7 Scandalous Marketing Techniques to Increase Website Traffic
Okay, using “scandalous” could be an exaggeration here. But hey, they say use powerful words in headlines, so…
That being said, these 7 marketing techniques are far from morally correct.
They are black-hat and the fairy-tale-esque top marketing experts preach against them. (Although it’s a whole different topic altogether that these “experts” employ such tactics themselves.)
So, if you’re going to use these unethical marketing strategies yourself, do it at your own discretion. You might sustain a BIG loss — or a big win! ;)
Here we go…
1. Paying for guests posts on your website
…only, you don’t *really* pay!
There are countless articles out there on “websites that pay writers”.
These articles feature all the websites/blogs that not only accept guest posts but also pay the writers.
While many of them offer noFollow backlinks, there are few who link back with doFollow. (Even the noFollow backlinks count — given the traction a brand gets.)
Also Read: When to use DoFollow and NoFollow?
To that, such articles tout a rather good Page Authority (PA), enjoying thousands of visitors every month.
So, what you want now is to get your website on that list. This is fairly simple — start accepting guest posts and genuinely pay the writers.
What if you cannot afford the cost of guest posts? OR, what if you don’t want anyone else to write on your blog?
Solution: Fake it.
Create a “contribute” or “write for us” page. Jot down all the guidelines. And put down a sum that you would offer the guest writers. $40 is usually the baseline.
To make your offer more believable and attractive, publish a few articles on your blog using different author names. It would come off like people are really contributing to your blog — and that you’re paying them.
Once you’re done with this part, time to do some research.
Head to Google and find websites who have created a list of blogs that pay contributing writers. Create a list of such websites yourself in an excel.
Now comes the outreach effort.
A simple template-like email can do the trick! These website owners are quite enthused to increase the length of their article and include more paying-websites.
(Of course, there will be a few rejections.)
Also note, to get a better result, you can even ask these website owners if they want you to write a small content for them to include in their article.
If they ask for it, do it!
In no time, you will have a stream of new backlinks coming from good-quality websites.
Now, when someone pitches you for a guest post, you give them good, non-mean reasons…
“We don’t accept topics like that. Sorry”, “We’re looking for something else”, OR “We only want writers who have prior experience with XYZ.”
This digital marketing strategy is as effective as it gets, boosting your SEO with very little work.
2. The Scholarship Link Building
This one is a rather beaten-to-death technique. But it still works — if you’re a tad delicate and thoughtful in your approach.
Much like the previous tactic of the fake guest post, even here, you say one thing and do the opposite. But this, for whatever reason, is more unethical. :|
The gig is simple: you tell people that you’re offering a scholarship to students. This would win you many (very) high-quality backlinks, including from those with “.edu” TLDs.
And then, of course, you don’t pay the scholarship — unless you have the money.
The process starts by finding an appropriate segment of students for your (fake) scholarship. It depends on your niche.
Say, if you run a business in marketing and advertisement niche, your target audience is those who want to pursue higher studies in this niche.
If you have a cooking website, offer a grant to those who want to pursue cooking courses.
(Just make sure that the course isn’t very unique or unpopular.)
Once you have the right segment and course(s) that you want to target, create contents accordingly.
Create a webpage (and a few blog posts) that talks about the requirements for applicants, how you choose the right candidate, what’s the amount covered, terms and conditions, and so forth.
Refer someone else’s scholarship webpage for more assistance.
Once you’re done with this, time to find websites that feature such scholarships for students’ reference.
Again, you will find many such websites with ‘list of scholarships’ articles.
Also, depending on the course and segment of students you’re targeting, outreach universities and institutes who have a special section of scholarships.
Majority of such articles/websites would be happy to include your scholarship in their list and sections, providing you high-quality backlinks.
Applications will likely start pouring in soon. So, you’ve got to stay prepared with how you’re going to deal with the applicants.
3. Spinning Articles
Majority of top bloggers, brands and content creators DON’T do this. (Not at least the ones I know of.)
But that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t.
This is quite simple. You take an existing article from some other website, make tweaks to it and then publish it on your own website.
“Spinning” could include anything — right FROM changing the words with their synonyms TO re-formatting its lines and paragraphs TO shuffling (and/or omitting) the points in the article.
You can take articles from some distant corner of the web.
