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Scammers Are Using Fake Job Ads to Steal People’s Identities

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Fake Job Ads to Steal People’s Identities

by Cezary Podkul

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

It has become a ubiquitous internet ad, with versions popping up everywhere from Facebook and LinkedIn to smaller sites like Jobvertise: Airport shuttle driver wanted, it says, offering a job that involves picking up passengers for 35 hours a week at an appealing weekly pay rate that works out to more than $100,000 a year.

But airports aren’t really dangling six-figure salaries for shuttle drivers amid some sudden resurgence in air travel. Instead, the ads are cybercriminals’ latest attempt to steal people’s identities and use them to commit fraud, according to recent warnings from the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission and cybersecurity firms that monitor such threats. The U.S. Secret Service, which investigates financial crimes, also confirmed that it has seen a “marked increase” in sham job ads seeking to steal people’s personal data, often with the aim of filing bogus unemployment insurance claims.

“These fraudsters, they’re like a virus. They continue to mutate,” said Haywood Talcove, chief executive of the government division of LexisNexis Risk Solutions, one of several contractors helping state and federal agencies combat identity theft. (ProPublica subscribes to public records databases provided by LexisNexis.)

This particular mutation is an emerging threat, Talcove and others said. The numbers are small so far, but they’re rapidly increasing. In March, LexisNexis detected around 2,900 ads touting unusually generous pay, using suspicious email domains and requiring that one verify one’s identity upfront. The total had grown to 18,400 by July, and then to 36,350 as of this month. Talcove said these figures are based on a small sample of job ads and that the real number is likely much higher.

This form of scam is surging at a moment when targets for job application fraud abound. Millions of Americans are quitting jobs and looking for new ones. An all-time high percentage of workers — 2.9% — quit their jobs in August, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Meanwhile, huge numbers of laid-off workers are still looking for work, making for a historic churn in the labor market.

Also Read: Cyberattacks | Local governments are attractive targets for hackers

The ads reflect a tactical adjustment by cybercriminals. A massive wave of unemployment insurance fraud during the pandemic prompted authorities to heighten identity verification requirements. In most U.S. states, cybercriminals can no longer simply input stolen identity information into government websites and frequently collect unemployment insurance aid. Now, applicants whose names are used to apply for unemployment benefits often need to verify on their phones that they’re the ones seeking assistance, a process similar to two-factor authentication.

That means scammers may need help from their victims — and sometimes they go to elaborate lengths to mislead them. Some fraudsters recreate companies’ hiring websites. One fake job application site uses Spirit Airlines’ photos, text, font and color code. The phony site asks applicants to upload a copy of both sides of their driver’s license at the outset of the process and sends them an email seeking more information from a web address that resembles Spirit’s, with an extra “i” (spiiritairline.com). Spirit Airlines did not respond to requests seeking comment.

Other job scams are less elaborate and have more visible signs of inauthenticity. One fake ad for airport shuttle drivers on Facebook was posted by a woman who purported to be working at Denver International Airport. Diligent readers may have noticed that the only location linked from the woman’s Facebook profile was a Nigerian city called Owerri. (A spokesperson for the Denver airport reported the profile to Facebook after an inquiry by ProPublica, and the ad is no longer active.)

In other instances, unsolicited job offers simply land in applicants’ inboxes after they’ve uploaded their résumés to real job search sites, which scammers can access if they pose as potential employers. Jeri-Sue Barron has received a slew of emails since the start of the pandemic informing her that she was preapproved for a variety of jobs she hadn’t even applied for. Barron, a retiree in suburban Dallas, had uploaded her résumé to several job hunting sites in hope of finding some part-time work to supplement her Social Security income. She then received multiple job offers with nary a request for an interview. One email originated from a school in India’s Kerala state; another came from a Croatian website she’d never heard of. “They started coming in from places that were weird,” said Barron. “You almost don’t want to find out the next stage.” She ignored the offers.

