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Facebook Has No Defence Against Black Hat Marketing

In this day and age, fake reviews and like jacking among other black hat marketing techniques are becoming increasingly popular. And from what I know TheMarketingHeaven.com is a major player when it comes to getting plays and likes. Like jacking is a Javascript manipulation which places a like button under a website’s visitor’s mouse when they are visiting a website. This allows websites to generate high quality and targeted likes on their Facebook page for free. If the visitor is signed into Facebook, and they make a click on your page, the visitor automatically and unwillingly likes the page. They are unaware of doing it.

Additionally, black hat marketers can purchase fake 5 star reviews on several marketplaces around the web. Both of these tactics are unfair and should be taken seriously by Facebook. However, Facebook shows zero interest in fighting the matter.

For example, I was looking at a page just today, it had 15,000 likes but 415 reviews. There are not many companies of that size who have that many reviews, especially products. Most companies that get this amount of reviews are local businesses or corporations where the customers are very opinionated. People generally don’t turn to Facebook to review products, but rather Amazon.

Unnatural facebook reviews to likes ratio

It doesn’t take a rocket science to notice that 80% of their reviews were made on the same day. Additionally 414 of the reviews are 5 star while just 1 is 4 star. That is far from natural. Even the best products in the world receive 1 star reviews.

Fake facebook reviews

I went to an inner page on their website, and there was a popup box. I closed it out. After doing so, I went to their Facebook page, to see that their website used a like jacker to like their page on my behalf.

Liked facebook page

When it comes to fighting against these black hat marketing techniques, there are not many options. Facebook allows you to report pages, but none of the options available really suit the given situation.

Report facebook page options

Additionally, when you try to report a single review, there is no option to report it.

Report facebook review

When I confronted them about these techniques, their responses were pretty typical. First they blamed it on their competitors. Once I accused them of like jacking on their own website, they pretended they didn’t know it was against Facebook terms of service.

It’s a shame that Facebook really doesn’t have the options available for users to report matters like this. Sure, if you dig around you can find a Facebook contact but does the average member know that? Absolutely not.

By hardly putting up a fight against black hat marketing techniques, there is very little risk to doing techniques like these. If they had a proper reporting system in place, black hatter may think twice before using these techniques but as of right now, there’s no sign of them stopping.

How To: Increase Search Counts For A Keyword

Have you ever had a keyword that you wanted to boost the search count for? Now you’re asking me, now Josh what are the possible advantages or benefits to doing so? I don’t know all of them but let me name a couple.

  • You could increase your search count so it appears in the Google instant suggest, and people can find your spelling easier.

  • You could do it so your keyword traffic reports show more organic traffic than normal. The advantages to having proof that lots of people search your brand name are many.

To increase search counts, you need to hire a pool of clickers from a company like SerpClix to search your keyword and click to your website.

Do High Authority Sites Really Boost Your SERPs?

I’ve argued it time and time again, on both sides of the story. I have journalists connections and was an affiliate for Tech Crunch backlinks and other top news sites. I’ve also considered buying such links myself and have earned dofollow links in the DA (domain authority) 80-90 range.

I’ve come to the conclusion that contextual links will help, based on the moderation of the blog. Two sites of similar domain authority may hold completely different power. In fact, a site with very tight moderation and a DA of 30 can easily hold more link value than a DA 60 blog with multiple lightly moderated writers.

Will a Venture Beat link put you on page one of Google? Nope. As with anything in SEO, it comes down to the big picture. If you have a 3 year old site with 50 refferring domains and get a VentureBeat link, it will show more value than a new site.

Many times, the value of paying $1500 for a Forbes link is in the branding. You can now put that fat banner on your site that says “AS SEEN ON FORBES” and wow all of your visitors.

I talked with a regular writer at Entrepreneur (who became a writer from an introduction, if you’re wondering). He said even though his staff posts multiple times per week, and his business is very established, he can’t recall ever getting a lead from there. It’s all a branding play. The traffic and the SEO value are not the main benefit from these links. For the price of a $1500 link, you could get lots more useful content in many forms, or if you’re into black hat SEO, you could build an awesome blog network that would skyrocket your rankings.

The point is, in many cases, there are better way to do what you’re trying to. That’s not say these links are bad for everyone, but when you’re talking 4 figures for a single link, you really have to know what you’re doing. It won’t pivot your SERPs.

How to Secure Your VPS Server With SSH Keys

Since this is a marketing blog, I will keep my technical tutorials geared towards marketing professionals and entrepreneurs. Most of us own a virtual private server and hire programmers to upload work on our VPS. If you’re on Digital Ocean, using a password to login via SSH poses a great security threat since Digital Ocean IPs tend to face tens of thousands of brute force attempts every day. You should disable password login, and enable SSH keys to login.

