I’ve been looking at websites for over 8 years, and have developed quite a keen sense of what constitutes a real or a fake blog.
One thing I’ve noticed is, it is getting harder to tell the difference because it is very easy to fake things like social proof, by simply buying cheap fans and engagement.
And, it is easier to set up a good looking site or blog as well because there are just so many great free templates and great, free website builders.
What is a fake blog?
A fake blog is one that has been set up along with around 200 more fake blogs for the purpose of pumping out low quality content and profiting from it.
One webmaster and several hundred blogs does not lead to high quality editorial standards and fully researched and accurate information. Fake blogs are not the types of places you want to go to in order to research what is the best holistic health diet to follow, or what herbal medicine is available for your toddler.
There is no integrity on these blogs. The owners don’t care if you get the right information, just that you click a link and buy something. Or, if you are a company that you pay to be featured on the site for SEO purposes.
Why should you avoid working with fake blogs?
Its obvious why you wouldn’t want to take health advice from these blogs, but what about guest posting?
With the recent announcement of Rank Brain, a system which Google can use to look at the quality metrics of websites - including time on page. It has become even more important for webmasters not to be associated with these kinds of low quality sites.
If Google takes a look at your backlink profile and can tell that you’ve been associating with these types of blogs then it is a definite indicator that you have been link building against Google’s guidelines. If you are not penalised then at best these links will be discounted and with it your hard earned rankings will drop and no-one wants that.. not even this lady.
So, do not work with fake blogs. They don’t provide any additional benefit further than a link and purely guest posting for links is a risky, risky business.
To help you build up you fakedar let’s go through the subtle signs of a fake blog now.
5 Subtle Signs Of A Spammy Or Fake Blog
If you land on a blog and the template is one that you’ve seen literally everywhere then it is very likely to be a fake blog. Webmasters that create these blogs need to create a lot of them cheaply and quickly.
They won’t put very much effort into the look of the website but instead just buy a free template and upload a ton of low quality content to make it seem like this is a blog that has been around for a while.
Often, the design is one that has a lot of categories set up, so it seems like there is a wide variety of content which makes it feel more aged. But, on closer inspection you’ll notice that one post will be in multiple different categories. You might also notice that the last post was uploaded several months, or even years ago.
Be wary of blogs which use generic templates!
2. Too much social proof everywhere
Have you ever been to a networking event or a party and there’s that one guy that can’t stop going on about how amazing he is and all of the great stuff he has been up to? He’ll be name dropping and talking about all of his latest achievements, you just can’t get a word in. How do you feel listening to that?
It doesn’t feel natural does it. It feels forced, like he’s trying to prove something. It’s the same on a blog. We’ve all heard that social proof is a good way to show you are an expert, and it is. Having social media numbers and shares visible on your blog is a good way to make visitors feel like they are not alone in coming to you for advice.
However, be wary of the unknown blogger who has been featured in every single top publication, who has several thousand homepage shares and displays all of their social media follower counts (which by the way are all huge).
3. Social media icons which redirect to the homepage
Another subtle sign of a fake blog is if the social media profile buttons don’t link anywhere. Very often the site appears on face value to be legit but when you click on the social media icons they redirect back to the homepage.
This shows that the webmaster has set up a generic template, imported content and not even bothered to make sure the links work properly. Make sure you click through and check that the blog does in fact have some kind of a social media presence.
4. No visibility of the owner
I’m pretty proud of Ginger Marketing, and I’m proud to put my name to this company and this blog. Of course, I’m not yet at the level that I want to be, there is always room for improvement and growth and I try to improve with every single client, placement, blog post & interaction. But, what I produce is to the best of my ability in this moment. That should be the case of the types of people you want to associate with for Digital Marketing purposes.
There are many, many nameless blogs out there with owners who are not proud of the work they are doing and so don’t want to be associated with it. If you land on a blog which does not have any description of who runs it then be wary! This could be a fake blog.
5. Traffic but no engagement
It’s gotten quite easy now to fake traffic. Yep, that’s right, it is possible to actually fake traffic now! With sites like Traffic Junkie and others bloggers can game the system and just drive traffic to their site. Looking at pure traffic metrics is no longer an indication of a high quality blog or website.
This is the reason I talk so much about engagement metrics and how important they are. It is vitally important that you work with blogs and websites who have a real audience. Even if this audience is small, it is still an audience and that is what counts.
Growing traffic takes time, especially with so much competition. So, be wary of any site that has managed to build high traffic in a short period of time - especially if no-one engages with their content.
We hope you've enjoyed this post! As usual let us know in the comments below.
Written by Cheryl A Clarke Chief Happiness Officer & Director Of Ginger Marketing (unless stated otherwise)