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Fake SEO Case Studies on Facebook

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Fake SEO Case Studies on Facebook

There is an increasing trend of publishing SEO case studies on Facebook to show how a tool or service can help increase search rankings and traffic.

At least one Facebook Group admin is taking action to challenge and remove them because they are designed with an agenda at best and are outright fakes at worst.

SEO Case Studies Tell Only One Story

A common problem with SEO case studies published on Facebook is that they are expressly designed to tell you a story of success in defeating Google’s algorithm.

If there is one constant in search marketing it may be the understanding that there is no sure thing or guarantees in SEO.

No SEO tool or person can guarantee specific results that are based on a third party.

Yet some SEO case studies published in Facebook groups are designed to create the impression that the tool can outwit Google.

Flaws in SEO Case Studies Published on Facebook

I don’t mean to say that all SEO case studies have issues.

One of the most consistent flaws I see in many case studies is that they are based on local geographic based keyword terms.

Except for highly competitive areas like injury attorneys, local search keyword phrases are relatively non-competitive, especially in small towns.

It’s easier to rank a page for the name of a small town and keywords than it is to rank for more competitive phrases in larger metro areas like Los Angeles or New York City.

One literally does not need a tool or that many backlinks to rank well for the name of a small town and local-search related keywords.

This lack of competition is why so many case studies are based on local geographic based keywords, particularly with city names that relate to smaller towns.

Rather than pick on an actual SEO case study (which I don’t want to do) I will use an SEO competition as an illustration of the ease of ranking local search keyword phrases.

The competition a while back was to see who could rank and hold on for the search phrase, Rhinoplasty Plano Texas.

The winner of that competition was a website constructed almost entirely of Lorem Ipsum Roman Latin words.

Only the heading tags were written in English.

The winners of that competition demonstrate a weakness in Google’s algorithm within low volume search queries that are tied to a low population geographic area.

That weakness tied to a local search queries in a low population area can be exploited to create an SEO case study that appears to show positive results in terms of how many search queries a site begins to rank for.

There are two kinds of successes that are variously claimed in SEO case studies published on Facebook:

  1. Amount of keywords a site is ranking for
  2. Increase in traffic

How Did a Latin Language Site Rank for English Keywords?

There were a lot of things going on to power that ranking.

But the chief reason is the low search volume for that search phrase.

Google is very much about showing users what they want to see.

But Google tends to do less well determining what users want when users are not searching with a particular set of keywords, like Rhinoplasty Plano Texas.

There was close to zero search query volume and trivial competition.

Animated GIF explaining that keyword volume for Rhinoplasty Texas is so low that it's close to zero.The fact that a webpage composed almost entirely of Latin could rank for the phrase Rhinoplasty Plano Texas is as much a reflection of the low competition for that phrase as it is an exposure of a weakness in Google’s algorithm that allows a non-English website to rank number one for a low competition keyword phrase.

Next time someone shoves a case study in your face, check to see if it’s based on local search keywords, most times it is.

Choosing a trivial search phrase is one way to help tilt an SEO case study so that it produces seemingly positive results.

100% Fake Case Studies

Another way hustlers generate business is by using fake case studies.

These unethical people don’t even bother to rank a site in an easy niche.

They just copy a Google Analytics graph from someone else’s case study and claim it as evidence that their link building service produces results.

They publish screenshots of web traffic analytics graphs with marks indicating the date links were added after which the analytics report shows the search traffic growing exponentially.

They usually don’t show you the keywords so you can check if the site is ranking, they rarely show the site or the actual amount of traffic.

There are a lot of specifics missing.

But more importantly, some of those web analytics screenshots are fake.

This is a big problem on Facebook Groups because the most unscrupulous and ambitious will show up to deceive people.

Fake SEO Case Studies on Facebook

I asked Steven Kang (@SEOSignalsLab), the administrator of the private SEO Signals Lab Facebook group about these fake case studies.

This is what the Steven Kang said:

“One of the biggest distrust factors residing within the SEO community is fake case study screenshots. Most fake screenshots are either stats that are doctored or taken from a random site in hopes of generating leads.

Engaging screenshot posts in large SEO groups mean more people in their funnel for link building vendors and tool makers.

Translated, there is a huge commercial-driven motive standing behind each forgery. Some are calling this justifiable marketing and I completely disagree.

The activity devalues the image of everyone that’s involved in the industry and undermines everyone’s effort to improve the overall industry’s professional image.
To discourage dishonest posts, I am requiring each poster to allow on-demand inspection and provide proof of the screenshot data to trusted moderators.”

There was a guy in that Facebook group earlier this year who was posting screenshots of his client work and Steven kicked him out of the group and deleted every post he had ever made in that group.”

Generating Traffic is Trivial

It’s easy to create a case study using a brand new domain to create the illusion that several hundred visitors per month are a direct result of their efforts.

Creating a website and taking it from zero to several hundred visitors per month is also relatively easy to do.

It’ll look great on an analytics graph yet it’s not always particularly meaningful.

Case Studies Disappear When Challenged

I don’t mean to say that all SEO case studies published on Facebook are fake.

But the problem of fake SEO case studies published on Facebook has become so problematic that Facebook Administrators like Kang require that anyone posting a case study allow inspection of things like Google Analytics data.

That requirement has dramatically cut down on the number of people sharing case studies in that Facebook Group.

When confronted with an SEO case study, be skeptical.

It’s OK to ask to demand to see specifics like keyword phrases and domain names in order to judge the truthfulness of their claims.

As Kang noted, SEO case studies are done for lead generation, these people want your money.

It’s not unreasonable to demand more information about the case study before handing over your money.

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Roger Montti

Roger Montti is a search marketer with 20 years experience. I offer site audits and link building strategies. Looking forward ... [Read full bio]

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