As most business owners don’t understand the technical side of search engine optimization they are victim to SEO schemes. Although most SEO consultants practice ethical search engine optimization there are some in the industry that are dishonest. Like many other industries in today’s society it is up to the consumer to do some research in order to avoid being taken advantage of. The purpose of this article is to educate consumers of common SEO schemes used in the industry by some SEO consultants that lack ethics.
One of the most common SEO schemes involves providing inbound links from sites owned by the SEO company. The problem is that instead of investing time and money to build links to your site the company actually optimizes sites that they own and provide backlinks from these sites. This technique increases the dependency of your sites rankings on links provided by them. Once you stop paying your monthly maintenance fees these links are usually removed and within a month or two your placement within search engines begins to decrease. In order to maintain your placement within search results you are locked into paying a monthly maintenance fees.
Another common scheme is for an SEO consultant to use your website to optimize their own. Many SEO companies like to stick a link at the bottom of your site that crediting their business and providing a link back to their company website. If a link is required to acknowledge that a certain SEO company optimized your website be sure to inquire if this link is assigned the nofollow attribute. This attribute allows user to transcend the link but doesn’t allow any PageRank to be transferred from your site to theirs. If you hire an SEO company to optimize your site be sure to ask if they require such a link and have them explain why they feel this is essential.
It is also important to be on the watch for SEO companies that will use your website to optimize their client’s websites. Link pages can be a valuable resource if the links they contain actually benefit the user and are industry specific. Unfortunately some SEO companies use link pages to link to their clients. They lead the owner of each business into believing they are partaking in an authentic reciprocal link exchange campaign when in fact all they are really doing is linking customer websites together. There are two major problems with this type of SEO strategy.
The first problem is that once again the SEO company as authority to remove these links once you are no longer paying monthly maintenance fees. If these reciprocal links are removed all you are left with is a link page that has several outbound links with no incoming links. The end result is a link page with a net loss of PageRank. To prevent this certain links from this page will have to be removed and often this page will have to be removed entirely. If the owner of this website doesn’t possess a basic understanding of html this task will have to be outsourced and will cost additional money.
The second problem is that most link pages should contain links to useful resources that benefit the user. Unfortunately many SEO consultants forget about user experience and focus strictly on optimization. As a result most link pages end up being a random collection of unrelated links that have nothing to do with your industry. Links like this have very little value and often raise a red flag for search engines signalling that inorganic optimization is taking place.
To avoid this be sure to ask your consultant about their linking strategy and if they can provide samples of link sources. You can also print a monthly link reports using one of several online backlink checkers. Be sure that the links acquired are from sources outside of the SEO companies control.
There are many SEO schemes like the ones I mention in this article. Best advice is to do some research and educate yourself about basic SEO principles before hiring an SEO consultant. Reading this article should help you to identify some of the more common SEO schemes. When inquiring about the SEO services a company provides be sure to specifically ask about their link building strategies, if they require a link to be placed at the bottom of the pages within your site to give credit, and if they use or recommend link pages. Like many other industries in today’s society education is the only sure way to avoid SEO schemes.