterprising webmaster to write an article, spin it to dozens (sometimes hundreds) of other articles, all with keywords linking to their own websites.  In a few days, a new site (sometimes just a few pages deep) could receive hundreds (if not thousands) of incoming links, making that site relevant in a short period of time, a feast which then made it possible for this small and new site to “dominate” the search engines!

This practice allowed many people to make lots of money on the back of the back linking theory, often times at the expense of webmaster who had been trying to increase the relevance of their own website by writing quality articles offering unique and interesting content to their readers.

Google just recently put an end to that and blog networks have been de-indexed throughout. Once such network is Built My Rank which has one of the most popular network and which, through the abuse of some of its members, became yet another repository of bad content.

The good news is that if you are one of those responsible and conscientious webmasters, always trying to provide good content to your readers by writing unique and quality articles, then all of a sudden you are no longer competing with volume link builders who were once able to out rank anyone in a matter of days, but with equally conscientious webmasters who also try to only provide quality articles to their own readers.

The bad news, is that this concept of volume linking has (in my mind) put to rest the theory that it was not possible for an unscrupulous competitor to put your site out of business by adopting an “untoward” attitude and say get your own site penalized by creating poor articles with links to your site and posting these articles in bad neighborhoods.   In my opinion, this debate is now over, and I can quite imagine circumstances where your might one day become the subject of the google de-indexing chop just because some idiot (I am being kind) has decided to do to you the very things that Google wants to weed out!

It’s my opinion, and of course, I welcome yours!

 

How Does Google Rank Content According To Matt Cutts

As a follow up to my series of article on the latest Google Panda Dance, I thought it would be a good idea to show a video made by Matt Cutts, (Google Search Engine Marketing team) in which he answers several questions about the public about:

How Google Ranks Content.

The video is 8 minutes long and in it, Matt goes into some details about various aspects of the methodology of the Google Search.

In this video, Matt answers a question related to the process of ranking and website evaluation, starting from the crawling stage, to the analysis of a site, to crawling frequencies…

Google main priorities in their drive to be the best search engine they be are based on 3 principal factors:

  1. Crawl the web for existing and new pages
  2. Index these pages
  3. Rank these pages so that the most relevant are served first.

1. The crawling process

Starting at 1:15 min

In the “old” days (the year 2000), it took google 30 days to crawl, one week
to index and propagate to their data centers (another week) and this process
was called the google dance! In 2003, Google switched to a different format
and began to crawl on daily basis which is substantial departure from their
original method lasting 30 days.  This allowed them to refresh their data banks
on a daily basis, and thus be kept more up to date to changes.  Over time, they
have improved their incremental updating of their index.

2. The indexing process Starting at 3:55 minute. Here is where
it becomes interesting as it gives a very good insight into the google indexing
mindset.  Given that indexing is taking things in word order, here is how it
works. To illustrate this process, Matt Cutts give the following two words as
an example of a Google search.

Katy Perry

In the crawl, Google established in which document each word was found.  In
other words, in which document does the word Katy appear, and in which document
does the word Perry appear.  So for example:

Katy appears in the following pages Perry appears in the following pages

1

2

2

8

89

73

555

555

789

1000

So when someone types in Katy Perry in Google, the search engine sets upon
finding out in which document do these words appear, and it does it like this:

Document 1 has Katy and document 2 doesn’t so doc 1 is out.
Document 2 has both Katy and Perry, so that document is one of the possibilities.
Document 89 has Katy and document 73 doesn’t so doc 89 is out.

In other words, only document 2 and document 555 have both words.

So Google searches for pages and back links (anchor text pointing to that page)
where both words appear.   When this document selection is accomplished,
not the ask is to figure out a way to rank them.

3. The ranking process

Starting at 5:45 minutes

This process is tricky and Google uses Page Rank (PR) in combination of some
200 different factors to determine which page to rank highest.

If this video has shown anything, it is that

  • Page Rank is a determing factor as to how well a page can be ranked
  • Page Rank is dependent upon the reputation of a site, the number of back links to that site, and the reputation of those sites from which the backlinks orginate!

 

The Google Dance And What It Means For You

Panda, Panda, will you do a dance for me

 

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THE GOOGLE DANCE –  WHAT WE KNOW

A lot has been written about the latest Google Panda Algorithm Changes and to say that there is confusion as to the extent of the search engine giant intensions is an understatement.

If you are an Internet Marketer, then chances are that some of your sites have been hit by the changes in the latest Google Algorithm.  Indeed, not only have so called “black hat search engine marketers” been hit by the latest dance, but so have “white hat seo professionals”, those (still in the majority) who have never used an “unethical technique” in order to make their sites rank better.

For many of us, the latest changes are a vindication of sort, that the use of black hat methods will eventually be found out by Google, but such is the scope of earning potential, that many of these folks were earning tens of thousands of dollars every month did not mind pushing the SEO envelope too far.  Problem is that some of them pushed it way too far, and Google got fed up with it.

As the dust slowly settles, and the latest changes finally settle throughout the various data banks, what conclusions can any one involved in maintaining and promoting a website draw?

WHAT’S CHANGED?

  • Google will penalize over optimized websites
  • Google has de-indexed entire blog networks
  • Google is going after “un-natural” back links
  • Google likes authority sites

How to survive in this new environment?

  • Algorithm changes are not new
  • They are here to stay
  • Every cycle sees changes that affect some website owners more than others
  • For some, the latest change has been one too many
  • For others, it is an opportunity to learn, modify, adapt

What will you do?

