Jump to content

If It's Artificial, It Probably Ain't Good

Guest petrosianii

Recommended Posts

Guest petrosianii

I am a professional marketer who has done SEO consulting for Fortune 500 companies. And I’m here to tell you this: If it’s artifical, it probably isn’t good for SEO.

What do I mean? Here are some common examples: artificial Google Pluses, Artificial Facebook Likes, Artificial Traffic Generation, Artificial Twitter Followers, 1000 backlinks in 48 hours, etc., etc.

Why are these generally not good for SEO?


Believe me, they can. I’ve met Matt Cutts personally. I’ve spoken to Google people. I’ve been in web marketing for quite some time. I’ve been to the Search Engine Strategies conferences, the SMX conferences, the PubCon conferences, the SEMPO events, the AdTech conferences. I make a living doing this stuff.

So trust me when I say that if you think Google engineers cannot build algorithms that can detect “fake”, you’re wrong.

Google does not like fake. Google does not like Artificially generated. And they will typically not give any value to these artificial search marketing schemes. And in some cases, they’ll hurt you for it.

Back in the day, when SEO was all about backlinks and PageRank, enterprising souls were popping up out of the woodworks to sell “1000 backlinks an hour fly by night services”. Google cracked down on this, to the point where, today, this tactic is worse than useless.

Now, the chief ranking signals are not links, but they are social signals, and reputational signals, more or less. So, guess what has happened? Enterprising souls are popping up out of the woodworks to sell “1000 FB likes in 48 hours fly by night services”. Notice a pattern here?

Of course, you’d have to have been in the biz for some time, to be able to have a historical perspective on this stuff.

So please, do yourself a favor: Stick to the best practices in marketing:

  1. Content is King. Strive to produce and disseminate useful, unique, helpful quality content.
  2. Don’t fall for artificial, fake, contrived. “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”
  3. Understand that that an ungodly number of links, likes, +1s, followers, fans accumulated in an unnaturally short amount of time, will raise flags for Google (and probably Bing).

    Eric Bryant

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem is a lot of people don’t realise how black hat will eventually come back and bite them later down the line when panda or penguin find them. I sell a white hat service of 10 links at a time it’s a good little number for nice authority sites like HP, Mozilla, Microsoft. I always ask my buyers if they have bought any other seo services from Fiverr and I get the usual yeah I bought 80,000 Pligg links from this dude, what really ? So about 70k of those links are discounted almost immediately and the remaining 10k will raise a flag faster than you can say "Google Web Master tools"

It really pains me to see people put their business at risk like this and I imagine getting that damn spam disavowed is going to take a lot of research and data input. Sure you are gong to get a short term boost but the moral of the story is, if it sounds too good to be true it usually is.

As Petrosianii says:


Good links

Will win every time

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tried so hard to just not reply to this one… but in the end… Well. Here I am typing.


@petrosianii. For the most part, your thoughts are true and you sound like you have good intentions. But you have a lot of the facts skewed.

Now, I’m not much on Google. I know a lot, err, a little… basically I know some things but not everything. But when it comes to other social outlets (Mainly Facebook) I’ve been working on that from day 1. And other outlets from before. Which basically says I’ve been working online for over 9 years. So, whether you agree with what I say or not you can’t consider me ‘Fly by night’ or say I don’t have an inkling what I’m talking about. Anyhow, moving on.

When it comes to Facebook itself as a social indicator they now (Since year start 2012) use a system called EDGERANK. And the way it measures is nothing like you have posted.

It measures page likes. It measures interaction and it measures removed Likes. (AKA Bots) The removed likes are simply removed as Facebook closes fake accounts. But they have no bearing on Facebook search at all! Bear with me here. Aside from the larger than life image a million likes gives you, they also help with search results. However, (And this is how they get you) if there’s no interactions on the Facebook page Edgerank diminished the page slightly. Now, here’s the double dipper. It’s not just on the page you’ve paid to get likes to, Facebook also measures the likers social activity outside the page. EX: Their wall, friends, photos and personal interactions. If you have 1000 likes on your page, from people who never seem to be online, Edgerank demotes the value of the like. Where does this happen? On Google. Sounds funny doesn’t it? Inactive “Likers” on pages do not change the Facebook search rating but rather the rating Google gives the page. Facebook search remains the same. When the “Bot” likes are gradually removed from the page the Facebook search goes down slightly but the Google numbers go up.