As with fake unemployment claims more broadly, the fraud is being facilitated by an underground infrastructure, including online forums where cybercriminals share advice on how to perfect their techniques. A person using the handle “cleverinformation” on a U.K. forum called Carder put together a how-to video that recommends posting fake job ads using a generic job application that can be modified to collect personal data. In September, someone going by “mrdudemanguy” on another forum, known as Dread, offered this advice to a person seeking stolen identities: “Pretend to be a local business and post some job ads. When they send in their résumé, call them and ask some basic job application questions. Make them think they’ve got the job as long as they can do a background check. For the background check request they send you photos or scans of ID documents.”

In response to a query from ProPublica, mrdudemanguy did not answer questions about sharing fake ads and instead focused on explaining the source of his recommended technique and its success. “I have not tried this method myself,” he wrote. “It’s just a method that I know other people do and it does work. It can be done in any part of the world, the country does not matter. As long as the job ad looks legitimate, a person looking for a job will be likely to apply.” Questions sent to cleverinformation yielded a similar response. “It’s effective,” the person said, noting that it’s an underused technique. The person added: “Trying to start a group chat where we share our knowledge.”

The ubiquitous ad for airport shuttle drivers was discussed in a similar forum. One version of it was posted in a Telegram channel of a Nigerian scam group called Yahoo Boys Community, along with instructions on what to tell applicants to get them to share their Social Security number, photographs of their driver’s license and other personal details. The post urged the group’s 5,000 members to ask applicants generic questions via email and offer them the gig — but only if they first shared their personal documents to land the plum job. “Once the client gives you the details, buzz me on WhatsApp and let start work on it Asap,” read the July message, whose initiator could not be identified.

Job application scams have been around in various forms for years. Some entice applicants to buy equipment or software from the scammers in preparation for a nonexistent job. Others try to trick victims into working for free or reshipping goods bought with stolen credit cards. But, according to law enforcement agencies, using fake job ads to steal identities and using them to cash in on government benefits is a new wrinkle.

Alexandra Mateus Vásquez fell for one such scam in December 2020. An aspiring painter, Vásquez was thinking of quitting her sales job at a suburban mall near New York City. She applied for a graphic designer position at the restaurant chain Steak ‘n Shake via the widely used job website Indeed. She was elated when what appeared to be a Steak ‘n Shake representative invited her via Gmail to participate in an email screening test for the job.

Conducting an interview via email initially struck Vásquez as odd, but she proceeded because the questions seemed standard. They included queries like “How do you meet tough deadlines?” according to emails she shared with ProPublica, and she provided earnest answers. Hours later she received an email offering her the job and asking for her address and phone number so a formal offer letter could be dispatched. The offered pay was attractive: $30 per hour. When the letter arrived, it sought her Social Security number, too. Vásquez provided all the requested information.

Soon Vásquez was invited for a background check, via online chat, with a supposed hiring manager. She found herself trading messages with an account that had a blurry photograph of an old man and the name “Iran Coleman” attached to it. (Several other applicants described similar experiences in a discussion about the Steak ‘n Shake job on the hiring site Glassdoor.)

The person claiming to be the Steak ‘n Shake’s hiring manager requested copies of Vásquez’s personal records to verify her identity. She shared photographs of her New York state ID and her green card but grew suspicious when the person asked for her credit card number, too. As Vásquez hesitated, she got a call from ID.me, an identity verification vendor used by 27 states to safeguard their unemployment insurance programs. The company asked if she was applying for jobless aid in California. That’s when she realized she was being scammed. “I was so disappointed,” Vásquez said. “I really believed that that position was real.”

Steak ‘n Shake did not respond to messages seeking comment. (ProPublica was able to reach Iran Coleman, the purported Steak ‘n Shake manager cited in the scam. He said the Louisville Steak ‘n Shake he used to manage is closed and he hasn’t worked there since at least 2014. He said he hadn’t updated his cursory LinkedIn profile, which lists him as a Steak ‘n Shake restaurant manager, in years. Coleman said he now manages three Waffle House restaurants. “I feel for that person,” he said of Vásquez when informed of her experience.)

