Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Don’t Buy Followers

We recently received this email offer:

Buy Twitter Followers and boost your account’s popularity. First impression is everything and after using our service, it’s hard not to be impressed.

Twitter Followers            $.10 per follower
Re Tweets                      $.15 per retweet

Buy Face book (sic) Likes & Fans. Facebook Likes (Fans) strengthens your online and social credibility. Our techniques are absolutely safe and secure.

Face Book Fans/Likes      $.15 per like

Digg is a popular and well-known social website where stories are updated every hour and users vote on the stories they like. If your story gets plenty of votes then it may be featured on the front page of the website.

Google indexes digg (sic) in every hour. Getting some votes on the digg (sic) can be very vital to your online success. You can see a flood of traffic and some good buyers from the site.We can give you Digg Votes from real humans in quick time and at cheaper rates.

Digg Votes                      $.20 per vote

Buy Google plus Ones and boost on your search engine ranking. If your website has 1000+ Google Plus Ones, your visitors are going to react in a much more positive way to your website. They’ll feel more confident in purchasing a product or service, or even the credibility of your website. With an Increase in Social reputation – You’ll earn more Money.

112 Plus +1            $20
1120 Google +1      $175
224 Plus 1              $40
560 Plus +1            $85

More than just spam

Actually, this was only half of their email; the other half was a verbatim repeat of the above. A sure sign of spam. But worse than this being spam, buying followers, tweets, fans and votes is a very bad idea.

Smackdown!

To the extent Google, Yahoo and Bing use social signals in their ranking algorithm, they rely on them being natural votes in you favor and in favor of your website. BMW.de banned by Google for SEO cheating.If they can tell that you’ve manipulated them, you will get a smack-down that’s not easy to recover from. Don’t think that search engines are unaware of these tricks, or that they’re not looking for tell-tale fingerprints that you’ve employed these Black Hat SEO techniques. If you average one new follower or fan per month or one or two +1s or Digg mentions a month and suddenly you get hundreds or thousands  — well that’s a red flag to the search engines, isn’t it? A few years ago, websites for Ricoh and BMW were totally banned from Google for more than six months due to black hat manipulation. If big companies like that can get such a penalty, search engines won’t think twice about hitting you with something just as devastating to your website traffic.

Bottom line: don’t do it.

2 Comments
  1. Whilst I agree with your points about the purchasing of social followers, I would like to see some more information as to how you think Google specifically identify and target “purchased followers”, without penalising natural followers.

    For example, do they look for weighted followers (say, a site that has 100 Google+ followers, but no followers on Twitter, Facebook, or other major networks)?? Personally I don’t think this is the case, as there are instances where weighted followers could well be natural followers.

    Interesting read, nonetheless!

    Thanks from Vieseo!

    • Hi, Vieseo – I’ll be following this topic, but at the moment I have no authoritative word on how Google detects paid followers. I would guess that they look for patterns across many accounts. If several people have exactly the same followers as one another, for example, that would be a red flag. If many of your followers have no one following them, that would be another red flag. There are undoubtedly more indicators Google uses but I haven’t seen anything from them on the subject. These are not the kinds of secrets they want to make public for obvious reasons.

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