A client of ours recently employed the services of an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) company. They sent her a "report" of the work that they had done to date which she sent to us and, as a result, prompted us to do a bit of digging, as the info in the report just wasn't quite right…Turns out this SEO company was spamming (randomly posting in) blogs with generic comments that link back to her website. Comments that not only had poor grammar, but misspellings of the suburb (Armidale is in NSW, "Armadale" is a suburb of Melbourne) as well:
Your blog is very enriched. You can see my website [Company Name] Australia which is best [keyword] Shop in Melbourne, Armidale, Brunswick. It also eminent [keyword] Suppliers and [keyword] Stores as well as best [keyword] Shops in Brunswick, Melbourne, Armidale .
**Please note that we have removed the company name, website, and industry keywords Apart from the blatant grammatical mistakes and awkward language, this comment is being spammed on many (87 at last count) blogs in this particular industry – and these poor quality postings can really tarnish their professional reputation. What's worse is that most of the blogs that are being spammed with these comments are hosted on Blogger/blogspot.com, a blogging platform owned and operated by Google. This is considered "black hat SEO" which is essentially a foolhardy attempt at fooling Google. This is what will happen – there will be a spike in the client's website's ranking (which could possibly justify this SEO company promise of a listing on the 1st page of Google), but once Google tracks what is happening, our client's website will be blacklisted. When you're blacklisted on Google, you not only lose your ranking but basically will need to start at the bottom (which could be page 1,000!) and re-establish yourself all over again trying to earn back Google's trust by submitting a request reconsidering your site. Not worth it. This same SEO company had posted comments and entries on behalf of this company on sites and directories completely unrelated to the client's industry, such as the "adobe learn" site and "athiest news and views". I rang up the company because I had to hear for myself their sales pitch: "We guarantee you'll be on the first page of Google" and "It takes 3 weeks". Disgraceful. This is what the Official Google Webmaster blog page says about spam comments. Unfortunately pleading ignorance just isn't worth the headache and negative penalty effects that your site might receive as a result. The quintessential tip-off of a dodgy company: guaranteeing you'll appear on the first page of search results. Google does not disclose their searching algorithms. Google pays their employees very very well, provides all kinds of perks, essentially treating their team like royalty so that there aren't rogue employees who tell all of Google's deepest, darkest secrets; what is the likelihood that some random company can hold true to their promise/guarantee your business to be listed on the first page? Google provides a LOT of information on their site and in the Webmasters area. Before you pay some dodgy company $200-300/month (yes, that's what they charge!) to ruin your ranking, arm yourself with information. You don't need to be an expert, but you should walk into the meeting with some knowledge of the basics. If you're lucky and persevere, Google may be forgiving in the long run. The question you need to ask yourself is how many months will your site not appear in the search listings and how much business will you have lost as a result? Moreover, how much money will you then in turn need to pay for a legitimate SEO expert to fix your ranking, remove your site from being blacklisted, and put you back into Google's good graces? Think about that and whether it's worth it? Unfortunately, ignorance is not bliss and in this day and age, you get what you pay for. These dodgy companies prey on innocent, unsuspecting business owners and lure them in with false promises. Knowledge is key, read for yourself straight from the horse's mouth in Google's SEO Starter Guide the do's and don'ts so you aren't fooled!!