Vásquez reported the incident to the police and contacted the Social Security Administration, which informed her that it had denied multiple requests to create an account in her name. (A spokesperson for the agency said privacy laws preclude it from discussing individual cases.) She then gave up on her job search. “I started doubting if all the jobs I’m applying for are real,” she said. Vásquez recently launched a website to begin selling paintings online and still hopes to become a design professional.

Blake Hall, chief executive of ID.me, said the company has rolled out language on its systems that informs users when their identities are being used to apply for unemployment insurance benefits and warns them not to proceed if they are being offered a job. Hall said it’s ultimately up to users to heed such warnings. “We will do as much as we can to make it clear that they’ve been scammed,” he said, “but ultimately protecting somebody from themself is a really tall order.” He compared his company to a goalkeeper who also needs help from other members of the team, in this case the job websites where criminals post fake ads.

The Better Business Bureau said in an alert last month that Indeed, LinkedIn and Facebook topped the list of online platforms where users reported spotting fraudulent job advertisements that duped them.

Indeed removes tens of millions of job listings that do not meet its quality guidelines each month, according to a company spokesperson, and it declines to list employers’ jobs if they do not pass those guidelines. In July, the site published a blog post detailing how to spot scam job ads. “Indeed puts job seekers at the heart of everything we do,” the spokesperson said.

LinkedIn removed 10 fake airport shuttle job postings after they were pointed out by ProPublica. A spokesperson said that posting bogus job ads is a “clear violation” of LinkedIn’s terms of service and said the company is investing in new ways of spotting them, such as hiring more human reviewers and expanding a work-email verification system for potential employers.

Facebook took down some of the airport shuttle posts after ProPublica alerted the service, but the company did not respond to questions about its processes for spotting and removing fake ads.

In recent months, the social media platform has also been plagued with fraudulent pages masquerading as state unemployment agencies. Some states complained to the U.S. Department of Labor that Facebook was slow to act on their requests to remove such pages, according to a March email from the department to state workforce agencies disclosed under a public records request. A Department of Labor official said that in March the agency set up a new process for states to report fake unemployment insurance websites to Facebook and that “to date, Facebook has been responsive in taking down fraudulent pages” reported by states.

New ones, however, keep popping up: A fake version of California’s Employment Development Department Facebook page was live as of Oct. 12. The agency confirmed the page was not its own, and it was removed from Facebook shortly after ProPublica’s inquiry.

Even if online platforms clean up their job postings, other identity theft scams are proliferating. On Oct. 15, the FBI issued an alert warning about fake websites that cybercriminals created to resemble the state unemployment websites of Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico and Wisconsin. Criminals use the sites to steal victims’ sensitive personal information, according to the FBI.

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Entertainment

Dark side of Social Media Influencing

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Dark side of Social Media Influencing

Samira Farivar, Carleton University; Fang Wang, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Ofir Turel, The University of Melbourne

Do you follow influencers on social media? Do you always check their posts? Do you find you’re spending too much time or becoming obsessed with checking influencers’ accounts? And when you can’t check in, do you feel disconnected or lost?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, you may have whats known as “problematic engagement” with social media influencers.

But don’t blame yourself too much. You are among the many who have been swept away by dazzling social media influencing. And this can be attributed to many features and tactics social media influencers employ that help keep them influential — like livestreams and polls on Instagram.

Also Read: Researchers give voice to disabled persons

As experts in social media and user behaviour, we recently published a paper that looks at followers’ problematic engagement with influencers on social media. Our paper is among the first to study which aspects of social media influencing may lead to followers’ problematic engagement. It is important to examine this context considering the significant volume and revenues of social media influencing — it’s a US$13.8 billion industry.

The issue of problematic engagement

In the age of social media, most people know of or follow some social media influencers. Social media influencers are users who have a significant number of followers with established credibility.

