I came across this article on PCMag.com a few weeks ago. The story focused on an SEO firm that has started selling Google +1s. “Plussems, which is owned by SEOShop.biz, is selling 50 clicks for $9.99, 250 clicks for $69.99, and was selling a bundle of 2,000 clicks.” This isn’t the first time I’ve come across an SEO or social media marketing company that was selling bundles like this. I’ve seen companies promise to get you 1,000 Twitter followers in a month and 500 Facebook Likes in two weeks, all for the low, low, price of $59.99!
Are you kidding me?
As a strictly white hat SEO consultant, I would never recommend to my clients that they buy fans/friends/followers/Likes and so forth. Here’s why:
1. They aren’t real people
Even if a human did create and verify the account, that doesn’t mean they are still using it. I’d bet that the majority of spam Twitter accounts are run by bots, designed to reTweet another account’s Tweets. There is no person at the other end of that social connection, so what good does it do you? Social media is about having a conversation with your real customers, not with automated responses.
2. It’s black hat and spammy
SEO companies like Plussems give the rest of the industry a bad reputation. When most people think of SEO, they think of pop up ads and spam blogs and useless content—all the stuff black hat SEO companies employ to trick the search engines and the user. Buying social signals like Facebook Likes or +1s is just another way to try and “game” the system. The search engines don’t take kindly to those sites they find on the wrong side of the SEO guidelines. I’ve seen more than a few sites that were employing black hat tactics get completely removed from the SERP because of it!
3. It doesn’t really help
The search engines have said they look at user authority when taking social signals into account in their algorithms. What this means is that a real account, run by a real person with other real people following them, has much more value than a bot account. The people behind the search engines are smart. They know the minute they say something is a ranking factor, the spammers come out the woodwork to try and manipulate it. To counteract this, the search engines don’t just look at how many Tweets/Shares you have, but who is doing the Tweeting.
4. You get what you pay for
Are you willing to do 40 hours of hard work for $59.99? Probably not. Neither is the SEO firm promising you 300 +1 clicks. Even if that company had the best intentions at heart, this just isn’t a good or sustainable business model. More likely than not, these firms are looking to make fast and easy money. That will buy you cheap and shoddy work.