How To Use Disinformation To Foul Up Your Competition In The SEO Game

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You can use disinformation to your advantage in the SEO game. Disinformation is false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. Disinformation is a tool that has been used brilliantly in war, as a tool of subterfuge to cause an enemy to make an error.

If you are a history buff, like I am, you will likely have seen the stories about successful “disinformation campaigns” waged during World War II by the Allies against the Axis-Powers.

Operation Fortitude

The first was called, “Operation Fortitude“. To soften the landing for the D-Day invasion, the British and the Americans devised a plan to convince Hitler that the anticipated D-Day invasion would arrive at a different location. Operation Fortitude was actually devised to not only convince the Germans that the invasion force would arrive some place other than Normandy, but it also sought to divide Germany’s army to protect to false targets of invasion.

Fortitude North suggested that the invasion party would cross the English Channel from Kent, England, and push its way into Norway.

Fortitude South was designed to convince the Germans that the main invasion of France would occur in Pas-de-Calais, France, 307-kilometers or 181-miles north of Normandy, France.

Operation Fortitude has been suggested by historians to be one of the most successful deception operations of WWII and arguably the most important deception campaign of the war. Both Fortitude North and Fortitude South were related to a wider deception plan called Operation Bodyguard, which laid the groundwork for the successful the invasion of France at Normandy Beach (Operation Overlord).

Operation Mincemeat

In Operation Mincemeat, British Intelligence outfitted a corpse with a locked briefcase, filled with war plans designed to convince the German High Command that the Allied invasion would occur in Greece and Sardinia in 1943.

The British dropped the corpse into the sea, equipped it with fake invasion plans, and arranged for the body to float up on the beaches of Spain, where the Axis-Powers would discover the corpse and the contents of the briefcase.

This ruse successfully convinced the Germans to expect the invasion in Greece and Sardinia, instead of the real target of Sicily.

Operation Bertram

In 1941, British entertainment star and magician, Jasper Maskelyne was added to the mix of Allied tools in the battle against the Germans in Eastern Africa, when he was assigned to a unit called A Force, which was dedicated to counter-intelligence and deception.

Maskelyne wove together a number of illusions that tricked the Germans into dropping their bombs on realistic-looking harbors that did not exist and preventing German pilots from being able to see the Suez Canal during bombing raids.

But Maskelyne was most effective during Operation Bertram, prior to the battle of El Alamein, when he helped the Allies create deceptions that would help lead to the Allied-Forces defeating the Germans in Africa.

The Allies intended to attack the German line at the northernmost point of the German forces in Africa. Fortunately, Maskelyne was successful at creating an illusion that convinced the Germans that the focal point of the attack would come from 30-miles to the south, and that the attack would take longer to prepare than was actually necessary.

At the beginning of the operation, the Allies dumped waste containers at the northern end of the line and threw camouflage over the waste equipment. This the German aerial recognizance teams noticed immediately. Then the Germans continued watching this location for an extended period of time. After a measure of time passed and no additional activity appeared to be taking place at this location, the Germans began to ignore the location.

Once the Germans began to ignore the location, the Allied-Armies started replacing the refuse with actual supplies and equipment under the cover of night.

To support the idea that the attack would be launched further to the south, a fake water-pipeline was being constructed across the desert stretching to a southern point along the German line. The slow construction of this water-pipeline was what helped convince the German high command that the attack would come at a much later date.

Maskelyne’s brilliance was obvious when he created optical illusions that allowed the Allies to camouflage 1,000 tanks as lorries, at the northern end of the German line. But then Maskelyne’s team constructed 2,000 fake tanks and equipment that convinced German recognizance that the real build-up was taking place 30-miles to the south, a location that the water-pipeline was being designed to reach…

As a result, when the Allies moved to break the German line, they found easy penetration as the heavy build-up of defensive forces were located 30 miles to the south of the actual invasion force.

Disinformation and Deception in War has a Glorious History

Throughout the ages, disinformation and deception has played a role in military victories over their enemies. Even the Trojan Horse was a deception used to bring down the City of Troy in ancient times.

Disinformation and deception was even clearly in use during the first Gulf War, when U.S. Marines formed in the Persian Gulf, just off of the beaches of Kuwait, preparing for what appeared to be invasion from sea that resembled many great landings during WWII. As we know, General Schwarzkopf executed an end-around during the first Gulf War, where the primary invasion force entered Iraq from the deserts of Saudi Arabia and closed in on the Iraqi forces arrayed in Kuwait awaiting a full frontal-invasion from the Allies.

