Updated: Apr 26
For a developing nation like Vietnam, digital marketing agencies that use dubious techniques to boost search results and followers are rampant.
This type of sketchy behavior in the digital marketing world is also known as "black-hat" marketing. It is essentially cheating techniques which will ultimately get you banned or have your reach cut by the various algorithms, once those platforms discover the real source of "success". A digital marketing agency might get hired to take on the entire digitization of a firm's needs and requirements. That means making the website live, connecting to social media and arranging for back-links to boost a sites SEO. However there are a few sketchy practices that customers should know about before contracting one of these firms.
One of the best ways for your website to increase its results in a google search is to get back-links.
A back link is a link from other websites that point at your website, which ultimately gets you higher authority in the search engines results. Paying for back-links has become common practice among dubious firms in order to get quick search results.
How can you check?
AhREFS backlink checker is a free tool which does an analysis of your websites SEO strength by checking exactly how many back-links your website has.
As an example, I did back-link research on a certain English school in Saigon that shot up in search results in a matter of months. Suspicious of such quick success I found the following results:
If you check the 2010-11 Ivorian crisis from the military wikia page the reference to this school, or anything related to learning English, is mysteriously absent. Furthermore why would an ivory coast war be related to an English test-prep-center based in Saigon, Vietnam?
2) Social Media Accounts with fake followers
When i started my food blog years ago, streatery.net, ( and that ladies and gentlemen is how you give yourself a legitimate back-link) everyone told me “why don't you just buy followers?”. I thought long and hard about why would, or wouldn't I, buy myself followers and boost my followers from 300 to 5000 in one day? As I delved deeper into the spider web that is digital marketing strategies I realized that engagement is one of the most important measurement tools to gauge true success in social media, and all digital marketing for that matter. Furthermore, if an account has fake followers it is likely that the engagement rate will be extremely low. That is undoubtedly because fake followers are exactly that, essentially ghost followers that are dead and will never like, comment or share a post.
How can you check?
Just as easily as with back-links. The first thing you have to understand is the engagement formula which can be applied to both Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Add up the likes + Comments + Shares of the last 7 posts ( excluding the latest one ) and divide that by 7 to get the average. Once you have the average divide that by the total number of followers you have. Than take that number and multiply it by 100, which will give you the final engagement rate.
What do you compare your engagement rate to? According to Scrunch, these are the standards to be measured against:
Less than 1% = low engagement rate
Between 1% and 3.5% = average/good engagement rate
Between 3.5% and 6% = high engagement rate
Above 6% = very high engagement rate
So we can do an experiment with a Facebook account which I found to have a suspiciously high rate of followers, considering they had only been up and running since January.
In the page ( sensitive information has been smudged ) above we see that they have an impressive following of 9078 people.
In one of their more higher performing posts they have 64 likes and 4 shares which I have taken, in order to plug into our formula. So now if we plug in this information to calculate their engagement, it looks like this.
Engagement clicks : 64 + 5 = 69
Engagement Calculation: 69/9078 = 0.007
Engagement rate: 0.007 * 100 = 0.7%
That means that 0.7% of your followers are engaging with your content. This can mean a few things:
1) your content is not engaging,
2) your content is outdated,
3) you haven't posted in over a month or longer
3) you have ghost followers.
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