And even all what I just said factors in a small amount of the calculated numbers. Nobody will give up all their secrets.

But, getting a large number of likes within a short time does NOT raise any kind of flags. How could it? Think about it. New Celebrity (Both world wide and local) pages open up every day. And they get thousands (Some times 10’s of thousands or even millions) of likes a day. Keep in mind that there are thousands of new pages every day put up once you factor in local celebrities and such. Do you think Facebook can penalize them and lower their rank? No. The system follows the “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” scenario and large numbers of likes very fast have no bearing either on Google or Facebook. And “Bot” likes… well, I already explained how they work. When it comes to Facebook search… not much. Google… another story… but the real problem is the fact that Facebook does and will close the accounts meaning you paid for nothing. The other downfall is explaining to someone how you, a unknown (Or relatively) unknown person gained 5000 likes in a day. LOL

I could go on and on about how the system works (Again, I’m not a Google expert) but the fact is simple. Social networking services are like anything else.

There’s quality and then there’s crap.

You can’t blanket an entire genre with the “OMG Black hat crap” just because you don’t approve of it.

There are good providers out there (And yes, I am one of them) that sell and provide a good service. With what I call my “Fiverr” group of likers I have never had anyone loose a like. I stand behind my work and because of that I get a little open mouthed when people negatively attack it. Wouldn’t you if I attacked what you do?

And, to set the record straight, a good “Like” provider can become an asset to a page.

Good points?

  • Higher numbers. Why? Nobody wants to be the first person at a party… or first person to like a page.
  • Facebook search boost. (Like I discussed)
  • Google search boost. So long as the accounts are not Bots.
  • Custom URL.
  • Having your page show up on other peoples news feed when someone likes it.
  • A general fun time for all.

    (Really though, there are a lot of reasons. The above is just a few).

    Again. It all comes down to the quality of the service provided to you, not the service itself.

    For the most part. Don’t get greedy and stay within the realm of realism and everything is good in the world. Buying Likes is not much different than buying an ad in the newspaper, or putting flyers on a car. But, if you get a bad provider you get a bad service.

    And now… I also got to say that you, @petrosianii have some really good points though. All of which are important. The one I like the best? " Content Is King ". Without some good content nothing you do amounts to anything at all.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@oldbittygrandma. That’s great! Trying to find out things is always the best path. But when it comes to Google/Facebook/Twitter/ whatever, we’ll never know the exact methods they use. But, a tid-bit here, and there, and with experimenting you begin to form a general outline.

I also forgot to add to my last rant one crucial thing for anyone reading. (If they can get through my last post LOL).

In the end, if you purchase 10000 Facebook Likes within 24 hours… do you really think you’re getting anything but bots? C’mon now. How can someone promise 10000 likes in a day? You can’t. But I’m sure you knew that already. LOL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest merileep

Some really interesting points here. So what your saying @bigbadbilly is that if you go up on the facebook search you go down on the google search that they take from facebook. So it’s a balance thing? @petrosianii how do you get away with having your business site right on your gigs? 😛

@oldbittygrandma I think that if you just check rants on the forum you can pretty much find out everything you need to know about everything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest petrosianii

@bigbadbilly I’m not saying there’s no value to a page with a lot of Likes. And honestly, having read your forum posts, if I were going to buy Likes, I’d buy them from you because you seem to be more honest and ethical than the other folks I’ve seen who sell these services. 🙂

What I’m saying is: if you think Google cannot figure out a FB page has amassed a large number of Likes in an artificial, unnatural manner; and if you think it won’t descredit or devalue that FB page’s rankings, then you are underestimating Google.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest petrosianii

@merileeps I don’t have my business site on my gigs. Just the business name. I don’t see anywhere in the Fiverr TOS that says you can’t use your business name.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest petrosianii

The biggest reason I see not to buy likes, is very simple: IT IS AGAINST THE FACEBOOK TOS. So, @bigbadbilly, while I admire your statements, nothing you say will change this fact. I demonstrated this conclusively in a previous forum post:

Makes very clear that FB

  1. Does not like people selling Likes
  2. Is actively opposing artificial Like generation schemes
  3. Is blocking and will ban/block accounts that do so

    Period. Billy could be the best deal in town for buying FB Likes - it’s still a violation of FB TOS!

