Are ‘They’ Stealing Your Web Traffic With This Trick?

I got an interesting email recently, I was advised by a new website they’d acquired a database of 36,000 articles…and they wanted to know if any of my content was within it.

So I visited the site and I found they had indeed ‘acquired’ some of my articles. No big problem at first blush – that’s what article marketing is: you write great content and in exchange for someone else promoting your work, you get the bio box with active hyperlinks to your chosen web-page (great for increasing your web presence.)

However there was more to this…

They were stealing my traffic and here’s how they did it:

Generally publishing your article to an official article syndication site is safe, but there’s always someone out there looking twist things up a little. You see, most publishers do things properly – they search for relevant content and then they selectively review it and if it works for them, they’ll publish it. Great – that’s how things are supposed to work.

Then there are the other types of ‘publisher’…

They’ll harvest anything and everything and put it all on to a website…but that’s not the end of it. If they simply did that your articles would be ok. But no, these guys don’t want to create a content specific niche portal site, nah – these guys are looking for traffic to monetize and here’s what they do – they steal yours!

And here’s how:

They take your article content and they ALTER it. This is a MAJOR NO NO and is a violation of your rights and your terms of use. And get this, the way they alter it is dead sneaky. They don’t do it on their site… they do it JUST BEFORE THE PAGE IS SERVED UP (which makes it very hard for people to spot) by adding extra hotlinks to your article copy. If you want to know how they do this I’ll happily explain it because it involves some very clever programming and some underhanded tactics the search engines don’t approve of (but that’s another story for another day…)

Back to your altered article. So your article, which had a couple of links at the very end directing people to your website or product is now sending traffic away from you and over to them – because they stole your traffic by adding extra hotlinks to their chosen words.

And the really clever part is this, your article could be about gardening and lawn-care, and you made reference to a certain brand of lawn-mover in the content – these sneaky traffic stealers can dynamically turn that ‘lawnmower’ word into a hyperlink so it becomes clickable and steals your traffic and offers the lawnmower for sale! I’ll admit it’s clever, but it’s contrary to the spirit of the publishing exchange idea and another example of a writer getting the shaft!

This is big business.

There are some major players on the Internet promoting the technology to do this. In fact, they’re making a pretty penny selling the software to do this. Ironically the technology that performs this little miracle of traffic theft is freely available elsewhere (and I’m not telling you where…)

Anyway, ‘rant’ over. If you use articles to market your products and service (and you should – it rocks!) then you also need to protect your Intellectual Property. Remember, you are creating content to drive traffic to your product or service so when some else adds their links to your content they are in fact stealing your potential customers.

If you need to ’see’ what’s going on here, imagine this: You sell widgets from your store. You spent time and energy promoting your store, you have great advertising and people visit you regularly. Business is good. Then a competitor who doesn’t want to take the time to create valuable marketing and advertising promotions decides it’s easier to simply walk into your store, tap your prospect on the shoulder and while they’re walking them out of your store – they’re selling them their product!

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PS. If you think some scoundrel is hi-jacking your hard work, let’s talk!

A Simple Content Marketing Strategy

The Internet is a network of interconnected nodes of information (content.) The more densely interconnected the information becomes (the density factor) the more useful and valuable it is.

Data + Interpretation = “Meaningful” Information

Without ‘parroting’ the obvious, content (meaningful information) is what people seek online. And in all fairness what people really seek is an answer to some question. Further compounding the challenge is the fact people use words and phrases natural to them – not to a computerized search engine.

It’s quite the conundrum… What key unlocks the door to untold ’search’ riches?

Cornerstone Key Phrases

Keyword phrase demand and supply is at the cornerstone of content provision and armed with an understanding of the search terms, and the modalities of the user’s presentation (how a person perceives the world), you can begin to provide answers to their questions in the form of articles, white papers, blog postings, forum inserts and so on.

Writing is an art, and although most people think writing is easy they’d be incorrect in that assumption: bad writing is easy, good (or great) writing is hard work.

The Artful Dance

And writing to balance the needs of a human with the needs of a computer is an artful dance for sure.

But there is some relief, since the dawn of the Internet the search engines have aimed for purity of search. In other words the engines are attempting to understand the true meaning of your question so they can return the best possible answer.

This means that so long as you write truly to meet the needs of the people (and keep an eye on the engine requirements) you will undoubtedly be rewarded for your efforts.

