I come to you today with a warning: Beware of SEO companies. Not all SEO companies are bad, but many employ tactics that are considered “black hat,” where they promote your site by doing things that violate the rules of the internet. The likelihood is they will be, but ask just so you have peace of mind. The problem with black hat is that it can actually decrease traffic to your site, and even get you banned from the search engines. For example, Google penalizes a site if they detect spammy links or any other type of black hat method.
Some examples of black hat SEO techniques include promoting a site using fake social media accounts, spamming forums with link postings, and creating large amounts of spammy “doorway” pages to get extra search engine listings. It also can include stuffing your page with keywords and invisible text, article spinning (using automated software to write an article by copying another article but changing some of the words to avoid the search engines it being detecting it as a copy), link farms/wheels/networks, or even page swapping (totally changing the webpage after it has been ranked by search engines).
Usually black hat SEO is just unethical, but I was shocked this week when an SEO company that somebody else hired did something illegal to me. A webmaster who links to my site at IdiomSite.com forwarded me a copy of an email he received that he thought sounded suspicious (for security purposes, I removed some of the personal info):
From: [idioms.in website owner’s name]
Sent: 25 March 2016
Subject: Please Update Our Website Link
Hope you are doing good. I am from the web developer team of idiomsite.
We are thankful of you for placing our link at the following page of your website:
I humbly request you to kindly update http://www.idiomsite.com/ link to http://idioms.in as this is our new web address of idioms.
The old link (http://www.idiomsite.com/) will be closed shortly.
New updated url is: http://idioms.in
Thank you and Regards,
[idioms.in website owner’s name]
This email is totally fake. They are emailing all the websites that link to me to trick them into linking to the competing idiom site instead. So, I emailed the site that sent this fake email and here was their response:
I am Sorry, I had hired an local and cheap SEO company, they proposed me to get website traffic and good search engine rank.
They had access to my website and this email address.
I am receiving many spam report emails against my website from Admin of forums, blogs and other sites since last 10 days.
I am just shocked.
And instead of gaining traffic, I am losing traffic dramatically and rank is dropped in Google.
I am really sorry, what they did under my name. Because of the Black Hat Seo, I have just terminated the contract.
And it won’t happen again.
Once again, I am highly regretted for that.