🪄 Exposed: How SEOs stole millions from Reddit

PLUS: The $100m Affiliate Marketing Strategy


The Startup Maester is here!

Welcome to the 10th issue.

Today's topics:

  1. How SEOs stole millions from Reddit

  2. A tool to do reverse phone lookup so you can find the owner behind the phone call

  3. One recommended video on how to get 10,000 people to promote your stuff for free

How SEOs stole millions from Reddit

On September 14, 2023, Google updated its algorithm to rank UGC (User-Generated Content) over everything else.

This crushed tons of sites that were ranking for 10+ years. Some were affiliate marketing sites and some people had their entire livelihoods depended on it.

Its so bad that people have been making posts on /r/SEO about Google killing the SEO industry as many have to go back to finding their jobs after a decade.

Google killing the SEO industry

The best time to buy is when there's blood in the streets.

~ Baron Rothschild

So while most of them are oblivious to the UGC game, some of them are using it to their benefit.

Since UGC sites are ranking way up, most are busy gaming sites like Reddit, Linkedin Pulse, Medium, and Quora that let you submit your own UGC content without needing any big publication’s approval.

Reddit UGC Traffic Shot Up

Linkedin UGC Traffic Shot Up

Medium UGC Traffic Shot Up

This algorithm allowed every simple reddit query to rank up.

Since 2020, Tiktokers have been giving tips about appending "reddit" to a Google Search so most people are used to doing that now.

If you search for "best vpn" which is a very high-quality search term, you will see tons of Reddit posts ranking and affiliates making money through it.

There's 3 ways to do it which is covered super in-depth here:

  1. Hijacking a Top Comment - Just reply to the top comment and later edit it to add your affiliate link

  2. Making your own top comment - Post the comment when the post it is on Rising and then buy upvotes on comments

  3. Creating Your Own Post and Making it Rank - Don't add any links until you get 50+ upvotes and then edit it to add links

Ranking on "best vpn 2024" is easy on Reddit. Check out this Reddit post.

Reddit Rank VPN 2024 - Sneaky first comment

Look at the sneaky first comment here disguising as https://nordvpn.com/free-trial but if you click on it, it actually goes to https://go.nordvpn.net/SH6LI

Almost all of them are affiliate links if you hover over the links.

It might be operated by single person or a team of people using 100 different accounts.

Creating multiple accounts isn't hard. You only need to verify with Google (tons of phone verification services) and need a SIM card (E-SIM works) and finally just sign-up for multiple Reddit accounts since Reddit is anonymous, its easy to create multiple accounts.

All you need are different kinds of proxies with anti-detect browser.

Instead of directly posting affiliate links, one can use a middleman site as well that redirects so you are even more sneaky.

In any case, this update broke too many people's income and gave too many people a way to get rich.

When people make tons of money, they are usually quiet.

This golden goose might still be quite effective as Google is finding it hard to crack down on AI sites.

A well-written AI site is indistinguishable from a well-written human site.

If you want to rank a product or your site right now, try all the UGC platforms, Reddit being the #1 as you only have to get past the moderators.

Twitter is getting into long-form now so it might be the next site to game.

This is one reason to be on social media because Google prioritizes stuff based on it.

You can't expect people to find you if you live in the mountains. Don't expect Google to find you if you have no social presence.

Years ago, I saw a post from a person who stopped posting about their agency on Social Media. In a matter of months, they saw a dip in clients.

They did so because they thought social wasn't working with no likes and all but this is one of the under-talked benefits of being on socials.

The entire web is a chain of interconnected links. If you want to be seen, connect your stuff to more links.

A tool to do reverse phone lookup so you can find the owner behind the phone call

If you want to know who is calling you from a US phone number, you can look it up through This Number. It helps find unknown phone numbers.

You can also use it to contact local businesses, government organizations, or an old friend by state.

Cold email is good. Cold call is even better.

If you have a target audience that fits this demographic, you can just start dialing.

The best kind of marketing is word-of-mouth.

Because even if you are dead, your book will still sell through word-of-mouth.

Marcus Aurelius died centuries ago yet Meditations still sells purely through word-of-mouth.

Imagine if your best friend told you to try a product that would help you, you would do it without hesitation.

Caveat: The product must be good or else you will have less goodwill with your friend.

Give your affiliates good incentives and they will promote your product like crazy.

You can copy the affiliate strategies of the VPNs linked above in Reddit posts.

Rabbit Hole Reads

  1. The mental models of Chinese tech - China is an absolute powerhouse. In just 2 decades, it became a threat to the US with their controversial 996 schedule. We can all learn from China's Business Mental Models to build better businesses.

  2. Zain Kahn: Growing Superhuman to 250k Subscribers in 5 Months - Surfers who ride the wave often reach bigger heights than those who don't. Zain Kahn did the same with the AI Wave. The newsletter currently sits at 500k+ subscribers bringing in over $5000 per issue.

  3. Analyzing Starbucks' Epic (Discontinued) Referral Program - Old ideas work. Steal them. Starbucks' referral program helped grow them into a global behemoth.

Until next time,

Your Spells Maester!

Enjoyed the newsletter? Please send it to your friends and colleagues.

More Startup Spells 🪄

  1. Destroying competitor's SEO using Blackhat Tactics: The Evil Way (LINK)

  2. You only need one product to make your 1st million. You don't need multiple bets. (LINK)

  3. How to hire "been there, done that" people so you get all the benefits with less hand-holding (training) (LINK)


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