First, get the user/freelancer to create a SSH key by following this Digital Ocean tutorial and have them send you the RSA key. It will look something like this:

ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAdf43dfSQABAAABAQDMu7E98pcHhLfwkF43fSitIx8n8/4Xx5lJdk232fDSWE1NE53WbhaH8p7jrOk2sjNE6KFzj697vaEWSfp3ZK4GVPpn0Kf3nJioBszqor6+ck6ckFek423RY+SN65jBm4e3GOE5ArdMPAzel9Nr0bV83QhRycqqLRDsd4iK+vcfe2OSbsJ1DSFk3kerkzWoFC3ogsXS5xj3ZlQK+Y0xHq1bdjsr34fdf34Fw4jejrdfslk492fn4jn23jRU0jk7jQ/VVzOgX4emh/7pD9IoiAY/RkLkzvgoK72N+cvNbHUrpUwqwYuC8ynKW+vr8gjRRnaDRdfj92mfm39wkm293 mohmed@mohmeds-MacBook-Pro.local

Secondly, you need to create a user on the server.

useradd <username>

Thirdly, you then need to add this string on a new line by first running su to get access to other user’s folders:

su

Then, you need to edit this file and add the string above to the last line of this file:

vim /home/username/.ssh/authorized_keys

To write and quit the editor, type:

:wq

Now you are all set. The third step is often where most people mess up. Digital Ocean offers an interface on their website to add SSH keys but I’ve never had luck using this.

A Lucrative Business Any College Student Can Start

I’m asked on regular basis, what is an easy way for a college student to make money. Well, the easiest way to make money is by offering something that is in very high demand and offer it at a fair price. You’ll make lots of money. In college, there are lots of students who, instead of focussing on the clep study guide, are desperate to make money in their spare time. Most students don’t have the luxury of a schedule that permits a part time job with scheduled hours.

The easiest way for a college student to make money is by freelancing. However, you’re probably wondering what kind of skills you can find on campus. Pretty much all students, regardless of their major, are essay writers and a fair chunk of them are good at it. Skilled English writers are hard to find in an economy where we outsource everything to offshore workers. They don’t have the English ability that we do.

A good student can likely pump out 1000 words in an hour. Article writers are paid anywhere from $2 to 6 per 100 words. Even if you only pay the student half the profit, you can easily scale this business across many writers and build something worthwhile. If you can sell a modest 5000 words per day at $4 per 100 words, that’s $200 per day in revenue.

Another talent you can find is programming. Second year computer science students are worth a lot of money in the workforce. They are at the turning point in their career where they are reaching the skill level to be employable. A couple loyal programmers can be the basis of an excellent in house programming service.

Now, you’re probably wondering where you should find these students. The easiest way is to post in your school’s Facebook group. Most schools have a group for jobs and internships. Message them and find out who feels reliable and has the best communication with you.

So lets say you’ve found the students. Where are you going to promote your services? The best place is online forums. There are tons of marketing forums out there that are always looking for services. Warrior Forum would be one of many options to list a thread. If you need help finding more places to offer your services, just shoot me a Tweet or email.

By offering writing or programming services online, you can fill a very large gap in the demand these services have.

How to Manipulate Domain Metrics

Question: How do I get a domain authority or trust flow above 50 without getting penalized by Google?

Spam a buffer site redirect that blocks search engines from crawling it!

Watch this video on YouTube.

Method 1:
robots.txt:
User-agent: googlebot
User-agent: yahoobot
User-agent: microsoftbot
Disallow: /

index.html:
<html>
<META http-equiv=”refresh” content=”3;URL=http://www.joshmacdonald.net/”>
<a href=”http://www.joshmacdonald.net/”>http://www.joshmacdonald.net</a>
</html>

Method 2:
.htaccess:
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} googlebot|yahoobot|microsoftbot [NC] RewriteRule ^.*$ – [R=403,L] Redirect 301 / http://www.joshmacdonald.net/

How I Learned to Code and How You Can Too

There’s no way to go about it, coding is an in demand skill and is at the heart of the tech industry which  has thousands of unfilled jobs every year. Many people are afraid to learn or just don’t have the discipline. Companies like Code.org have started initiatives like Hour of Code which organize events teaching students from all walks of life how to code. Hour of Code shows every student, boy or girl, that they can learn to code too. I’m now in a 3rd year Computer Science program and love what I do. Here’s how I did it.

I started messing around with code around grade 9, the beginning of high school. I didn’t actually know what I was doing until I took a class in grade 10 on it. I got 95% and another pair of 95s when I took the grade 11 and 12 version. Before then, I thought the key was reading books. I have several 500+ paged textbooks on Java, C++, C# and many other languages. The key to learning to write code is practice. You have to apply what you’ve read or learned or you’ll forget.

On another note, I spent way too much time worrying about which language to learn. Oddly enough, know I know several programming languages. The semantics between the languages are similar… there are if/else statements, variables, loops and objects. The only thing that really changes is the syntax… the brackets, the semicolons, the parenthesis, etc.

When I taught my sister and girlfriend to code, both of them had no idea or confidence that they could do it. I assured them that they can do it. I told them to register on Codecademy.com and start doing the lessons. Choose Python as your beginning language, and read the couple sentences and do the quiz. Each lesson requires you to apply your knowledge, which is why this method works.