Of course, in the first Persian Gulf War, the anticipated invasion onto the beaches of Kuwait never came… Nor did the Northern invasion of Iraq from the Mediterranean Sea, through Turkey, in the second Gulf War.

The Art Of War

The Art Of War, by Sun Tzu, has historically taught generals how to fight battles and win wars, but in the modern age, it has also become required reading for many business schools in their MBA programs.

In understanding how to win wars, you can more easily understand the battles that you will engage in the course of business. I have read The Art Of War dozens of times and recommend it to anyone who is serious about becoming successful in the business world.

The Art Of War discusses not only the principles and tactics used in warfare, but it also discusses how to keep the loyalty of your soldiers and how to win the hearts and minds of the people, whose support you will need to survive, after conquest of the army.

This brings us to the point of this article…

Using Disinformation and Deception to Conquer your Competitors – Without Lying To Your Customers

It is important that you should never deceive your customers… After all, you need to maintain a good reputation in order for your business to survive the long-run.

But the Internet has created a unique set of tools that you can use to defeat your competition, without your competition realizing that you have used Disinformation and Deception to hurt them in the battle for customers.

There are literally dozens of SEO tools that one can purchase or use that will permit your competitors to “spy” on your website to see what it is that makes your website successful…

Software applications, like WebPosition Gold and IBP, are designed to help webmasters to do competitive research on keywords, in the search engines and on competitor websites.

If one of your competitors happens upon your website for competitive research, they are going to look at your Meta tags, including Title, Description and Keywords, and they will also look for the keywords that you have spread through your website.

But if you are like me, you have done the testing and tracking to see which keywords and keyword phrases will actually produce sales conversions on your website. Along the way, you may have discovered keywords are very competitive – even in Google Adwords and other PPC systems – where the keyword looks really attractive, but the keyword does not attract the kind of traffic that is likely to buy what you are selling…

The keywords of this sort are “red herrings”. They are keywords that look good on paper – they have heavy competition, high PPC bid prices, and lots of searches made on them. Yet, a thorough review of the “keywords that convert” will show that these keywords do not lead to sales for your website…

Enter an “opportunity” for disinformation campaigns intended to deceive your competition…

If specific keywords are money dumps for your advertising dollars, doesn’t it make sense to encourage your competitors to blow their money on advertising those keywords that will not produce a great ROI for them? ;-)

Not many search engines pay very close attention to your Meta Keywords. It was a really good tool for most search engines in the early days, but it was a spam-magnet for people trying to trick the search engines into giving them free traffic…

By 2009, most search engines had decided to diminish or ignore Meta Keywords in their search algorithms.

But your competitors who are using Keyword Research Tools for SEO are still drilling through your Meta Keywords, looking for those golden nuggets that will enable them to steal your rankings in the search engines, thereby giving them access to your customers…

If the search engines are mostly ignoring the Meta Keyword tag and your competitors are using it to uncover important business intelligence about your company, doesn’t it make sense to throw all of your junk keywords into the Meta Keywords tag?

Especially, when you have discovered keyword phrases that only cost you money, without providing you the Return-on-Investment you need to be profitable, then it is time to use those keywords in a disinformation campaign to lead your competitors to the wrong conclusions about how you drive traffic to your website…

Take those ugly keywords that siphon money away from your business and drop them into your Meta Keywords tag, to seed bad information to your competitors who are using SEO spy tools in an effort to uncover the secret to your success…

Give your competitors the keywords they will need to waste their advertising resources, so that they will not have the advertising resources necessary to be equally competitive with you for the keywords that really matter to you – keywords that actually bring in visitors to your website, who are likely to buy what you are selling…

Only Use Disinformation Campaigns to Cripple Your Competition – Brilliantly

All is fair in love and war…

If your competitors believe that the best place to go to get business intelligence for their SEO campaigns is your website, then they deserve to be fed your marketing disinformation…

In the end, if your competitor does not have the financial resources to compete with you on an equal footing, then your competitors will be less of a threat to your business’ survival…

Is this a “dirty dog” tactic to use against your competition? Sure…

But so is them mining your website for business intelligence, in an attempt to steal your fire and your traffic from you…

The beauty about this system of marketing disinformation is that it will only injure those who seek to take unfair advantage of you, by stealing your marketing intelligence…

Bill Platt, owner of Article Distribution Service

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