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Arnold Ma

Disadvantages of Buying and Selling Google +1’s

30th Aug 2011 SEO 2 minutes to read

Google Plus OneThe big question is, will this affect your rankings in the Google SERPs?  Chances are it will, but as always, no one can be 100% certain of Google’s ranking algorithm. In their own words:

“This is just one of many signals Google may use to determine a page’s relevance and ranking, and we’re constantly tweaking and improving our algorithm to improve overall search quality. For +1’s, as with any new ranking signal, we are starting carefully and learning how those signals affect search quality.”

Since this is a new feature it’s no surprise that entrepreneurial internet marketers have already started creating businesses around the +1s.

PlusSEM (part of SEOshop) is a service that has already had some controversy.  The packages they are offering are simple: $19.99 for 50 +1s, $69.99 for 250 +1s and $359 for 2000 +1s.

On the surface this may seem like a good deal – a quick way of getting some social reinforcements for your website on Google’s SERPs – with possible ranking improvement to boot.  However, this kind of service is directly in violation of Google’s General Guidelines, and will eventually do more harm than good.

PlusSEM claims:

“Buying Plus Ones can help your site out by showing Google that the content featured on it or the page being Plussed is of value to real people and not spammy.”

You purchase this service getting people to spam +1s for your website, so your website does not look spammy?  Okay…

I found the below information about PlusSEM (in their own words) which was up for sale on Flippa about two weeks ago:

“Revenue comes in the form of you buying the Plus Ones up front then splitting them on the Resellers control panel into smaller sales. You can buy the Plus Ones for $0.10 in bulk.”

I don’t know how they can claim such stringent quality on the +1s they bulk buy for $0.10 each.

That aside, PlusSEM also claims the following about the Google +1s they deliver:

  • All +1’s come from people with a Google account that has been verified by phone (Phone Verified Accounts)
  • All +1’s come from real people.  No bots are being used!
  • All +1’s are being given by manually going to your website and clicking the +1 button
  • It’s untraceable because the +1’s are being given from different IP’s
  • All +1’s are dripped over a couple of days so it looks natural

Let’s read between the lines.  We all know Google is big on relevancy – it is a huge part of Adwords, there is no reason why they won’t incorporate quality and relevancy into the +1s as with Adwords. Thousands of random accounts – bulk purchased by PlusSEM – clicking on +1s in a few days is hardly relevant or of quality.

Last but not least, they claim the +1s will be “dripped over a few days so it looks natural”. Which means your website has no +1s for a few months, suddenly thousands in a few days, then nothing again for a while. Natural? You decide.

The long and short of it – Do not buy Google +1s. I cannot stress enough to stay away.  It’s just the latest in a long string of attempts to fool Google, which can only harm your long term strategy and in the past has never been an effective way to deliver results. It’s not certain if more +1s will boost your ranking at this stage, but it is certain that buying +1s will backfire on you.

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Arnold Ma
About the author

Arnold Ma

Arnold has a broad experience in both traditional and digital marketing. His degree in Internet Engineering gives him the perfect technical expertise for SEO and PPC. He writes about his experiences in both of these topics.


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