Take some points from Quora, some from Medium, some from LinkedIn’s Pulse and some from anywhere and everywhere else — put them together, do some editing, and you will have a brand new article ready to serve your purpose.
It’s simple. It’s also unethical but, again, no one’s stopping you.
P.S. Should you know, btw, search engines do not penalize websites for duplicate contents!
4. Keywords, keywords everywhere
Yes, the SEO world has come a long way. But guess what?
Contrary to what the white-label articles say, keywords are still a significant ranking factor.
Don’t buy the mainstream narration that you shouldn’t be focusing on the keywords.
Behind the closed doors, virtually every top marketer and SEO expert obsess about keywords an awful lot.
Indeed, there’s a line when keywords density and proximity becomes too high to an extent that makes the whole content an absurd-read.
But even in such cases, there aren’t any statistical pieces of evidence and studies available that proves you will be penalized for this.
“Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.”
All being said though, aside from the fact that there is no proven evidence that over-using keywords can hurt your website ranking on search engines, here are few things to note:
- There’s no well-defined definition of ‘keywords stuffing’.
- A lot depends on the size of a content. What’s “too much” in a 300-word article can be normal in the 1000-word article.
- There exist many variations of keywords — primary, secondary, generic, long-tail, medium-tail, LSI. Using them together, dexterously, can make the content sound quite natural.
So, if you’re looking for short-term benefits, using keywords more than you should can certainly help you.
The majority of SEO agencies out there, deploying short-term tactics for their clients to make the reports look convincing in a short span, obsessively use keywords across the website. And more often than not, they see good enough result.
5. Buying High-Quality Backlinks and mentions
Before anything, while doing a read on this topic, I found an incredible investigative reporting on The Atlantic titled “The Covert World of People Trying to Edit Wikipedia — for Pay”
It’s looonnngggg…. But definitely worth a read.
Basically, the article underlines how editors and contributors on Wikipedia sell backlinks — OR tweak information in favor of certain parties (like politicians, manufacturers, and celebrities).
(In our context, let’s stick to the topic: backlinks)
In reality, this is a menace limited not just to Wikipedia. Editors and writers of many top websites don’t mind selling brand mentions and backlinks.
From Entrepreneur.com to Forbes to Huffington Post — they all have articles that carry paid backlinks.
In fact, it’s not hard to find listings on Upwork, Fiverr and more of people looking for writers/editors who have a connection to these big websites.
There exist specialized agencies and professionals who do this kind of job.
There are many “entrepreneurs” and brands who employ this tactic secretly.
For instance, a lot of quips/quotes from CEOs and managers of some unknown companies that you read on such articles are usually based on either personal favor or quid pro quo.
In other cases, complete articles are secretly sponsored by such entrepreneurs and brands. They connect with the writers/editors of these top websites and pay them to write articles on them.
Also, although I am not entirely confirmed about this BUT it’s not hard to guess that many, to build “personal brands”, buy spots of contributors on such top websites through editors and admins.
A backlink or simple mention on such top, high-traffic, high-DA websites can help a website/brand get a big boost in its digital metrics.
So, while it is highly frowned upon and advice against, you can try to buy backlinks and/or mentions on top websites like HuffPost and Forbes.
Indeed, you will have to spend some money here!!
The easiest way to do this is to post a listing on job portals. Upwork and Fiverr are the go to. ProBlogger Job Board is a good place too.
First, find the industry standard amount that you should be paying for this task. It would vary on a lot of things.
For instance, the kind of website you want a backlink/mention from. Do you want a basic mention in the article or want the whole article centered on your offering.
So, take your time to come up with an adequate budget.
Moving on, post your requirement on such listing portals. Be clear on the kind of writer you want and the kind of result you expect.
Such writers/editors/contributors of top websites are readily available to work on paid proposals. So, you will have a handful of applicants very soon. (Provided, you’re paying them good.)
The other way of doing it is to approach such contributor/writer of leading websites directly. However, with zero experience of this particular approach, I am not sure if it’s really an appropriate idea.
But you can certainly do some research on the contributor/writer, see the kind mentions/backlinks she/he offers in the articles, and then email her/him with your proposal.
Buying backlinks is an unethical marketing tactic. And it’s best you avoid it.
However, on the other side, it’s equally baffling just how many “experts” who advise against it do this themselves.
6. Create fake profiles on social media platforms
Men are desperate. And you can leverage on this! ;)
This marketing tactic has worked incredibly well for a lot of our clients. And it’s also super easy to pull!
