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Why is viralnova.com so popular? In only a few months they got to alexa 1000.

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by worldismine, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. worldismine

    worldismine Regular Member

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    1. It's a wordpress. (not that it's bad, just saying... not a lot of work there)
    2. It does not even have a menu. (not that it matters, just saying how simple the site is)
    3. It has around 800-900 posts, 50/50 images with text.
    4. FB fanpage only 500k

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/viralnova.com

    HOW.... IN .... THE ....HELL?

    Some people say its mostly fb traffic, I don't believe it.
     
  2. stretch361

    stretch361 Junior Member

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    I can guarantee you its almost ALL facebook traffic. I actually did a pretty big study on that specific site to try and determine how they got their traffic (in an effort to emulate of course). Really the secret sauce is this:

    - I've been able to detect at least 3-4 "feeder" facebook pages. Those pages already have significant likes to the pages. Pretty much, they post random images, then nothing but viralnova links. So, every time viral nova makes a new post, they put links on those feeder facebook pages. Immediately, just off those pages, the post is sent to 500,000+ facebook fans. I imagine they have more that I haven't detected yet. I have a feeling they bought them.

    - Most of their growth happened before Facebooks algo changes. For a while, every new post would hit the top of the newsfeeds - especially if there were a lot of likes and / or shares. (See my next two points on this)

    - Along the line, they started changing their headlines to clickbait people on facebook. Their initial headlines didn't do it when they started the site. Around page 40 or so you can see a drastic shift in the headlines. They make the headlines specifically to make you curious to click on the link.

    - They also solely focus on heartwarming, "shocking", cute, humanity, etc. Basically anything that looks like it will have people wanting to share / like it, they posted it. I imagine they may have used previous social signals before they even post anything. Everything on their site is rehashed content from other sites. Some of it is breaking stuff, some of it is years old they dug up and "re-introduced".

    - The site is designed to push people to share the content on facebook. As you can tell, they've basically ignored all other social signals on their site.

    That's really the basics of it. What I haven't quite been able to figure out is how they STARTED it. I don't know if they immediately bought the feeder sites, and pushed the content that way, if they did FB advertising as "seeds", had multiple fake FB accounts to push the content, or did other methods. I can tell you, it wasn't SEO from the start.

    I did this research, because I worked on building a competitor. However, Facebook's latest algo update (the one a couple weeks ago) started pushing down all of viralnova's content along with buzzfeed, distractify (which is another crazy one to look at - 28 million visitors on the 2nd month), and upworthy. I decided to hold off on pushing the site (I actually have it created, with one article so far) to see how the facebook algo is affecting those sites. Just from personal observation on facebook, prior to the change, I would see posts in my personal newsfeed from those sites like mad. Now, I have to scroll a lot to see them. I have a feeling that algo update severely impacted all of those sites. I haven't done a ton of research to validate this, as I've been working on other projects instead.

    Hopefully this helps explain...and if anyone else has good insight on this - have at it!
     
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  3. Helion

    Helion Newbie

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    Viral Content Sharing websites are the a rage just like autoblogging was back in the days. And with trends - you are never in total control of your traffic.
     
  4. meashis

    meashis Regular Member

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    @ first i guess content of page that makes people to share in social sites :) it was worth to have a look at those contents.
     
  5. Beven

    Beven Elite Member

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    That was a good read, thanks stretch.
     
  6. tony_d

    tony_d Elite Member

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    I'm not suggesting that it's happened in this case, but, alexa ranks are relatively manipulable...
     
  7. stretch361

    stretch361 Junior Member

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    Yeah, the content itself is what drives the traffic once the base is fed. If you don't have viral stories, it makes this strategy not work very well.
     
  8. stretch361

    stretch361 Junior Member

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    Yeah, it definitely didn't happen in this case. There are stories written on this site based on the traffic, and how much money this guy is making. There's another viral site that came on the scene in July, and has already banked nearly $200k.
     
  9. web genius

    web genius BANNED BANNED

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    it need not be the actual content people are looking i guess they posted links to fb using other popular images or topics that were on-going
     
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  10. ipodtouchhackerisher

    ipodtouchhackerisher Senior Member

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    Wow some good read here, i have been curious as well.
     
  11. SEOWizard123

    SEOWizard123 Newbie

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    Good analysis Stretch. Lots to think about.

    Along those lines, discovered another similar site: reshareworthy. Alexa shows they are doing really well in a short time.

    They've copied Viral Nova's layout and each post gets liked a lot, sometimes in the thousands (a recent post on the Super Bowl Budweiser commercial already has 27k likes). Yet, their Facebook page only has 3k likes. That already seems odd.

    My guesses:

    1. They pay people to share. Lots of their fans seem to share a link in related comments sections of similar Facebook pages. This itself isn't noteworthy. But when you go back to the commenter's Facebook though, they share a LOT. More than most.

    2. This is not a great guess, but does po.st URL shorteners give you access to large network of sharers? Their FB share button first accesses a po.st URL, then goes to Facebook.

    3. They are working with the ShareThis site? Advertising there? Hypersharing? ShareThis seems to be just buttons, is there something more there?

    Well..actually that's all my guesses. LOL. But even paying people to share won't grow likes that fast. What they are doing is puzzling.

    Any ideas?
     
  12. seocrab

    seocrab Senior Member

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    great bit of research stretch361, thanks
     
  13. aka sam

    aka sam Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    this is really weird ...that viralnova site hitting 390 Alexa...which is lower than BHW...Really need to poke my nose there..

    you can manipulate alexa till one extent.. but not that much.
     
  14. Tealover

    Tealover Junior Member

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    Great research, stretch361.
    In fact this is just pinterest+adsence method but scaled up and used with fb, isn't it?
    The main problem is content. And I strongly belief that owner just collected a pool of stories and published them. There are about 117 pages of site, with 10 articles on page, so it's less then 1170 articles+pictures. And I've seen many of them in past.
    But this example shows us the power of social.
     
  15. SamJones

    SamJones Registered Member

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    Well, for one, they have over a million Facebook likes. They don't even have a menu? Well, the content of the site doesn't need to be categorized, therefore, they don't need one. It's not necessary to use categories. And, btw, they do have the necessary contact and about pages, which are far from perfect, but they'll do. On top of all that, they have and publish a ton of decent clickbait articles. This kind of a crap works very well for social media.
     
  16. naweed

    naweed Junior Member

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    what do you mean by "feeder" facebook pages? Do you mean fb pages that post their content?
     
  17. JoeMongan

    JoeMongan Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I really think they are gaming alexa with a flood of bot traffic since Alexa does not catch up on fake traffic.

    -RK
     
  18. Laubster

    Laubster Senior Member Premium Member

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    TONS of FB traffic, lots of sharing, and really enticing headlines that make people want to click. I know: I'm one of them.
     
  19. quick_11

    quick_11 Newbie

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    *bump*

    I've set up a clone of ViralNova and bought some likes.
    What do you think is the best way to start such a site?
    Buy FB fanpages in the niche? FB ads?
     
  20. Paper-Boy

    Paper-Boy Elite Member

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    Very interesting case study. Glad someone bumped this. Always wondered how it all came about...