It’s unfortunate but there are a lot of snake oil salesman in the seo industry… In any industry or business there are always folks who are willing to take short cuts in order to reach their goals and the seo industry is no different.
Inc ran a story recently about a gift basket website that was penalized for buying links which is against Google’s webmaster guidelines. You can read the whole story here: How Google Cost Me $4 Million.
The moral of the story is this: Google does not like it when websites/webmasters buy links and attempt to manipulate their search engine rankings… doing so could get your website removed from Google’s search engine results and end up costing you a lot of money.
I’ll be the first to admit there are a lot of shady seo’s out there in the search engine optimization industry and that’s why you have to do your homework when you go out and hire an seo agency to do your search engine optimization for you. If you’re going to hire someone or an agency to try an improve your search engine rankings you should probably ask what it is they will be doing to improve your websites rankings. Before you go out and outsource this kind of thing you may want to read Google’s webmaster Guidelines and at least familiarize yourself with what you can do, what you cannot do and of course what could get you banned!
In many cases I’ve run into clients that have spent a lot of money paying a seo company to basically spam their website all over the internet and sometimes this will have the same result as buying links. The reason some seo companies do it is because it flat out works with certain keywords. If you build enough links you can achieve a top ranking but a lot of bad things can happen in the process…
For starters your business and your brand could be directly associated with spam if your seo provider decides to drop your link wherever they see fit… it’s really sad but there are a lot of peeps practicing seo and they’ve never even read Google’s webmaster guidelines… they don’t know that half of the stuff they’re doing could get you banned!
As mentioned earlier some seo providers will drop your link wherever possible, sometimes just to meet link quotas, and some of these places are known as “bad neighborhoods” because they were basically created by spammers so they could have a place to place their links. Anyhow it’s a bad practice and links from these places could actually hurt your websites rankings because instead of building trust with Google, it’s actually taking it away.
Another thing these shady seo companies like to do is spam every blog on the internet with your link followed by a comment that goes something like this: “great post! I hope to read more from you.” Not only does this make you look bad but a webmaster having a bad day could report you to your hosting company for spamming and your website could be suspended for some time.
A lot of times the best case scenario when you hire a bad seo company is you end up paying a lot of money for a lot of crappy, worthless links.
Ok and that’s with the obviously shady companies out there… the company mentioned above in the Inc. article was a “reputable” company in the search engine optimization industry so you even have to be careful with the big guys because a lot of times they don’t know what they’re doing either.
Anyway you look at it, it’s best to familiarize yourself a bit with search engine optimization and at least know what could get your website banned from Google’s index… you know things like buying links and spamming your website to the top of the search engines. Know who you’re working with and have a good idea of what they will be doing to improve your rankings.