    And that can spell trouble.

    And as I mentioned also in a previous post, selling a service that relies on a violation of a social media site’s TOS can cause major problems. I know because we used to do it, and got popped. See


Link to comment
Share on other sites

@petrosianii. Not true, however, confusion is understandable. Facebook themselves sell likes and post promotion. When surfing Facebook look on the right side, or if you have a page, after you post you’ll notice a promote post dropdown.

When you purchase Facebook advertising from them you get paid by the amount of Likes you get from them.

Let me explain as best as I can.

OK. Well, you are right on one hand and wrong on the other.

Selling Friends is against the Facebook TOS. Under any conditions. No if’s, and’s or but’s. Anyone who sells friends is breaking the rules and putting their accounts and the person buying the friends accounts at major risk.

Selling ‘Bots’ is against the Facebook TOS.

However, selling Likes to pages is just fine. (Like I said, Facebook does it themselves). What’s the difference? A personal profile is outright owned by Facebook. But a Fan page is not. Facebook does not own any part of Coca-Cola, yet Coke has a facebook page. Anyhow, in it’s most basic form, you can purchase a promoter for say… Likes on a fan page because it represents a Brand or business. Whereas a personal profile does not.

However, buying “Bots” for a fan page is not OK because creating Bots breaks the Facebook TOS.

(I sure hope I’m making sense… not for you @petrosianii, I’m sure you get it, but for any other reader).

So. As long as the Likes coming in are from legit accounts, and for a Fan page and not as a friend request to a personal profile it’s not breaking any rules. It’s just considered marketing/promotion which Facebook does themselves.

… Now, I should also be more clear. I don’t care who they are, but anyone claiming to send you 1000 likes in an hour sells Bots. It doesn’t matter how big your network is, you can’t guarantee those kind of numbers in that short a time.

(If you must buy then go for the smaller numbers… You have a better shot of getting good ‘Likes’.) - Yup. That was my plug for myself. LOL

Anyhow. To go out on a limb here. You can buy ‘Bot’ likes and get away with it. Happens 80% of the time. Hell, I buy likes for myself when I want to see what’s going on. But with bots there’s always that chance… and as Facebook security keeps “Beefing” up you’ll be lucky to keep them for a month before Facebook closes them.

Back on topic, the abridged version for anyone who doesn’t want to read all my post.

Buying Friend requests… No. Under any condition.

Buying Fanpage likes does NOT break the TOS so long as they are not Bots.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest petrosianii


It is true:

  1. From Facebook itself “Can I buy Likes for my page”. Answer: a resounding No - https://www.■■■■■■■■■■■■/help/281084665319172/?q=buying%20likes&sid=0wjWfkuOZHEaksYup

  2. From Fragglesrock (Fragglesrock - Is buying Facebook likes against the Facebook terms of service for pages? Answer: The ONLY approved method of paying for Facebook likes for your page is through Facebook advertising which you can do by using Facebook’s self serve interface or by purchasing from us to save you the time, hassle, and expense of learning Facebook’s intricate system. Using any other method is absolutely against Facebook’s Terms of Service and any website that tells you differently is attempting to scam you! Thousands of websites offer to sell fake followers and profiles for ridiculously low prices. Using these sites can get your Facebook page suspended or banned. We operate 100% within the Facebook terms of service because we employ optimized Facebook advertising to bring new people to your page. You can verify that we added fans using the same paid advertising that makes Facebook the majority of its revenue by checking your insights page and seeing how many people were reached via paid traffic. Read more in Facebook’s help center.

  3. Facebook Officials have put out public statements condemning the practice, as I wrote about in the other forum post:

    “In a blog post by its security team at the end of August, Facebook announced a new automated system for detecting and removing fraudulent likes, noting:

    'A Like that doesn’t come from someone truly interested in connecting with a Page benefits no one. Real identity, for both users and brands on Facebook, is important to not only Facebook’s mission of helping the world share, but also the need for people and customers to authentically connect to the Pages they care about. When a Page and fan connect on Facebook, we want to ensure that connection involves a real person interested in hearing from a specific Page and engaging with that brand’s content. As such, we have recently increased our automated efforts to remove Likes on Pages that may have been gained by means that violate our Facebook Terms.'

