SEO and SEM for Russian search engines

Spammy Yandex SEO techniques: faking behavioral factors

In my last post I wrote how important the behavioral factors are for SEO for Yandex. Researching that subject more, I stumbled upon very curious piece of software called “Userator”. This software is supposed to simulate users’ behavior and by that improve your positions in Yandex.

Obviously it is a very spammy thing. Moreover, most probably it is a scam, however one can’t be 100% sure here. Not so long ago Yandex made an official statement (in Russian) that they are aware of these kind of software, consider it being spam and will penalize websites trying to fake CTR and other behavioral factors by using bots. That makes one think that these softwares might actually work, and since Yandex cannot identify which clicks are ”real” and which are ”fake”, they are just trying to scare spammers. Who knows.

The idea of the Userator system is stupid simple. They recruit people, who get paid for installing Userator software on their computers and delivering fake clicks to the sites in the system (done by the software; the owner of the computer has no idea what is happening in the background and can use his/her computer as usually). People get paid for doing nothing = Great! Always works in Russia…

For the clients Userator does the following:

a) Simulates clicks from Yandex/ Google/ Rambler SERPs for desired search queries and ”stays” on the website for a period of time. The length of stay can be configured in the system. This also gave spammers the idea to use Userator to hurt the competitors’ websites by configuring the system to bounce from their pages ranking for the same key terms.

b) Simulates clicks to the client’s website from links on other sites (client’s backlinks), by that ”strengthening” the links and making them more trustworthy. Again, everything here is configurable.

At the moment the Userator thing reports over 6000 client websites (not much) with over 46 000 search queries in use. Clicks are driven to these websites from 2,5k different IPs. The fake users stay on clients’ sites for about 20 minutes on average.

I tried to find reviews or blog entries about using Userator as a part of SEO strategy, but didn’t come across anything sufficient, apart from this happy user, if that was a real user at all (in Russian)…

For all of us these new behavioral factors, unlike links, are something intangible. It is hard to estimate the effect of better CTR and longer average time spent on a site. No one really knows if faking user behavior is worthwhile. I firmly believe it’s useless and will hurt more than help, sooner or later. Quality sites, good content, strong incoming links and usability are the things that are really important for SEO. Having all that, the behavioral factors will come naturally.

Or what do you think? ;-)

Anna Oshkalo

Anna is a blogger and online marketing consultant specializing in SEO and SEM for Russian search engines. To see more of Anna's posts, follow her on Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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