Everyone wants to talk about SEO. That’s understandable—there’s a lot to talk about! So let’s consider another perspective. We have discussed and included in some of our resource materials how to generate good SEO. If you’re following some simple steps for generating and sharing good content and optimizing text on your website, you should be doing pretty well in organic ranking. But what if your website is blacklisted or being penalized for bad SEO?
This can happen for several reasons, but it’s very rare that someone does it accidentally. Usually this happens when a practice owner hires an “SEO” company. Not all experts on SEO use the underhanded tactics (sometimes called “black hat” SEO) that will hurt your digital presence, but we have encountered more and more cold calls for SEO services and calls from clients asking our advice on whether they need to hire this type of company.
There are three very important reasons you should beware of SEO companies.
Many companies make SEO services very expensive.
We have heard everything from SEO services costing a hundred dollars per month to over $1100 per month! Sure, you might be buying some landing pages, digital ads, possibly Google Adwords, or social media management, but really investigate what services are being offered. Also, ask around and see if the fees for services are reasonable. There’s no way you should pay $1100 per month for SEO services that include backlinking and keyword optimization, for instance. Those services aren’t worth that much, and almost every time someone pays for those services, the company is using black hat SEO tactics, or at best they are using outdated techniques because those things don’t even provide the kind of good SEO that optimized content and good content distribution provide.
Bad SEO can greatly damage your online reputation.
The worst thing that we see in the wake of an SEO company is that a website is ranking very low for a term that’s clearly related to their service and location. Not every business with a decent website is going to appear in the number one search spot. You still have to do things to constantly improve and maintain your digital presence, but we have seen people in small towns search for their business keywords along with their location and they’re coming up on the fifth page of search results. This basically makes your website invisible to organic search because no one is going to skip the first 40 search results and then decide to click on you. It makes it so that you gain no organic search traffic and have to rely completely on people who already know your website URL. It is very bad.
The damage of bad SEO sometimes can’t be fixed.
It’s rare that this happens, but it’s not difficult to get to this point. Something like poorly written or duplicate metadata can be fixed in minutes by someone logging into the back end of your website. Going around the internet to fix spam backlinks, however, is sometimes impossible. Let me explain why.
Let’s say you did pay an SEO company for backlinking and keyword optimization. Here’s what most of them will do: add 10, 20, or sometimes a crazy number like 70 or more phrases to the meta keywords in the back end of your website, they’ll buy a URL with the keyword in it and redirect it to your site, and they will buy backlinks. First off, Google no longer uses meta keywords to determine SEO. You can enter them, but the Google software is getting very good at just reading what’s on your site and determining your keywords from that. If you do have keywords entered, you should never do more than a few or else the search engines will penalize you for keyword “stuffing” in an attempt to get traffic you haven’t earned. This can easily be fixed by removing those keywords.
Now, if you paid that company for backlinking, you may have realized your website rank for the term “grand ledge optometrist” began falling and falling. Why would that happen? By paying to have your site listed on sites whose sole purpose is to link to your website in an attempt to increase SEO, you have effectively told Google that you’re not willing to generate good content to drive traffic. Instead you want to just pay for visitors, but not by doing something legitimate like Adwords. This will begin to affect your SEO and lower your search rank.
If you realize that you’ve been paying for spam backlinks, it is very doubtful that the company you hired will go back and remove those links (at least not without more feeds), or you may attempt to contact the owner of the linking site and ask them to remove your link. Often they will tell you that they will remove your link for a price, or that you have to sign up for a subscription to “manage” your listing. You don’t even want the listing! They just do this as a way to make money. If you pay for backlinking from an SEO company that uses these practices, there may be dozens or even hundreds of search results that are spam sites linking to your URL. You could take a year or more trying to remove all of those links and still might not get most of them removed.
This is when it makes more sense to buy a new domain and start your SEO from scratch. That’s an unfortunate step to have to take, but it happens when people buy SEO services from unknown or disreputable companies.
If you ever have questions about what SEO is included with your Innexus website, please contact us. We never practice keyword stuffing, never buy backlinking, and do everything we can to help advise on positive and ethical SEO practices!SEO