By 5 years ago in General

How Google Could Clean Up SEO

In 2009 there are loads of strategies that we expected to stop working in 2006, then again in 2007 and certainly in 2008. The problem is that most of them still seem to be working.

Of all the things Google could fix I would have expected this to be the first. What happens is that SEO companies use link spam and networks of sites to get top rankings for keywords that send them customers.

Customers assume the company must be good at SEO and hire them to work on their sites. The SEO company uses spam to promote their clients and links back to their site from all their clients and gets even higher rankings.

If Google was to just start banning dodgy SEO companies then clients wouldn’t find them and the whole industry would clean up in months. Few clients are going to hire an SEO company that’s been banned from Google.

My question is, why don’t Google ban these sites? Of all the search results that should be manually edited I think SEO related ones are top of the list.

By Patrick Altoft. at 12:44PM on Thursday, 05 Feb 2009

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events. Follow Patrick Altoft on Twitter.

comments

  • Jason

    Good points as usual Patrick. Sadly though the main SEO dodgy companies appear to be the larger more established companies – who also seem to have a very large PPC spends for their clients. In the age of being able to again bid on brand, Google needs all the income it can get

    Oh, did I say that out loud? :)

  • Steve Holmes

    I wonder whether Google actually has the resource available to do it though? It would take a stupid amount of time to check out every single SEO company.
    Like you say, there’s been talk of this, that and the other for years but nothing has actually materialised. Just last year Google revamped and re-released their guidelines with more emphasis on the quality and integrity of inbound links. The suggestion was that certain types of links would be discredited and that this would lead to a lot of websites dropping down the rankings due to reduced link popularity. This seemed to put the frighteners up the industry for a while but i haven’t yet seen any evidence of this actually happening. Consequently the industry has just carried on regardless. Makes me wonder of Google’s only defence against link spammers and SEO cowboys is to perodically send out warning methods without actually following them up with afirmatic action – probably due to the resources needed to actually do so.

  • http://www.smallpile.com SmallPile

    Most of SEO companies are significantly recongizable by users and they surely will find another ‘work around’ to deal with this clean up. The banning of thier site would be good choice since most of users find thier website thru google.

  • Simon

    Good post – I find the same concern with companies within our sector employing underhand tactics to rank in a top position on specific keywords.

    These companies are usually selling unofficial product and in some cases do not even support a customer service support team. Due to their top ranking positions, they are generating incremental sales from customers who assume they are picking up a bargain…you only have to view customer complaint forums to view the issues and negative feedback form customers

    Google does not seem to police this matter and I find it increasingly frustrating

  • http://www.seosapien.com Seo Sapien

    I have to agree, even if it wouldn’t be a complete solution against the problem it would be a great step towards a better SEO industry.

  • http://www.seo-portugal.net Mario Andrade

    I got a question tought: How would Google define what is a dodgy seo company from one that isn’t?

    I know seo companies with about 100 websites on their network that don’t work as link farms but as adsense revenue makers.

    Although I also know some companies that use their own website network for link spam, how could Google define what is and what is not a dodgy spam company

  • https://www.lingscars.com anyway

    Sorry gentlemen I disagree,its a dog eat dog world and one gets to the top of google anyway one can.

    If a company has been astute enough to build up a network of power sites,then more power to there elbow.

    what is being suggested is a bit like your local grocer saying Tesco should be shut down because they have been to efficient and grown to big.?

    The more pressing problem is google showing non relevant sites for the search query.

  • SirBigWig

    The thing about PPC spend is not relevant in my opinion, companies making a good ROI can hardly down tools and goto Yahoo, as there is no volume.

    Google could manually edit these results and they have done in the past, when one of the SEO companies purchased another site that was also ranking in the top 10 for “SEO promotion”.

    That said I agree they don’t seem to have the resources to continually check the SERPS for SEO companies that buy links Plus many SEO’s use paid links and see it as fair game, so you cannot expect SEO companies not to use similar methods.

  • http://www.crearecommunications.co.uk/ Laura Godfrey

    Interesting point to make. Google filtering out bad SEO companies would be extremely beneficial to a client. Using customer’s websites to spam/link to and promote themselves is a crime in itself. So what if Google removed all of these so called ‘scammers’? – This is hard to predict but I think customers would feel more at ease knowing that all ‘dodgy’ SEO companies had been banned.

    ‘The more pressing problem is Google showing non relevant sites for the search query’. – anyway

    Yes, this is very true. I have read this point on a numerous amount of blogs and still feel that companies should only optimise for what they do. Keywords should relate to them, not for random, insignificant words.