    This initiative is meant to improve the integrity of the Facebook platform, as well as enhance brands’ engagement with their fans and provide a more accurate platform for measuring demographics and other data from fans and customers. Because a higher percentage of a brand’s likes will now be users who actually want to connect with the page, brands can have a more engaged and relevant fan base as well as a more accurate read about their real customers.

    Facebook has already taken some steps to prevent fraudulent Likes. This new crackdown is designed to find and remove Likes that were obtained by malware, hacked accounts, coercion of users, or purchased in bulk by brands that wanted to quickly grow their network on the site, in violation of Facebook’s terms of service. However, Facebook stated that it expects less than 1% of page Likes to be removed as part of the clean up, at least for brands that have been abiding by Facebook’s terms of service.” (see http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/facebook-says-“no-more”-fake-likes-and-fans)

    @bigbadbilly, The evidence is irrefutable. Buying and selling Likes through any other means besides Facebook’s own advertising platform, is a violation of their Terms. You should probably stop denying that and put a disclaimer on your gigs to this effect.

    In the words of Ricky Fitz in “American Beauty”: “Never underestimate the power of denial.”
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@oldbittygrandma - LOL! Well said.

@petrosianii - That is the blanket term. It also states spamming practices and signing up to something. It also quotes deceptive practices or scams to get people to like. Everything you’ve wrote and pointed to talks about bad accounts, scamming people into liking, etc, etc. Or people not really liking a page. Which is what I wrote as well concerning ‘Bots’. But when you deal in real accounts there’s not really much rule breaking. Over the last 12 months alone on Fiverr, 6 of my members received messages from Facebook concerning their ‘Liking’ practices. Once they responded as a real person and not a ‘Bot’ nothing ever happened.

I also don’t feel a need to add a “Disclaimer” on my gigs because I don’t use Bots. I use a network of friends. Real profiles, not fake ones. I can also safely say that over the last 2.5 - 3 years I have never heard of ever loosing a page because of my service. And, although it’s just a guess I’d say that I’ve provided service to at least 20,000. 3000+ here on Fiverr alone over the last 12 months. That’s a pretty good statistic. I can also say that I don’t advertise my Fiverr gig at all. Not one post for it. It’s all repeat clients who are very happy with my service.

I guess when it’s all said and done it doesn’t really matter. No matter what I say, or what you say, or what anyone says people will purchase what they want. And if they want a service such as mine they will get it. LOL. If you’re a good provider of any service you’ll do well.

We can go back and forth forever but it’s not going to change anything. Just like no matter what I say or what you say neither of us will change our minds. LOL.

The bright side? That’s what the forums all about. Friendly debate. Right?

That’s all for me… for now. Mwa ha ha ha ha (As I tip my black hat to @petrosianii…)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest merileep

Maybe the point isn’t in who is right and who is not right. If someone has a facebook like gig that doesn’t use robot profiles and they are human and from a private group than how would anybody know? For all purposes I could post your facebook page to all my friends and have them join it. And that would be fine. I can understand if they are robots but if they’re not than you can’t really prove anything. What could facebook do? Tell people they can’t like a page? Ask them? Let them ask. I hope that makes sense.

Should I be worried when I send my friends messages to like my page? Or if they do it? I think not. And that should be the end of this conversation. 🙂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest petrosianii
merileep said: If someone has a facebook like gig that doesn't use robot profiles and they are human and from a private group than how would anybody know?


@merileep The TOS doesn't say "If you sell likes *only* using robots, you're in violation." It says, "Selling likes THROUGH ANY OTHER MEDIUM THAN THE FB AD SERVING PLATFORM is a violation." The point is not: how would anyone know? The point is: it's unethical because it is against FB policy. And so doing it runs a risk - maybe a miniscule risk - but a risk nonetheless. And people like @bigbadbilly are NOT telling their customers that. Quite simply, because they're in denial.


I empathize, believe me, because I used to be in denial too. :)


If I rob a bank and say "but who will know?" that doesn't make it right. A thing is not right just because you can get away with it without consequences.


