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Fake Personas

Judith Lewis is one of the best-known SEOs in the world. She specializes in a variety of SEO domains and has a lot of experience with creating and working with fake personas. 

In today’s podcast episode, you can find out more about her, what she does, and how an online false identity can work for you and against you. Keep on reading for a more detailed overview of what an online fake identity is and what it can be used for.

What are fake personas?

First of all, we have to make the difference between a fake persona and fake social media profiles. While the first does probably need the second in order to appear genuine, the second does not have to be based on a fake persona. 

If you buy Facebook likes, for example, chances are that the likes you’re going to get will come from fake profiles that aren’t even that well-made, meaning they don’t have an email address with the same name, they’re not present on other social media networks, and other such details. 

A fake persona is usually created by marketers who want to acquire links, but who do not want to use their own names when creating and managing an outreach campaign. 

Besides, most marketing people aren’t specialized in particular niches or domains. For example, if you were to try to convince a pet site owner to accept your guest post, you’d have better chances if you were a vet, pet behaviorist, or pet trainer compared to if you were a marketer. 

fake personas

How to create a false identity online

How can you make a fake persona? Well, it’s not that difficult. You need a profile picture, one that obviously doesn’t belong to someone else (not even one from a stock photo website). 

You can use a site called This Person Does Not Exist to download photos of people that, as you might have guessed by now, aren’t actual people. There’s a pretty good AI that creates the images based on others in its database. 

You then make a LinkedIn profile, where you could state that you work at a company or not – your choice -, and create another social media profile on the network of your choice. 

To make it look even more legitimate, you should invest in a custom domain with ‘your’ name, write a couple of posts explaining what you do, and then you’re all done. 

Read more: Private Blog Network Tips

If you want to go the extra mile, you can even hire a freelancer to write you an ebook in the domain that you want to be a specialist in, publish it on Amazon under your fake persona name, and then create an author profile on Amazon. fake identities online

Reasons you need a fake persona

Why would you need an online false identity? The answer to this question is simple – people are more likely to take you seriously if you are in their niche. They have nothing to gain from someone that can’t get them something in return, and that something should preferably come from a specialist. 

You can use HARO to answer questions that journalists have asked and get backlinks from there. You can pitch people for guest posts or use the Skyscraper techniques to gain backlinks, too.

Another reason to create a fake persona would be for you to create an alter ego that you can merely use for working. Some companies do not allow their employees to work for another employer for the duration of the contract, so that means that you can’t get additional projects. 

However, if you plan to use platforms such as Upwork, we’d like to underline that most of them will at one point ask you for a photo of your ID and they will perform an identity verification. 

Read more: The best free stock photo sites for content marketing

You can also use a fake online identity if you come from another country but you mostly do business in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, or another English-speaking country.

Finally, another reason you’d need a fake persona would be if you were to want to write potentially dangerous books. For example, if you’re an attorney and an overall respectable person, you might not want your real name associated with saucy novels published on Amazon, right? 

Is building a fake persona a black hat SEO technique? Yes. Therefore, it goes against search engines’ policies. It might get you in trouble, but we’ll discuss this in the section below. 

fake identity

What problems can online false identities cause?

Fake personas aren’t always the best solution to everything. 

More often than not, if you pose as somebody else and you try to look like an expert but you give off the feeling that, in fact, you don’t know that much about ‘your’ niche, the people you contact are going to be suspicious and do a little digging on your fake identity. 

It’s not uncommon for folks to be able to tell that you’re using a fake persona, especially if you weren’t particularly careful and you made the mistake of downloading pictures of individuals who actually exist. 

Moreover, HARO journalists can always ask you to talk to them on the phone so that they become convinced that you are a reliable source. But what if your fake persona is a male and you’re a female in reality? That would be a bit of a problem. 

Read more: Online reputation management

On top of everything, even if you do pay care and attention and you do use a picture of someone that doesn’t exist, it might have been manipulated incorrectly, so people would be able to tell that it’s not real right away. 

If you plan to use your fake persona to write bad reviews for your competitors, think again. There are ways in which you could get in serious legal problems if they find out that your fake persona is actually you. 

fake persona

Final thoughts

Should you rely on fake personas for link building, testimonials, or anything else? If you really have to and there’s no way you can get in trouble, you can definitely harness the power of fake online identities. 

But if you’re more than content to use your own identity (perhaps you’re already an expert in a specific field), we’d advise against using a fake persona. 

If you want to learn more about fake personas and other SEO techniques, we offer consultancy. Feel free to get in touch.

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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