Let’s face it – Google is a giant computer built on algorithms and AI.
If you know how the algorithms work, you can game the system, right?
In reality, yes, but the truth is that no one except the software engineers at Google knows how all the moving parts work together.
But let’s be honest, we have some pretty substantial clues about what is working – the proof is if we can rank number one in Google for a keyword we target.
What we already know something about the science behind Google rankings
- Authority matters – a strong domain with authority backlinks is an advantage.
- Content needs to be SEO optimized.
- Your website needs to load fast and be mobile-friendly
- Your website should not suffer from technical issues that prevent crawling and indexing.
- Time on site is an important ranking factor – a high bounce ratio indicates that the user didn’t find what they are looking for
Is it possible to manipulate Google?
If we look at the signals mentioned above, the next logical question would be if it would be possible to manipulate some of those indicators?
The short answer is yes – but there is always a risk of being caught with your hands in the cookie drawer.
Let us try to break it down to the “how-to.”
Authority: The primary resource for boosting a website’s authority is backlinks – quality backlinks.
If you cannot build them, you can buy them (Note: Buying backlinks are against Google terms). If you are getting caught in buying links, you might face a penalty!
Please don’t take my word for it. Here is what happened for ten big brands trying to game Google.
SEO Optimized content: This is one of the areas where technology moves very fast. There are already tools available for auto-generating content.
The content generated by AI even starts to read decent, and soon, I am sure that we would see even more AI-based content generators.
Note: Just because a piece of software can spit out a semi-decent piece of article, it is not the same that it would rank in Google.
If you suffer from writer’s block and need to create SEO-optimized content, read this blog post.
Time on site: Is it possible to manipulate Google by making false user signals? The short answer is yes.
If you can control a network of computers that can search for your keyword, find your website in Google, and stick around for a little while, it would work.
There are already such networks out there that are working as a crowd search service.
The participants would have a little piece of software installed on their computer that would act as a web browser.
The software would then receive search queries from the network and carry out those searches silently in the background – without any user interaction.
For Google, it looks exactly like regular searches being carried out from different browsers and devices on different residential IP addresses.
Crowd searching services can even be used to perform negative search campaigns. Imagine that you set up a search, then the user would click on your competitor’s website in Google and then bounce instantly.
Next, a new search is being carried out by the same IP for the same keyword – but this time, your website is the destination, and the user would stay there for 3-5 minutes.
Conclusion and final thoughts
The stuff above is what I would call pure blackhat SEO. You can be sure that Google uses a lot of power to reverse engineer what is going on.
Google has flagged several proxy provider services because people used those proxies to manipulate SERP results.
If you think about what you are up against (Google), it is not that hard for them to discover those services that go out in public and offer those “click and search” services.
In reality, Google only needs to sign up for those services and run a few campaigns to a fake website – and then flag those IPś that visited that dummy website.
If you plan to stay in the SEO game, building a business or a brand doesn’t consider going down that route.
There is nothing wrong in my book trying to use data and AI to improve your rankings by giving Google and your users what they want.
Trying to manipulate Google is like a mouse playing with the cat – it gets nasty if you get caught.
Focus on beating your competitors with rock-solid content consistently – and focus on quality links.
That is the best way of building a brand that is going to last.
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