When we were selling Wikipedia editing services in violation of their TOS, I used to tell my staff all the time: "Who will know? We're real people, with real accounts. all we're doing is helping our clients cleanup their Wikipedia entries. Wikipedia can't know that they've hired us and pay us to do this!"


But guess what? They *did* know. And they found out. And when they did, the wrath came down hard on us. Advanced level coders work at FB and Wikipedia - top dollar coders who build multi-billion dollar businesses. These engineers can create scripts to detect "unnatural" Like activity, just like Google has built scripts to detect "unnatural" backlinking activity, and paid backlinking. Just like Fiverr has created scripts that can tell when you give your email address or phone number to someone. You don't seriously think that Fiverr has some guy ina bathrobe behind a PC manually monitoring all 200K accounts for suspicious activity, do you? Fiverr only has somewhere between 50-200 employees (probably closer to the 50 side). So few employees cannot possibly monitor all activity all the time. But that's not the point. That you get away with something is not the point.


But, go ahead. Knock yourselves out. It doesn't matter that much to me, one way or the other. Just don't cry to me when/if you get axed, 'cause all I'm gonna say is, "I tried to warn you!" LOL



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great post and very true. I see some gigs here offering a large number of visitors to your site for $5. When you read through the feedback, you can see people comment on how all the traffic is from China and have produced no results. They do deliver the traffic but to me this is completely dishonest.

And as another poster mentioned, bad SEO techniques can get sites flagged by the Google Panda or Penguin updates and once a site is flagged it is very difficult to recover.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@petrosianii. Wow. Way to single me out. I’ve been nothing but polite and even cracked a few jokes. As for my gig I give exactly what I describe. 50 Real likes. Not bots. That’s 50 real people liking a page. And it’s no more unethical than it is to hire you to get help in the SEO department. Or to pay to run a commercial about your Facebook page or to get Facebook to do it themselves.

Let me ask you this? The right or wrong debate is over. I’m guessing neither one of us will concede. So… If you want to come from an ethical standpoint, what is wrong with getting say… 50 friends to like a facebook page? Would it be unethical if I did it for free? Or is it just because I charge a very small amount of money to cover the costs of setting the system up. And believe me, setting up a legit system that get’s people likes in a relatively small window is not an easy task. To make it work that is. But I’m guessing you would know about the pain of managing a system. But, when you look at it like that How is that unethical? Again, I don’t use “Bots”.

As for scripts… of course they have scripts. And that proves my point even more. Like I said, I’ve been doing this since Facebook started. And I’ve never had a page get penalized for my service. Never. Not even once. Why? I hate to sound like a broken record but it’s because I don’t use “Bots” from China or wherever.

So. Back on topic. Am I in denial? Of course not. I sell a solid service with numbers to back me up. It’s also worth noting that a lot of the pages I like end up with real fans from my network that actually like the content.

So. My point? There’s nothing unethical about it… and I’m not in denial. If I was selling ‘Bots’… then maybe it would be unethical. ***** I should also note that if the members of my network DON’T like a page or it’s content… they simply DON’T like the page. In the end, it’s THEIR choice not mine. I simply offer the incentive which is no different than offering an incentive in the form of a contest or even a liked post.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest petrosianii

@bigbadbilly It doesn’t matter whether they are 50 real likes from 50 real, separate people. You’re selling a service. You’re taking people’s money and in exchange you are getting 50 real people to like some particular FB page. It doesn’t matter whether it’s not bots or not. You are still “getting people likes for pay through a means other than the FB advertising platform.” That is against the FB TOS. That’s the unethical part of it. The unethical part of it is: that’s dangerous, because I guarantee you if you were to go to FB and out yourself, they aren’t gonna say, "Oh, don’t worry about it. Because you were honest and up front, and because you only get likes from real people, we’ll let you go ahead and keep selling them."

You see what I’m saying? It’s unethical because what you’re doing could have negative consequences for your customers, and you’re not making them aware of it up front. You’re not giving them all the information necessary to make an informed decision.

Me personally. I could care less whether you sell a million likes and become a gozillionnaire! I think the selling likes ban by FB is kind of stupid, personally. But I don’t get to make the rules by which I use FB, and neither do you.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...