Are SEO Gigs on Fiverr Any Good? I Spent Some Money to Find Out.
Over the last several years, I still see websites using terrible, utterly spammy SEO approaches that are actually helping them to rank. Every month, especially when there is news of “volatility” in the SERPs, I expect to see these guys crash and burn after a penalty, but alas, there they are ranking—all thanks to 425k blog comments that they sprayed across the internet.
How it is that they don’t get penalized is beyond me, but there they are, right in the money spots for some fairly competitive keywords. I know for a fact that one of these websites is run by the owner of a competitor of my client’s business, a person that has no SEO training beyond “links will get you to page 1.”
In January of this year, I decided to do a little experiment. Can I rank a website locally solely through Fiverr gigs?
This competitor of my client has been ranking his site by purchasing the following kinds of backlinks:
- profile links on websites that allow dofollow links
- massive amounts of blog comments
- links from nonsense articles hosted on servers in Russia
It would not surprise me if he were buying traffic as well, but there was no verifiable way for me to check that. I opted to purchase some traffic packages as well
I settled on the legal niche.
I do a lot of SEO work for law firms, so it is a niche that I am highly familiar with. This would also allow me to compare the results of my white hat efforts for local clients against the spam efforts that I put forward for this website. Additionally, SEO for law firms is notoriously competitive, and I thought that it would be even more powerful to rank a site in this niche than a less competitive one.
Since this website would technically constitute attorney advertising, I got a client to agree to allow me to use his phone number and contact info on the site just in case someone actually did contact him for representation.
I set up the site for my Fiverr SEO.
I didn’t want this site anywhere near my legit work, so I opened another hosting account and put up a WordPress site in about an hour (if I ever do this again, I’m going to hire a $50 Fiverr gig to do the site, which would make this an even better experiment). It was a responsive template that didn’t look that bad. I really put minimal time into creating content, so the copy was on the thin side, at around 200-300 words.
I bought my first Fiverr SEO gig ($6)
Sure, I’d love to get some links from Harvard, Berkeley, and Penn State! I also loved the fact that he was “Expert and Best Hi Quality Backlinks Provider” born and raised in the old U.S. of A. I placed my order, which was completed within a day or two. I received a spreadsheet with the urls of the links that were “created” including the following:
Impressive, right? I should be able to just sit back and let the visitors start rolling in!
Unfortunately, they were all forum profiles with a link to my new site and the anchor text that I was targeting. Six months have passed, and none of these links have shown up in my search console. Neither Majestic or Ahrefs ever found them either, so it really was a wash. Obviously, these pages are not getting indexed and I’m out $6. Could have bought a sandwich!
Since that was a wash, what about a Fiverr gig that actually gives me some metrics? ($21)
Ok, so here we have a gig that is going to give me 5 “PBN links” with a high TF and CF and a DA/PA of 25. I ordered the gig and got my report a few days later.
These were the domains that linked to my site:
Now, if Google just followed Majestic’s metrics to determine rank, I’d be happy with this. The gig cost $21 and got me a couple links from sites with metrics that weren’t that bad. Let’s take a look at the actual sites linking to me:
So this is less than ideal. The link that I purchased was for a “worker’s compensation lawyer in cherry hill,” but here it’s sitting next to blogs for testosterone injection therapy. I don’t know what Google is going to make of this, but it is typical of what the other four websites looked like.
I will add that after 6 months, all of these links are listed in my search console, so Google did crawl them.
What about a Fiverr SEO gig offering 150 links? ($11)
This one is 101% manual!
It’s Penguin and Panda safe!
What could possibly go wrong?
I put my order in and wait a few days. I’m dreaming of the torrent of cases that my client is going to get from the $50-something dollars that I’ve spent on Fiverr SEO.
I get the report and check the sites in Majestic
Again, by Majestic standards, it’s a mixed bag. Most are sites with no backlink profile to speak of, but a few do have some numbers in the 20s, so who knows? The one thing that I do know is that many of these links are also in my Search Console, so Google did crawl them. My takeaway was that I added a lot of super-spam links to my site, and if anything was going to get it penalized, it would be this gig.
Ok, let’s see how buying some Google Search traffic affects the site
So this service is going to search for my keyword, go to my website, and send signals to Google that my search result is best.
This has got to work, and it’s only $5!
I order, a few days go by, and I see a massive spike in visits… as well as a massive 99.9% bounce rate. This is definitely not going to be the signals that I was hoping to send to Google.
I contact the seller and share my concerns. She responds with an offer to provide some other services to make up for the mess that she made of my analytics.
I strongly advise against buying search traffic. These sellers do not care enough about your $5 or $10 gig to not cut corners and end up sending your bounce rate to the stratosphere and your dwell time to 00:00. Just don’t do it.
I stumble upon something that moved the needle ($6)
I tried a few other $5 gigs and other than seeing them affect my numbers in Majestic, I didn’t really see any other effects. I ordered one last gig from what seemed to be one of the most popular sellers and waited. Within a few days of buying this gig, my site was suddenly ranking on page 3-4 for the “workers comp” keyword variations that I ordered. I was quite shocked.
The sites that hosted the blogs looked spammy as hell (see right), but amazingly enough, there was a definite correlation between buying this gig and the site starting to rank locally for the keywords I was targeting.
Most of the links that I got from this gig are still listed in my Search Console and as I have checked a few of them, they all seem to be live still.
Flying high until March 21st.
We were ranking 17-25 for the keywords that we were targeting and had spent less than $100. That all ended when Google did something on March 21st, 2017. My impressions dropped to half of what they were, and as of June 14th, they haven’t gone back up. Now, I do recall training a new employee to work with the template that the site was built with around this time, and we did end up removing some content. It may have been a result of the changes that we made to the site, or it may have been the inevitable slap that Google decided to give us. I did notice that around this time, we stopped ranking for keywords that were often used as anchor text, so it was likely related to that.
My final opinion on Fiverr SEO gigs.
The vast majority will have no positive impact on your search rank at all.
There are a few in there that may help you in the short term, but long term, it is not an effective source for you to rank a website. Don’t waste your time or money.