Hiring the wrong SEO company
Hiring the wrong SEO company to optimise your website for search engine results can get your site removed from Google SERP.
Search Engine Optimisation a Boom Industry
Website owners want their websites to do well in search engine results pages. This has led to an explosion of SEO companies offering everything from overnight success to realistic results based on organic search parameters.
Getting a web site to perform well in search results can be extremely important to a business. Unscrupulous practitioners play on this desire to get web site owners to use their service.
Just like so many other aspects of the web industry, there are good guys and bad guys. The techniques used by bad guys (sharks) in this case are known as Black Hat SEO. This practice includes adding hidden keywords to pages, invisible to human readers but seen by search engines, ‘link farming’ (getting large quantities of backlinks from low-grade websites), spamming blogs comment forms, even attempting to get competitors web sites removed from search engine listing databases.
Allowing one of these black hat companies to optimise your website may have short-term benefits, however the chances are rather good that Google will detect this, and the result will be either a down rating of your site, or total exclusion from the results pages.
Google asks if SEO company used
Once a website has been removed from Google a request may be submitted to have the site re-listed. The applicant is provided an opportunity to explain anything they did which may have caused the delisting. One of the points mentioned is “using a search engine optimization company”. The following paragraph refers to Google guidelines for re-considering a website; (the page is only available through webmaster tools)
“Tell us more about what happened: what actions might have led to any penalties, and what corrective actions have been taken. If you used a search engine optimization (SEO) company, please note that. Describing the SEO firm and their actions is a helpful indication of good faith that may assist in evaluation of reconsideration requests.”
Clearly Google people are fully aware of the rash of shady operators selling optimisation services. One just has to search for this term to find the large number of services being offered.
Spotting a SEO Shark
How can we spot an SEO shark. This can be difficult. Search the net for the company concerned. See how many articles are found which are self promoting. SEO sharks often use blogs to promote their services.
Any company (not only SEO services) that posts numerous articles on blogs eulogising the virtues of whatever they sell should not be considered as a provider of products or services. The same can be said for junk e-mail campaigns.
If you write your own blogs, any company using your comment form to promote their products – blacklist them too.
Any practitioner claiming to know exactly what search engines require is likely to be a shark – Google for example changes their algorithm so often it is impossible to know exactly what the parameters are in anything other than general good practice terms.
I would not go so far as to say a site owner should steer well clear of SEO services. Not all of these services are bad, there are some honest and ethical services.
Website owners should exercise extreme caution in choosing any service to improve their web site performance. For my own clients I do not recommend any SEO companies or services to improve their site results (and no, I do not provide a stand alone optimisation service, nor as an added cost service). Basic organic SEO is part of any site build. Customers are encouraged to find unique keyword terms, and to build their sites over time based on relevant valuable content.
At the end of the day it is real value in a website that will bring long-term sustainable results.