  • Will you join the statistics of those who call it a day?
  • Are you in it to survive?
  • Learn?
  • Make money?
  • Thrive?

Is SEO really DEAD?

This is an ancient question.  Some say it is, whilst others don’t agree.  This debate will continue to rage and in the meantime some will continue to make money by using SEO methods that work whilst others will continue to argue.

What worked in the past?

  • Add quality content to a site
  • Increase the exposure of your site by building quality back links to your site… naturally
  • Use Social Media
  • Do all of the above regularly

What works today?

  • Add quality content to a site
  • Increase the exposure of your site by building quality back links to your site… naturally
  • Use Social Media
  • Do all of the above regularly

Wait!  Didn’t I just say?

  • Google will penalize over optimization
  • Google has de-indexed blog networks
  • Google is going after “un-natural” back links

Yes, but methods to drive traffic to your site have not changed!

THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT:

Google is getting better at discovering and de-indexing websites that push the … SEO envelope too far. However In spite of the recent algorithm changes, Google still needs your help:

  • To find what your site is all about
  • To determine the theme of your site
  • To establish a list of keywords that are relevant to your site
  • To make a determination as to whether your site adds value to its customer basis.

Google is in this business to make money

And so are you! There are many things you can do right now to ensure that your internet marketing strategy is optimized:

How to Optimize your IM strategy?

  • Do it yourself
    • We offer many articles written in plain English designed for the beginner
  • We do it for you
    • By providing affordable and effective  SEO solutions
    • By providing a linking strategy that works

Want To Increase You Sales? Add a Facebook and Twitter Icon!

Here is an interesting study…  The University of Miami School of Business Administration, in an attempt to discover how the subconscious mind can be influenced by making buying decisions came to a revealing conclusion:

Pages that displayed the Facebook “Like” Button or a Twitter icon had more sales than other pages without these icons.

It’s all about brand recognition and you don’t get them bigger than Facebook and Twitter and it is this association that triggers the subconscious decision to make a purchase in consumers who might not have done so without these icons.

The way this works is that it triggers potential customer to think that the presence of these icons may mean that the product they are viewing is indeed “monitored” by the social network giants which then prompts the customer to relax any prior reluctance to purchase.

The bottom line is that if you are interested in increasing your sales, then you should be aware that the inclusion of these social media icons in your web design strategy could have a significant impact on your prospective customers.

The study also underlines that by displaying these icons on  your page, customers who might otherwise have been shy (reluctant) to make a purchase due to the “embarrassing” nature of the product were indeed more likely to buy the product, because of the presence of the facebook and twitter icons. ( An “embarrassing” product might be:  a “compression” underwear for women, acne products for men….)

The study, relatively small in scope was done with the help of some 200 participants tasked with exploring products in an online shopping environment.

Key findings:

The likelihood of making a purchase of a product that is thought of as being desirable (sportswear, fragrances) increased by 25 % when they were accompanied with the social media icons.

The pattern of purchasing behavior with regards to desirable or non desirable (embarrassing) product which increase with the presence of these icons suggests that these symbols have indeed penetrated the public on an subconscious level

Build My Rank Is Dead – Long Live Google

If you have been involved in internet marketing and have had to do it on a shoe string, at least in the beginning, then you will probably have heard of the popular blog network Build My Rank.  If you have, and as I assume you probably have and even used it, then you will know that Blog networks such as BMR were the best way for anyone without deep pockets to tackle the big guys, “mano al mano” so to speak and even beat them in organic searches.

That was then…  Over the past few months, ever since the advent of the Google Panda Dance, Google has been steadily moving towards a position where the importance of these types of network have been steadily been put to test, so much so that it has become  more and more difficult for the typical “Mom and Pop” to get any real bite into the profitable marketing market that organic search can represent for anyone with limited monetary resources.

Indeed, all it took, other than a lot of hard work was to distribute a well thought of article marketing campaign through blog networks such as Build My Rank (BMR cost $59 per month) and see your targeted keywords search through the various search engines, including Google.

But no more.

Google has seen to it that this type of “manipulation” can no longer be permitted to take place and as a result has de-indexed an increasing number of blog networks and you know what happens when Google de-indexes a site…. A quick death, particularly if that site relied on Google for its traffic.  Which is exactly what has happened to BMR and other blog networks such as Elite Link Network.

The perception in many circles is that Google targeted the Mom and Pops websites in an effort to “crush their dreams“!

Browse through the internet for the Build My Rank Deindexed keywords and you will get reactions such as:

Google is now crushing the income of millions of people.
Google will now be able to force businesses to spend more money on Google advertising services such as Adwords.
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

etc….

So is Google really the heartless monster that many a disgruntled article marketer would have you believe of is there something else at play here that has forced this Giant into taking actions that it knew would inflict hardship on some.

As someone who has used article marketing before, I can tell you that the way some people used the system put in place by these blog articles and hitherto tolerated by Google was becoming increasingly…  “aggravating”! (I am trying to stay polite.

Here are some examples as to what caused Google to take such drastic actions.  (My opinion!)

  • Some marketers were posting hundreds of poorly spun copies of articles to these blogs a day.
  • Then they were submitted the same articles over a period of several days to the same blogs.
  • Hundreds, if not thousands of new posted articles leading to the same domain, with no keywords (anchor) variation.
  • A multitude of articles poorly written, riddled with grammatical errors.

And this just scratching the surface.

The important questions that most of us is now asking is what is it that we should do?

Should we abandon Article Marketing?  My answer to that is of course not.  A good article with good content is still what Google wants to see in its efforts to serve a quality product to its customers!