Whether you are a fashion fan or want information on health and fitness — there’s an influencer to follow. And followers often gravitate towards them for their authenticity and content creation.

Inside the big business of being a social media influencer by ABC News.

But less focus is put on the dark side of social media influencing. Influencers are motivated and often incentivized (through product and brand endorsement) to increase their power on social media and many are becoming more proficient in attracting and engaging followers.

Followers, on the other hand, can easily become attached and obsessed with influencers and their engagement can often become excessive and unhealthy. Problematic engagement with social media influencers is common among followers, but not well known or understood.

Also Read: Arming teachers an effective security

Our research

We recently examined the factors and mechanisms that lead to problematic engagement. We focused on three influencer characteristics (physical attractiveness, social attractiveness and self-presence) and two follower participation attributes (participation comprehensiveness and following length) to explore their effects on the development of problematic engagement through the formation of follower attachments.

Based on attachment theory, we studied two types of attachments — parasocial relationship and sense of belonging, both of which are key in social media influencing. Parasocial relationship is followers’ perception of their one-sided relationship with an influencer and sense of belonging refers to the feeling of being an integral member of the influencer’s community.

We conducted an online survey of 500 Instagram users. The results showed that when followers develop attachments both to influencers (parasocial relationship) and their community (sense of belonging), this can lead to problematic engagement.

Also Read: The Kardashians Changed Everything

We found that influencers’ social attractiveness has a stronger effect than other factors in building followers’ attachments. Following more influencers could reduce the impact of attachment to the community (sense of belonging) when it comes to problematic engagement, but not the effect of attachment to the influencer (parasocial relationship).

 

 

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Implications for influencers and followers

Our study warns of and explains problematic engagement to social media users.

We argue that social media users who are attracted to influencers can become easily attached and engage excessively. Users need to be aware of, watch out for and exert self-regulations to manage their interactions with influencers.

For example, participation comprehensiveness — which refers to the reasons for following and extent of followers’ participation (like watching, liking, commenting, sharing) — can lead to attachment development. This, however, can be consciously managed by followers themselves. One way of doing this is by making use of the phone’s functions and tools like setting daily time limits on Instagram or turning off notifications for the app.

Social media influencers should also be aware of followers’ problematic engagement. Although it may be in contrast with their goal of increasing follower engagement, they can focus on creating a healthy relationship with their followers.

For instance, influencers can openly talk about the issue of problematic engagement and show care for their followers’ well-being. This will help with sustainability of the relationship because studies have shown that social media users with problematic behaviour are more likely to stop using platforms after a while.

More research on the dark side of social media influencers is needed and we call for future research to focus on additional negative consequences such as followers’ anxiety, depression and the impact of following influencers on followers’ well-being.The Conversation

Samira Farivar, Assistant Professor, Information Systems, Sprott School of Business, Carleton University; Fang Wang, Professor, Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Ofir Turel, Professor, School of Computing and Information Systems, The University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Cyberattacks | Local governments are attractive targets for hackers

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Richard Forno, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

President Joe Biden on March 21, 2022, warned that Russian cyberattacks on U.S. targets are likely, though the government has not identified a specific threat. Biden urged the private sector: “Harden your cyber defenses immediately.”

It is a costly fact of modern life that organizations from pipelines and shipping companies to hospitals and any number of private companies are vulnerable to cyberattacks, and the threat of cyberattacks from Russia and other nations makes a bad situation worse. Individuals, too, are at risk from the current threat.

Local governments, like schools and hospitals, are particularly enticing “soft targets” – organizations that lack the resources to defend themselves against routine cyberattacks, let alone a lengthy cyber conflict. For those attacking such targets, the goal is not necessarily financial reward but disrupting society at the local level.

Also Read: How much damage could a Russian Cyberattack do in the US?

From issuing business licenses and building permits and collecting taxes to providing emergency services, clean water and waste disposal, the services provided by local governments entail an intimate and ongoing daily relationship with citizens and businesses alike. Disrupting their operations disrupts the heart of U.S. society by shaking confidence in local government and potentially endangering citizens.

