Is your current or potential SEO Company likely to do more harm than good?

Here, at Verti Group International, we are completely open with our clients. This is evidenced by the fact that we offer a free video to prospective clients, detailing the methods, tactics and techniques that we will utilize to help their site gain visibility on the major search engines.

If, when interviewing an SEO company, they will not disclose the methods they intend to use then beware; they could ruin your site’s credibility or even get it blacklisted.

In this blog post, we look at some of the ways that dubious SEO companies use to try to trick the search engines into ranking websites.

Paid for links

Before 2011 paid for links were considered the way to go. Backlinks (websites that link to yours) are one of the criteria that Google uses to rank a page. Webmasters would either buy from, or swap links with other webmasters. As this is patently unfair, Google now punish sites that have unnatural links. If a link looks odd to you then it will look odd to search engines.

Imagine that you were reading a blog about fishing, for example. A link that offers you some free hooks would look natural. One that gives you the chance to win a car… Less so.
Google guidelines: https://goo.gl/4CzXYL

Invisible text

Using hidden text is exactly as described. Writing text, links and groups of phrases in a way that the search engines can see them but not the visitor, in order to ‘game’ the search engines. White on white for example. Many people abused this though and search engines can now easily identify hidden text. Not all hidden text is bad though. Around images, JavaScript and video it is often necessary, as some visitors, for a variety of reasons, may not be able to view the content.
Google guidelines: https://goo.gl/pMePfi

Spam comments

Have you ever read a completely unrelated message in a comments section, with a link to another website? That is comment spam. Webmasters post links to their sites on other people’s comment section to build links. This is often done electronically and is why lots of sites use ‘Captcha’ to make sure that you are a human!

Spamming of this sort is not restricted to comments. Forums, newsgroups and social networks are just as susceptible.
Google guidelines: https://goo.gl/pIRghA

Duplicate content

Yet another way that people try to fool the search engines is by writing duplicate content across different URLs. There are though, many instances when duplicate content is necessary, product descriptions for example. If your website is found to be using duplicate content in order to manipulate the rankings, then it will be penalized.
Google guidelines: https://goo.gl/pbgYKz

Cloaking

Cloaking is a technique that shows one set of content to the visitor, and another to the search engines. Users see a completely different site to the ones that Googlebot crawls. This method gives the user unexpected results and is therefore frowned upon by Google.
Google guidelines: https://goo.gl/OOzYwh

Doorway pages

Have you ever tried to search for something only to find that you are going round in circles? Doorway pages are bad for users as they lead to many similar pages in the search results and each result takes the visitor to what is essentially the same page. Many domain names target a particular area or city that funnel down to one particular page.
Google guidelines: https://goo.gl/17f9eZ

Keyword stuffing

This refers to loading a webpage with keywords or numbers to try to gain an advantage in, for example, a particular region. It is obvious to the user as the prose just is not right. Constant repetitions of the same words, in one piece of writing, is as obvious to the search engines as it is to you.
Google guidelines: https://goo.gl/AJlxlg

If you have any questions regarding the above, or, if you are concerned that your site may be using one or more of the methods that we have looked at then please don’t hesitate to contact us. We can fix any of these problems but the sooner we get to it the better.