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5 SEO Manipulations You Need to Know

Profile photo of Josh MacDonald Submitted by Josh MacDonald March 14, 2016


Sites that use a SSL certificate show a lock in the address bar in the Chrome browser.

SEO is a fast paced industry with a lot of conspiracies and useless advice. Lately, certain strategies and tactics have been proven to positively influence your website. In this article, I will recap what I and many other full-time internet marketers have been using to funnel a strong channel of organic traffic to our sites. I’ve picked out 5 tactics that I believe are not taken seriously enough by the general public. Each point is linked to research or resources to help you learn these extensive subjects, as they are too much to cover in a single article.

Secure Sockets Layer

Since originally announcing it back in 2014, Google has been considering SSL a rising factor in SEO. Not all SSL certificates cost hundreds of dollars per year. Some non-profit organizations are now offering SSL certificates for free. While SSL certificates are not really needed unless you’re transmitting sensitive data, Google likes to see sites encrypting their user-submitted data. A dummy-proof way to check if your competitor has a certificate is to check if the URL starts with HTTP or HTTPS. If it’s HTTPS, then they have a SSL certificate.

 Long Tail Keywords

The first website I remember who full took advantage of long tail keywords was Mp3 Skull. They built their URL structure in such a way that user searches would index in Google. Generally, websites use URL parameters in a query string in their search function. However Mp3 Skull built their URLs in a way that made it look like every search was a static URL for an HTML page. rich snippets are becoming a huge factor in Google. Google does not only value sites which use structure, but also the click through rate will be higher since Google will display your website in a different and more attractive style than the other results. For example, if you run a site that displays events, has a style you can use. If you have a site that displays reviews, has a style to display the average review stars for each product. View the getting started guide on

Click-through rate

SERP CTR has been tested by many people, even Moz’s Rand Fishkin. Rand tweeted, asking for people to search a keyword and click his SERP. His ranking moved from #7 to #1. However, this doesn’t always work. Search Engine Land ran a study and didn’t have a similar positive experience. Like link building, you have to hold your work to a very high level of quality. Low quality links don’t work, and neither will low quality SERP clicks. Manipulations that involve proxies or fake clicks will not work. One option is to use a SERP CTR click exchange site or start a social movement that urges people to Google your keyword, like Neil Patel did.


When it comes to ranking for a keyword, parasites have never been more powerful. It’s been documented, that parasites can rank quickly in churn and burn campaigns. For example, page 1 of Google can be obtained in less than 2 weeks for 100,000+ monthly searches keywords. Parasites are properties like YouTube videos, Weebly sites, Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles and other popular websites that allow user generated content. They ride off the domain authority of the main domain, and because of this, you can send a large number of backlinks to the parasite without risking heavy penalty.

By using these 5 tactics, you can pivot your SEO strategy to a modern approach that will show itself in your organic traffic reports.

This post was originally published in by Josh MacDonald

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9 Responses to “5 SEO Manipulations You Need to Know” Leave a reply ›

  • Profile photo of Kevin Ross Profile

    Good post. I don’t do much of SEO because of the many ways Google tries to frustrate everyone, but some of the points you made here make sense.

    Sites which are secure should rank higher than those which are not, this makes sense that Google will make this part of the ranking factors.

    But won’t it make more sense if this is only for ecommerce or shopping sites rather than every type of sites?

    I read recently about too and agree that might be considered by Google in ranking sites now.

    Click through rates show good user experience, so it makes sense to be part of the ranking of sites today. This is the first time I am hearing of parasites.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

    Hey Josh,
    Its not surprising that SEOers are doing all they can to rank tops on the SERPs. Google’s updates that affect ranking changes every now and then, and its important to apply for strategies that will deal with ranking issues for good.

    Security of a site, user experience, good back linking, content and keywords are factors that readily affects good ranking from Google.

    The 5 tips shared here are in order. Nevertheless, I just have new insights about leveraging Parasites for better ranking!

    Thanks for sharing this piece!
    Sunday William recently posted…Who Is a Smart Content Marketer To You?My Profile

  • Profile photo of Celine Profile

    Hi Josh,
    At least, its good to know of what Google really needs for ranking! These manipulations readily helps businesses to access SEO rankings.

    Understanding them and their technicalities will go a long way to improve rankings for the business. Thanks for sharing this important detail.

  • Profile photo of Shamsudeen Adeshokan Profile

    Hi Josh,

    While I do agree with some of your points listed above, few I have to disagree with – and SSL as a ranking factors.

    Sure, Google do say something like these two will start to impact organic search engine ranking, but all to that was just in theory.

    In practical, we have seen these two search ranking factors impact have very tiny or should I say have next to nothing impact on ranking factors.

    What we’ve seen is links, and from all indications will remain so for a long time to come. Links are still the most effective search engines ranking factors.

    What now change is Google definition of what a credible link is, and the type of link that have the potential to help your online business for better search visibility.

    This is so necessary to understand and find out because all links are not created equally, so their worth or link juice are not the same.

    Clichthrough rate as you mentioned is for sure a ranking factor, and one Google take into consideration to determine the relevancy of a page to users query or use as a signal to attest to users satisfaction towards the content on the page.

    Thank Josh, nice meeting you here on Kingged.
    Shamsudeen Adeshokan recently posted…7 Proven SEO Copywriting Best Practices Guarantee To Increase TrafficMy Profile

    • Profile photo of Josh MacDonald Profile

      Wrong. Things like Schema increase your CTR which has been proven (and I talk all about this over at SERP Clix) to have a major effect on first page SERPs. It all goes into the same pot.

      SSL is pretty minor, but in competitive niches, it will move you around for sure. It’s only a sliver of the big puzzle.

  • Profile photo of Sarah John Profile

    Hi Josh,
    Its cool learning of the above SEO manipulations. From what I can tell manipulating SSL is more like manipulating security of the website.

    I some what I agree with Shamsudeen (@adeone79) that SSL and the schema are not readily ranking factors.

    Nevertheless, its cool knowing about how Parasite can be used to build backlinks without risking penalty.

    I still have to put the tips above into practice to get a hold of what truly matters for SEO rankings!

  • Profile photo of Tom Kimp Profile

    Hey Josh,

    Thank you for showing me these 5 SEO manipulations. You gave me new insights I wasn’t completely aware of. Things that can further my SEO efforts in the future.

    It’s always good to understand what Google wants and to follow those guidelines to ensure the best possible traffic for our websites.


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