“We guarantee 10,000 visitors per week to your website!”
This scam is sometimes referred to as a Guaranteed Traffic Program. If you fall for this scheme, you likely will be getting traffic through one of two sources: automated bots and/or porn sites. It is fairly easy for anyone with basic programming skills to pull off both ends of this scam.
For the first part of this scam, the company will set up a website that has an automated process programmed into it that will reach out to your website periodically and request pages from it. Every time these automated bots visit your website, it racks up a visit on your analytics. Of course, your SEO company will make their quota of “visitors” every single month because they control how often the bots hit your website!
In order to successfully pull off this scam, the SEO company will need to obscure some of your analytics information from you. So if you don’t know the right questions to ask of your SEO company, you’re making it very easy for them to conceal this scam. If the SEO company does not provide you with access to your analytics account, you will never see that all the traffic to your website is coming from the same IP address. However, if the company is serious about scamming you and want to try to cover their tracks, they will send the requests to your website through proxy servers, which obscures where the “traffic” is originating.
The other part of this scam involves what are called “pop-under” windows. You’ve probably experienced traditional pop-up windows when visiting websites. These are the annoying ad windows that automatically open and obscure the web page you’re trying to view. Pop-under windows still open, but do not obscure the page you’re viewing. So, the SEO company will develop relationships with networks of porn sites and have pop-under ads that request pages of your website, artificially inflating the “traffic” to your website.
If you’re correctly monitoring your analytics and asking the right questions about your search engine optimization campaign, you will never fall for these types of scams. And most importantly, if you are seeing traffic increases to your website but your phone still isn’t ringing, you had better be asking the question ‘why’?
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