Once you’re done the course, move on to creating your own projects. Try to apply what you’ve learned, use the Python documentation and third party libraries to get what you want done. You may have expected a big secret, but there is none. The only thing I could possibly call a secret is the fact that you need to practice what you’ve learned so that you actually remember what you’ve learned.

How I Generate Endless Freelance Work

So many freelancers sit on Upwork all day bidding on jobs. I started freelancing about 6 months ago, and I already have more work than I can handle, turning much of it down. I have no problem getting endless hourly jobs in the $25-50 USD per hour range. Being 20 years old, that’s not so bad.

The first step is to work with someone who has connections. Build out a simple project for them, and do it for dirt cheap. 20 hour job for $200. The key is, they’ve got to be a somebody. They have to have clients and the ability to refer you to others when they are given the chance. You likely know someone already who has this ability. Just help them out and they’ll treat you well.

I did this, and I was referred to a Wall Street Journal featured company who raised a $25,000,000 funding round earlier this year. The referrals just keep growing and the hourly rate keeps going up.

Also, do the first projects through Upwork (formerly Elance and oDesk). This will get your profile from 0 ratings to 1 or 2 ratings with 5 stars. This will be enough to generate jobs with a good cover letter. Explain why you’re better than the rest and you’ll win that job. You won’t ever rely off Upwork completely. It will help you get a few jobs, grow your portfolio, get experience and build a name. I imagine the amount of people that make $100k+ per year through the Upwork system is low because they eventually move off the system and work with the same repeat customers over and over.

By doing jobs for cheap initially, and getting some easy reviews on freelancing sites like Upwork, you’ll have no problem getting coding work.

Why Learning to Program Changed My Life

When I started out, I didn’t have much money or skills. It was tough to create value. I didn’t have the mindset or skills to get paying clients. I struggled to freelance write in high school, before finally being able to afford a programmer to help build out a software that went on to sell 6 figures, called Keyword Scout.

After that, I decided to push myself to learn to program. Programming not only offered the option to have a steady income from freelancing, but it also gave me an opportunity to create value for clients who didn’t know how to program. It’s a different feeling knowing there are thousands of software ideas out there and they’ll all make me money, as the clients are begging for them.

I no have so many options and opportunities open to me. Any time I want, I can sit down, build out a great product that will turn into a chunk of change. It’s a different feeling when you have such an in demand skill. It gives you so much confidence in your business.

Knowing how to program has now given me the option to hire programmers to work under me, leaving me with the small task of checking over their code for quality and knowing exactly what I’m paying for. In this industry, it’s so easy to get scammed but it’s nice to know that I know what I’m paying for. I can literally pay someone $1200 to build out a software system in 4 weeks, test it and review the code, and turn this system into a 4 figure per month income. When the product creation is handle, that just leaves marketing to me, which I love, and if it’s a good product, it will handle a lot of marketing by itself.

This entire process just leaves it to, getting the idea and validating it by talking to prospective buyers, then writing the spec and hiring the coder. I basically then just review the code and what I’m paying for, and bring it to market. More of my failed products were in the product creation step, but that’s now automated. I’d lose interest after coding for 200 hours when I was only halfway done. I’m motivated but easily distracted to something else.

How to Get Wikipedia Backlinks That Actually Stick

Getting Wikipedia backlinks can be very difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing. In this 14 minute video, I go over exactly what you need to do to be worthy of a Wikipedia backlink.

Here are the major points I address in the video:

  1. How to find articles that need your reference link. Not all articles need a link and most won’t stick if you put the links in a random article. There are signals we look for when finding a spot to put the backlink.
  2. What exactly needs to be done to place the link. This involves learning the basic Wikipedia syntax and adding value. You can’t simply just add a link, but you must also change the article, and add valuable content that displays your knowledge on the subject.
  3. Whether you should be logged in or edit as a guest. When to edit as a guest and when to use your account. Also, how to build authority to your Wikipedia account.
  4. I also touch on making a Wikipedia page. If there’s more interest in learning how to do it, and given there are enough readers with aged and authoritative Wikipedia accounts, I can make a video teaching it. Right now, I’m doing freelance writing where I’ll place your company on Wikipedia if it’s noteworthy and fits the Wikipedia guidelines. I’m familiar with Wikipedia syntax and non-promotional writing style requirements.

Here are some of the wikipedia footprints we used in the video:
“citation needed” food recipes site:wikipedia.org
“This section does not cite any references (sources)” food recipes
“This article possibly contains original research” food recipes

Here is the format your citations should follow:
<ref>{{cite web|title=Malaysian Cuisine: A Case of Neglected Culinary Globalization|author=Kosaku Yoshino|url=http://icc.fla.sophia.ac.jp |page=3 |publisher=Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture, Tokyo |accessdate=2 May 2014}}</ref>

Watch this video on YouTube.

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