In the crosshairs

Local governments have suffered successful cyberattacks in recent years. These include attacks on targets ranging from 911 call centers to public school systems. The consequences of a successful cyberattack against local government can be devastating.

 

Baltimore City Hall

Baltimore City Hall

 

I and other researchers at University of Maryland, Baltimore County have studied the cybersecurity preparedness of the United States’ over 90,000 local government entities. As part of our analysis, working with the International City/County Management Association, we polled local government chief security officers about their cybersecurity preparedness. The results are both expected and alarming.

Among other things, the survey revealed that nearly one-third of U.S. local governments would be unable to tell if they were under attack in cyberspace. This is unsettling; nearly one-third of local governments that did know whether they were under attack reported being attacked hourly, and nearly half at least daily.

Ill-equipped

Lack of sound IT practices, let alone effective cybersecurity measures, can make successful cyberattacks even more debilitating. Almost half of U.S. local governments reported that their IT policies and procedures were not in line with industry best practices.

In many ways, local governments are no different from private companies in terms of the cybersecurity threats, vulnerabilities and management problems they face. In addition to those shared cybersecurity challenges, where local governments particularly struggle is in hiring and retaining the necessary numbers of qualified IT and cybersecurity staff with wages and workplace cultures that can compare with those of the private sector or federal government.

Also Read: Scammers Are Using Fake Job Ads to Steal People’s Identities

Additionally, unlike private companies, local governments by their nature are limited by the need to comply with state policies, the political considerations of elected officials and the usual perils of government bureaucracy such as balancing public safety with the community’s needs and corporate interests. Challenges like these can hamper effective preparation for, and responses to, cybersecurity problems – especially when it comes to funding. In addition, much of the technology local communities rely on, such as power and water distribution, are subject to the dictates of the private sector, which has its own set of sometimes competing interests.

[Get The Conversation’s most important coronavirus headlines, weekly in a science newsletter]

Large local governments are better positioned to address cybersecurity concerns than smaller local governments. Unfortunately, like other soft targets in cyberspace, small local governments are much more constrained. This places them at greater risk of successful cyberattacks, including attacks that otherwise might have been prevented. But the necessary, best-practice cybersecurity improvements that smaller cities and towns need often compete with the many other demands on a local community’s limited funds and staff attention.

Getting the basics right

Whether they are victimized by a war on the other side of the world, a hacktivist group promoting its message or a criminal group trying to extort payment, local governments in the U.S. are enticing targets. Artificial intelligence hacking tools and vulnerabilities introduced by the spread of smart devices and the growing interest in creating “smart cities” put local governments even more at risk.

There’s no quick or foolproof fix to eliminate all cybersecurity problems, but one of the most important steps local governments can take is clear: Implement basic cybersecurity. Emulating the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s national cybersecurity framework or other industry accepted best practices is a good start.

I believe government officials, especially at the local level, should develop and apply the necessary resources and innovative technologies and practices to manage their cybersecurity risks effectively. Otherwise, they should be prepared to face the technical, financial and political consequences of failing to do so.The Conversation

Richard Forno, Principal Lecturer in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Business

How to Get Organic Traffic From Google Search?

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Organic Traffic From Google Search

After reading this post today, you will know “How to Get Organic Traffic from Google Search”. Consider this post as your ultimate guide or cheat sheet that will help you build amazing “Content that Ranks on Google” and “Massive Traffic to Your Website”.

Important Disclaimer

Before diving deep down right into the topic, I would like to clear a few things.

1-Getting Organic Traffic from Google search is NOT a Myth

2-You do not need to be an SEO Expert or Guru to Rank your content on the First Page of Google Search Results

3-But DO NOT think, that it is a piece of cake, or after reading, you can change a few settings on your website, and voila.

4-To get the best results, and maximum impact, read this post and compare it to writing style, and how you are writing the content.

5-Make points, if something or any term used in the article is not clear, google it. You may ask in the comments section if something is not clear.

