In past posts I’ve discussed how damaging it can be to engage the services of an unethical SEO who engages in link spamming activities. My old posts are titled “You Too Can Rank In India” and “Amazingly Awful Link Building.” I’m sure you’re familiar with all the goings-on at Google about links lately. If not, I’ll sum up: Google hates unnatural links and will penalize sites that have them, they provide a disavow tool for people to use to beg for forgiveness from said penalty but before you use that tool they want you to go through a link removal process with the sites where you got the unnatural links. That’s created a bit of a problem for some webmasters because some of the sites where they got “free” links are now wanting money to remove the links. Someone recently posted on WebmasterWorld about how they can’t afford to go through the process of removing bad links. The poster says the sites that have the bad links are directory websites, presumably spam directory sites. These spam directory sites charge anywhere from $20 – $500 to remove each link. The poster totaled up all the fees to an astonishing $12,210.00!!
I’m not mad at the spam directories. I’m mad at the people who claimed to be SEOs and got him into this mess. The spam directories have to employ someone to go through their directory to handle each removal request. They can’t do that for free. It’s a little predatory and quite un-cool, but that’s for discussion elsewhere.
It’s another reminder of how easily people who claim to be SEOs can get you in a world of trouble. If you employ an SEO to deal with your website you MUST know how they develop links for you and you MUST understand what that means! I have a new client who employed a firm to promote their site (I won’t even call them an SEO firm because they are so bad). The company sent the client regular reports about what they were doing to “promote” the client’s site. Had the client known anything about what they were seeing they would have been furious. Here’s why…
This company my client contracted was creating spam links and it looks like they were outsourcing to an Indian company and never supervising the process at all. Either that, or they’re just plain dumb. They were submitting [presumably] automated listings to tons of free directory sites. Free directory sites that are complete and utter spam. In fact, it’s so bad I’ve placed a screenshot of one month’s submissions below. Note that this is ONLY one month and total submissions equals 1,255 directory listings. This client is likely in for a surprise at the next penguin update. It’s terrible timing because they are a brand new client for us and we might have two more months (at most) of decent rankings before they get nuked because of the links from these spam directories. If I’m honest, I’m surprised they’ve gotten away with it for this long.
A big clue about how terrible these links are is the text I found on one of the websites when I went to check it out. There was no doubt in my mind that it was a spam directory because it’s named “seoconfused.” However, I think even a novice could read their footer statement and know that something fishy was going on. Check out the statement:
I decided to check a couple more directory sites to see if the previous company had any plausible deniability about their link building efforts. They don’t. A 30 second audit would have revealed the level of spam being perpetrated. In fact, some of the directory sites show the malware warning in Chrome when trying to visit them, and many of the pages just plain old 404.
The worst part, this is only about 10% of the spam directory links that the company got for them. This doesn’t include the horribly terrible junk bookmarks and other spam links that are contained in the report. I’ve lost a client in the past because their rankings continued to drop due to the previous company’s crappy link building. I hope I don’t lose these guys because of the last company’s sins.
I said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s YOUR responsibility as a site owner, or outsourcer, to 100% understand what is happening with your site. Take 10, 15, or 20 minutes to really understand what’s going on. Make whoever is working for you explain what is happening. In the end, it’s your company, your website, your reputation – no matter what third-party company ruins it.