For far too long, webmasters and shady SEO companies were able to get away with shortcuts that manipulated the results shown by search engines. When Google rolled out their Panda and Penguin algorithm filters, it buried tens of thousands of websites and put hundreds of SEO firms out of business because they did not have the skills necessary to get websites to rank well using legitimate methods.
Today, we still see companies praying on the naivety of many small business owners.
While it is true that eventually all webspam is discovered by Google, these unethical companies know that they can employ hit and run tactics that don’t get discovered for months by the search engines.
These unscrupulous SEO firms collect their money, show gullible business owners the great short term results they obtained for them and continue to collect money until their ruse leads to a massive and often unrecoverable rankings drop. Naturally, the SEO firm is fired and they simply move on to their next unsuspecting victim.
To protect yourself from these charlatans, it’s necessary to know what Google considers to be manipulative.
If you are doing your own SEO or if you have hired a cut-rate SEO firm to do search engine optimization for you, it is imperative that you know exactly what Google considers to be a link scheme and it is equally important to know what types of pages are considered to be webspam. Fortunately, you don’t have to guess; Google has made it abundantly clear …
There is a ton of invaluable information available in the Help section of Google Webmaster Tools. One of the most important articles there is simply titled, “Link Schemes.”
Please take the time to review your backlink profile and make sure that it doesn’t contain backlinks from any websites that fit the profiles outlined by Google on the link schemes page. They may not have hurt you yet but they undoubtedly will – sooner than you probably think!.
While reading through Google’s definitions of link schemes, be sure to note that Google added three new link schemes to their list last week – mass guest posting, article marketing and optimized anchor text on other websites. Yes, as we alluded to in the opening paragraph, things that were considered “safe” just days ago are likely to get you into big trouble in the future!
Now that you’ve taken the time to eliminate any dubious backlinks in your profile, you need to take a look at the pages of your website or any website that is linking to you to make sure that they don’t fit the definition of webspam. Most of us know what webspam is when we see it – a page or entire site that exists purely for ranking purposes but doesn’t offer any real value to searchers on the Internet.
This could be something as obvious as a page with incomprehensible sentences, likely made by content spinning software, or it could be a website that users think is going to provide answers but really offers nothing of value at all.
Some website spam sites have fairly decent content but use words in the articles to link to other websites that are completely unrelated to the article.
Fortunately, it’s not hard at all to see what Google considers to be webspam. As part of a different section of their website devoted to helping webmasters – Inside Search – Google created the Fighting Spam page, which shows dozens of real life examples of websites they have recently removed from their search results for being too spammy.
Today, Google’s Fighting Spam page is showing me 48 different pages that were recently removed; tomorrow, I will probably see a whole new set of removed sites.
It may not be initially apparent why some of the websites were marked as being spammy. Start clicking through the pages of those sites, though, and you’ll soon see why!
You Can Go it Alone or Get Some Help
As much as we’d all like to save some money and do things ourselves, it takes a lot of time to build a website the proper way and even more time to develop solid backlinks.
Add to that all of the effort required to successfully manage a pay per click or social media campaign and there simply are not enough hours in the day for most successful business owners to get it all done while still servicing their customers.
Smart owners finally give in and decide they need to hire an SEO agency. If you’ve decided that you need to hire an SEO agency, please ask questions of any company you are considering hiring.
What type of links will they be getting? How will they get them? Do they guarantee that they will give you a report each month of every single backlink they create? Can they show you any examples of campaigns they have managed? Will they give you several contact numbers of happy customers?
You’re the expert of your business; we’re experts at ours. The key to hiring a great SEO firm is getting one that builds the type of website and backlink profile that is completely above board – one that will never be subject to future penalties.
We have tons of success stories, helping businesses big and small increase not only their presence online, but their profits, too. We’re ready to make your business our next website success story. If you can handle all of the new business, we’re ready to deliver it!