Remember! Your goal should not be only to read this article, but also to understand the logic and theory behind it.

Also Read: Scammers Are Using Fake Job Ads to Steal People’s Identities

Why do You Want Traffic from Google Search?

It is no secret that Google Search Engine is one of the largest search engines in the market. It is estimated that Google processes around 5.6 Billion searches in a dayAccording to research, from January 2010 till January 2022, Google Search Engine has dominated the Search Engine Market and held from 85% to 91.22% market share, as compared to other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, and Yandex. So there is no doubt that anyone entering the world of the Internet, regardless of small or a big corporation, a news agency, an e-commerce business, or just a simple blogger, wants to get Ranked on the 1st page of Google Search Results.

Think of Your Target Audience

Your target audience is the most crucial aspect of getting Organic Traffic to your Website. It makes it easier to write powerful content when you know your audience, i.e. For whom you are writing? i.e., country, gender; interest and age, etc.

For example, if your target audience is toddlers and mothers, you will not write complex phrases or terms. It would make more sense to write simple phrases, use colorful images, etc.

Similarly, if you are writing for a mature audience, you should write according to their interest, and level.

What I want you to understand, is that you should know your audience confidently, what they like, gender, age, and other demographics. It will help to create the right and targeted content.

Keyword Research

If you are a newbie in content writing or blogging, then you must understand the term “Keyword” and everything associated with it. Short Tail Keyword(STK), Long Tail Keyword(LTK), Related Keywords, etc.

There is no point in creating tons of content without doing proper Keyword Research. You should always search before writing the content.

In simple terms, Keyword/s is/are the term/s that people search over the internet. A Short Tail Keyword is between 1 to 2 words, and any search term which is more than 3 keywords is considered as Long Tail Keyword.

Related Keywords are the search terms that Google suggests that people are also searching for.

The Wrong Way

Most people just think of a topic, perhaps search for its difficulty level, and then start writing. But later after publishing the post, they get disappointed when they see that their post has landed on 50th to 100th position in Google search results.

How to Do Proper Keyword Research? The Right Way

Whenever you are presented with a topic, do not start writing bluntly. A professional and right approach demands that you should do proper Keyword Research.

A Keyword Research means that you use a tool to find the following about the Keyword:

  • How many people are searching for that keyword in a given location?
  • What is the level of Competition on that Keywords?
  • How many EXPECTED Backlinks are required for the post to get ranked on the First Page of Google Search Results?

There are several Free & Paid Tools available that make it easier for you to do Keyword Research. In the Free version, you will get limited results but just enough to get the job done.

For Example, Ahref Free Keyword DifficultyUbersuggest Keyword Explorer, tool, etc. I will not explain here how you should use these tools, because there are many videos on YouTube showing you how to use them in different languages.

Also Read: Curious Kids: why can’t we put a space station on the Moon?

Primary Keyword

Your 1st goal should be, finding a keyword that has low difficulty and some search volume. The ideal keyword for a new website is to find keywords that have 0KD and over 100 searches.

In many cases, you will find that your Primary Keyword has a higher Keyword Difficultly. The easiest way would be to find a keyword that is closer to your keyword with low keyword difficulty. For this, you can use another Free Tool from Ahref, called Keyword Generator. Sometimes you do not know Primary Keyword, or your client has given you a generic topic and asked to find the Best Keyword. All you need is to write the main topic and select the country. This tool will give you all the keywords related to that topic according to their Search Volume, Keyword Difficulty.

SERP Analysis- Go Deeper

Many content writers or bloggers start writing simply after checking the Keyword Difficulty. In some cases, they do succeed in getting ranked on the first or second page. Or perhaps, they are simply hired content writers who just write for their clients and have no interest whatsoever if their article gets ranked or not.

If you fall into the above category, then it is ok, you did your job. But if you want to rank your article, then you should also learn about SERP Analysis.

SERP is the short form of the “Search Engine Result Page”. If your primary goal is to get massive traffic from Google Search, then you must know how to do SERP Analysis.