You create a fake social media profile of a GIRL. (This works best on Facebook!!!)
Yes, create and complete a fake Facebook profile of a girl. Put up a very attractive display picture. Fill in all the asked bios and details.
Do as much as you can to ensure the profile looks genuine.
Now, who’s your target audience? Let’s say, your website/business is shaped around fitness.
With your fake Facebook profile, ‘Like’ fitness related pages and ‘Join’ similar groups. There, start engaging with posts; like people’s comments, respond to them.
Then, add them as friends. Don’t overdo this; sending too many friend requests to strangers on Facebook can get you banned.
After a point, your friend circle will grow.
Apparently, a hot girl on Facebook gets too many friend requests.
Now, whatever friends you have made (the limit is 5000), invite them to like your business page. If you are nice to these people — replying to their messages and commenting on pictures — they are more likely to act on your invite and like your page.
Also, you can share articles and offers from your website directly on your fake profile. Again, if the engagement is good, the conversion will be decent.
You can run multiple fake profiles (of attractive girls) at the same time. This will help you amass a large following very quickly.
(Remember, getting ‘Likes’ on Facebook isn’t sufficient anymore. You need to keep them engaged throughout to keep your organic reach and conversion good.)
The key point to remember through the whole process is to make friends on your fake profile who are interested in or are related to your niche.
You don’t want to invite a bunch who’s interested in marketing to ‘Like’ your traveling related page. This would makes no sense.
This tactic works decently fine even on Twitter.
On LinkedIn, it fell short to my expectations. As for Instagram, I never tried.
7. Thematic link exchange
You want backlinks, don’t you?
Guess that — there are thousands of website owners who want the same thing. There are many in your niche who want it too.
So, why not get together with them and exchange backlinks for mutual benefit?
This is the core idea behind thematic link exchange.
BUT it is slightly different from reciprocal backlink tactic — the “I’ll link you if you link me” scheme.
Here, you don’t ask for a backlink from a website who you have backlinked.
The arrangement is as such that there will be a chain of backlinks but without a direct exchange between two websites.
Indeed, for this, you would need to have a decently large group of website owners — or a few individuals who own many websites.
How it works: Website A links to B, B to C, C to D, and this chain continues till Website Z links to A. A whole circuit is completed.
Of course, this must be done only with the websites who share the same topic or niche. Also, the implementation should be spread to weeks and months.
Don’t create a chain of backlinks in a day or a week. That will raise a red flag for search engines. Patience is the key and a definite plan is your asset.
Take your time. A gap of a week before one links to the other seems ideal.
Having done this a handful of times for few clients in SaaS, automobile, and clothing, I didn’t notice any negative impact on the websites’ rankings in the span of 7–9 months.
It actually helped boost the domain authority moderately, which significantly boosted websites’ position for medium-competitive keywords.
The key with this marketing technique is to make your backlinks appear as natural as possible. So, here are a few things to remember:
- Avoid a backlink to any website’s homepage.
- Link to others’ blog posts and NOT any webpage.
- Choose anchor texts carefully. “Click here” or “Know more” doesn’t sound very natural or conversing. But if you’re getting/providing many backlinks through keywords-only anchor texts, it can be a red flag too. So, be careful. Include the links in your blog posts in the words and context that make the most sense.
As for another question that must be on your mind right now — how do you find a group of same-niche website owners who are looking for backlinks — it’s VERY SIMPLE!!!
Look at forums and comment section of popular websites in your industry. You will easily find many of such individuals. Like this…
Find such website owners. Pick high-quality (good DA), relevant websites. Gather their contact details. And send them a simple email about your plan.
Sure many people would reject your proposal. But there would be a few who would get along well.
In my experience, instead of being straightforward like ‘I am trying to create a network of backlinks’, being tactful in your approach like “We are conducting a study and would love for you to be a part of it” always works better.
I am not sure about “scandalous” but these digital marketing techniques are sure as hell unethical and black-hat.
Yet still, for desperate-time-desperate-measure instances, marketing agencies around the world use them widely for their clients. And the majority of them do things quite smoothly and successfully.
So, if you’re confident you can pull these tactics properly, go ahead and do it (secretly)!
That mandatory discretion: Use these tactics at your own risk. They are, at best, unethical. To that, they also go against the guidelines and policies of search engines and social media platforms.