Web traffic truths: a warning on traffic scams

You want more traffic to your website, right? Offers to increase your website traffic may seem like pennies to pay, but be cautious. You could be victim to a web traffic scam. Website traffic services ask you to pay a fee, such as $20/ month, and in return you are promised a guaranteed increase in traffic to your site. However, this is not the kind of traffic you want. These visitors don?t really exist. Many times, these companies are sending your website a number of hits via a set proxy server. These servers are programmed to repeatedly visit your website and appear as a unique visitor. This type of traffic will only increase the number of hits to your site; it will not provide you with an increase in sales or subscribers.

What is a Traffic Scam?
A traffic scam provides the website owner with an artificial sense that, for a fee, the website will magically begin receiving high quality traffic. Au contraire. The hits brought about by these scams are of the worst quality, and none will yield a sale. How might you encounter a scam of this nature? Read on.

You’ve seen them before. These ads impose themselves in front of the site that you intend to browse. Though they were used more widely in the 1990s, there form has simply morphed into rollover or flying ads.

A bit more sneaky than popups, popunders do not appear until all browsers are closed. Just before you hibernate or shut down, there is an advertisement sitting on your desktop, waiting for your attention.

Fake hit machines
Not only are these sorts of machines real, but they are widely used. They setup scripts that change the referrer of a faked hit in order to appear as if it is real and coming from a true place.

Proxy hits
Noted by some as the dirtiest tactic of all traffic scams. Server proxy lists are put together, shared, and sometimes even sold to people for use as a mask to hide themselves while they spam, spoof hits or possibly even worse- like sending a virus.

How to spot a traffic scam
There is a simple way to determine if the hits you’re receiving are a result of a traffic scam. Look at your logs and note the amount of time your visitors are staying. The average person will stay at a page for some time before closing out or moving on. Compare your average user against some of the more suspicious ones. If you are visited by bots such as Google or Yahoo Slurp, these will identify themselves very clearly in your logs. This short visit is quite different from those of which to be suspicious. The unique visitor that stays 2 seconds and seems to stay only 2 seconds visit after visit is most likely a “fake” hit.
When researching a high-traffic company, don’t be fooled by high PR and Alexa rankings. These companies have been known to use fake hits to boost their ranking. Be cautious in judging well based on a company’s ranking; it is very hard to find a traffic provider that is not scamming to some degree.

How do I increase traffic if everyone is a scam?
While most of the “cheap hits” programs are scams, not every traffic-increasing company falls into that category. However, it is much more advisable to build the traffic yourself by building content targeted to your audience. By building as much content as possible, search engines will spider and then index your pages. Relative content will yield the results you seek. For example, if you put together articles related to your “items” and keywords appear in your article about these “items” and what they do, there is a greater chance when some one searches for “super items” that they will find your site.

Though these high traffic companies are tempting, the risk is high that you will be victim of a scam. Search engine algorithms require a lot of calculation, but the one thing that remains true is that content outweighs all other factors for increased traffic.