SERP Analysis, for a given Keyword, means, that you do technical analysis of the articles and sites that are ranking on the first page of Google Search Result. You can use Ahref SERP Free Tool to do SERP Analysis.

In SERP, for the keyword of the targeted country, you look for the following:

  • AR (Ahrefs Rating)
  • DR (Domain Rating)
  • Backlinks
  • Domains
  • Traffic
  • Keywords

AR shows the strength of the website, with #1 as the strongest and goes up to Millions. In other words, sites with lower AR are very difficult to compete with. The AR rating depends upon the backlink profile.

DR stands for Domain Rating. It starts from 0 to 100. Higher DR means the website has higher authority and will be difficult to compete. DR depends on how many Backlinks you have from other authority domains.

Backlinks show the number of backlinks from other websites for that particular page. Other metrics, Traffic, and Keywords are not too important.

How to do Correct SERP Analysis

This is the most crucial part of doing the Keyword Research. Just by looking at the KD will not guarantee to be ranked on the first page of Google Search Results, even if KD is 0 for a given Keyword.

I would recommend you to do a simple test yourself. Find a Keyword with low difficulty and check it in SERP Tools. In many cases, you will find, the sites which have stronger AR, higher DR, and maximum no of Backlinks will be ranked on the 1st three positions of the Google Search Result.

Ultimate Goal

So your ultimate goal would be to find a keyword that has all the following characteristics:

  • Low KD
  • Lower AR (Higher AR means lower Strengths)
  • Lower DR
  • Less number of Backlinks

I hope many of you would now understand why their post was landing on the 5th to 10th page and what were they missing in their efforts to get on the first page.

Bonus Tip| Going Further Deeper  

Let’s suppose, you have found the Perfect Keyword but want to make sure that, you have landed on the first page. If your answer is yes, then learn 2 search strings “inurl:” and “allintitle:”.

The above 2 search strings help you to find the number of competitors for a given Keyword on Google. As part of the On-Page SEO, you should always include Primary Keyword in the URL, and the title of the article.

What does inurl: & allintitle: do?  

When you search a keyword, Google will show you millions or billions of search results. This is because Google will include everything in the results, including results that are direct or indirect to the topic. But using inurl: and allintitle: will help you get more authentic results and the correct level of competition.

Once you know the correct number of the competitor, you can do small changes to your URL and title to have higher chances to land on the first page.

For Example, let’s say my target Keyword is “Organic Traffic” and I search it on Google.

Google Search Result

Google Search Result without any search string

You will see that Google has 1,160,000,000 Organic Traffic results. Remember, it will include everything related to this topic.

Now let’s use inurl: to search the same keyword.

Search Result using inurl

Google Search Result using search string inurl[/caption]

Now just by using inurl: we see Google has 879,000 search results. In fact, inurl: strings mean, we are forcing Google to show only those results which have our keyword “Organic Traffic” in their URL.

Check the result when we use allintitle: This search string forces Google to show results with Organic Traffic in its main title.

Search Result using allintitle

Google Search Result using search string allintitle [/caption]

The results show there are only 38,900 results.

I hope you got the idea and importance of these 2 search strings. You can now do small changes to your keyword by adding a word two at the beginning or, at the end of your keyword will help you find the perfect title.

Conclusion

I am sure now, that you have understood, that organic traffic is not a myth nor it is rocket science. You do not need to be an SEO Guru or a Geek to get your article on the first page of Google Search Results. You just need to evaluate the authority of your website and do a comprehensive Keyword & SERP Analysis.

If your website or client’s website is relatively new, then you should target the keywords that have lower difficulty, and SERP Analysis shows the high probability for a new website to get ranked. In SERP you should see if there are Domains that have AR Rank in Millions, Lower DR, and fewer Backlinks.

Once you have found, such a keyword, in addition to using “inurl:” and “allintitle:” search strings to find a title that will work as icing on the cake and help you to land on the first page of Google Search Result.

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