The ‘Real’ Reason

Writing content so the engines find you is great, however the real reason for this publishing process is the embedded links back to your select sites. As you publish and share your content, those that pick up your work and republish it will also republish your links to your selected websites.

Article marketing (for this is essentially what this is) is incredibly powerful and results in a strong and wide web of connections and links back to your sites.

Of course you need to provide content that people want to read and share…

You’re Not A ‘Blue Chip’ Company, So Stop Copying Their Marketing!

‘Blue Chip’ or not, success isn’t necessarily tied to how good they are, but rather to repetitive advertising. Mega corporations of this world advertise to build distribution and brand awareness. They do ‘image advertising’ which melds certain emotional responses with their product, so you feel the same way too when you buy from them…

Soul For Sale

These large blue chip companies spend literally billions ‘buying’ your purchasing decision. GM spent over $3 billion just a few years back to make you hum “like a rock!” – And it worked. Brand marketing and institutional marketing works, but here’s the catch: you have to have a fortune to pull it off successfully. If you spent $3 billion on making people aware of your company, do you think you’d have issues with sales?

BS Alert!

It’s a fact most advertising is almost all fluff, puffery and unbelievable platitudes and generalities: cheapest, greatest, professionalism, quality, speedy, best and so on. You hear overused phrases like “We’re number one!” Oh yeah? These overworked phrases do nothing to impart anything unique about what you do and why your customer should patronize your business.

The Big Question…

Why would anyone want to waste marketing dollars hardly saying anything to anyone?

And the Answer Is…

It’s because the majority of us are following the wrong levels. We’ve been ‘trained’ to follow level 1 and 2 type businesses, when we (for the most part) are level 3.

There are 3 major levels of businesses serving our needs:

Level 1

…is the largest and represents the government. It is without a doubt the largest influence in our country today and is capable of changing the hearts and minds of almost all of us. You might also include religion in the mix as a level 1 influencer; however religion usually gets less involved in commercial activities.

Level 2

…businesses are the few thousand or so mega-corporations in the country. They are often large multinational chains and conglomerates and have billions to spend influencing your buying decision. These companies are the brand builders, the Titans of their own industries – some of their products are household names with decades of history and acceptance to back them up.

Finally there’s Level 3

…that’s you, me and practically every other business out there. Studies have indicated that most businesses (about 80%) are ‘small business’ – 80% of businesses operating successfully today are ‘level 3′ businesses.

Focus Is the Key

Level 3 businesses cannot rely on broad-based repetition-oriented advertising that builds brand awareness. It’s not that Level 3 businesses can’t or shouldn’t build brand awareness. And it’s not that they can’t spend a lot of money on advertising. They just can’t do it nationally on TV at $50,000 to $500,000 per 30-second spot. Level 3 businesses need to be more focused with their marketing in order to create successful action-oriented advertising.

We’ve Got it All Wrong!

You see, the problem we have is we’re exposed to level 2 advertising in our daily lives and because we see it ‘everywhere’ many people assume that’s how it’s done. Regrettably that is a dangerous assumption, and is often accompanied by a false sense of marketing know-how… “I’ve been immersed in this stuff my whole life, I must know something about it.”

Business Suicide

This line of reasoning is fine if you work for a level 2 company, but it’s business suicide if you’re a level 3 company and you copy a level 2 strategy. You simply don’t have the tenure, the history, the money, the resources and the staying power. Level 2 advertising is not about getting people to take action, it’s about the brand.

Take Action

Getting people to take action is critical for ALL level 3 businesses. It’s what keeps you operating. It’s about getting the prospect to move past that confidence gap and buy from you – to realize that your product or service is the perfect solution to their problem.

Be Direct

What all level 3 businesses must do is develop their marketing messages more directly. Target them where their prospects will see them. The messages must compel the prospect to do something – call in, visit the shop, check out the website, mail in a card, but do something. Move that prospect ever closer to saying “yes”.

Marketing Your Small Business Online: Strategy & Checklists ~ A kick-start presentation with printable checklists, course ebook & more. 

I’m a 3… are You?

Remember, level 2 is about building a feeling that is attached to a product or service, level 3 is all about action. You’re not ‘blue chip’ (yet) so don’t copy their advertising and marketing strategy – your bank account will thank you for it!

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PS. Remember, I’m in the business of helping you communicate your value in ways that make your perfect prospect notice you and then contact you. That’s good copywriting and I do that. Let’s connect!