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Avoid Getting Banned
Backlinks are a very important factor. The temptation is to create lots of sites, blogs, hubs, lenses, social bookmarks all pointing back to your main site. As you can imagine, many people succumbed to this temptation.
Search engines (and Squidoo, HubPages, Digg etc), however, don't like self-promotion. A link to your site should be an indication of approval from a third-party if it is to count. Self-promotion could lead to the 'wrong' results at the top of Google - and if they don't return the best results, people will use another search engine and Google's revenues decline.
Similarly, if HubPages, Squidoo or Digg become synonymous with self-promotion, then people will cease to use these sites. Facebook doesn't want to lose users because of inappropriate contacts. YouTube wants subscriptions to indicate quality content.
In other words, all the sites that we should use to promote our business have rules to prevent self-promotion. The more promotion that you do, the greater the chance that you will fall foul of these rules. If you are only ever logging in with one identity, then there is a small chance this will happen. Many people, however, will create several identities to increase the number of links that are perceived as valid. (I am talking here of less than 10 identities which I would regard as 'greyhat' SEO. Blackhat practitioners will use hundreds if not thousands of identies. The guidelines below would be inadequate for such approaches.)
don't always link directly to your website - use a link networking approach as outlined in How to Get Backlinks
use Firefox and ensure that you tick the option to always Clear Private Data
use CCleaner and always run it before changing 'identity'
use different browsers and computers if possible
change your IP address - turning your router on and off will sometimes do this. To check your IP address
use proxy servers - a proxy server is basically an extra link in the connection between your computer and the site that you are visiting - the site sees your IP address as being that of the proxy server. For a quick and easy way to use proxy servers, visit my Setup Proxy Servers page
when social bookmarking, don't only bookmark your own sites
This list is far from comprehensive and there is no guarantee that following these guidelines will protect you from being suspended. However if you do follow them, you will increase your chances of survival.
Setup Proxy Servers
They know where you live!Proxy servers enable you to present a different IP address to the website that you are visiting. You can see your current IP by going to whatsmyipaddress.com, and you may even see a map with a frighteningly close indication of where you are (click to enlarge image).
IP addresses are routinely logged by websites. With todays computing power, it is relatively easy to run a database query and identify patterns in activity from a particular IP address. For instance, how many different usernames have logged in from a particular IP address and which sites do these usernames link to.
Sophistication will only increase and as sites share more and more data, your internet marketing (and other) activity will become increasingly transparent. If you would like to preserve some of your anonymity then you should consider using a proxy server.
proxy settingsThere are free anonymous proxy servers and the simplest approach is to use Tor in conjunction with the Firefox add-on Torbutton. However, Tor can be painfully slow to use because many people are using the free proxy servers. You can be lucky and find a fast connection but in my experience it is extremely frustrating and time-consuming; even trying to load Google would take 10 seconds plus. Furthermore, free proxy servers come and go - they will literally disappear. This means that you can waste a lot of time trying to find decent proxy servers. If you go down the DIY route, you should be comfortable filling in the boxes in the image on the right (click to enlarge).
Alternatively, and for a faster trouble-free connection, I am recommending that you consider two products, both of which offer 128-bit SSL encryption, the same technology major banks use for online banking. My choice is driven primarily by speed, security and ease of use. These are simple to install and use - no need to reconfigure browsers.
AnonymizerAnonymizer provides you with a different IP address each day. It is exceptionally easy to use and my personal experience is that the servers are fast (you will always notice a performance hit using a proxy server).
There is a free trial download so you can test the speed and ease of use of the service.
hide-my-ipThe main difference between Anonymizer and Hide-My-IP is that Hide-My-IP allows you to change your IP address during a single day - Anonymizer gives you a different IP address daily. In addition, Hide-My-IP has an additional service that allows you to select fast proxies in particular countries - eg Germany, USA, Canada or the UK. This would be useful if you wanted to reinforce that you are living in, for example, the USA.
My experience is that the additional service is a requirement. The proxies in the standard service are not as fast as the premium proxies.