Writing by Nick Stamoulis in SEO
It’s an unfortunate truth that the SEO industry is (and has been for a long time) plagued by black hat SEO practitioners, spammers, and just bad SEO providers in general. Since anyone can register a domain and claim to be an SEO expert, there are plenty of cheap, low-quality SEO services available for sale from cheap, low-quality SEO providers. Some of these bad SEO providers are looking to take advantage of unsuspecting site owners, taking your money (however nominal a fee it may seem) and either A)running off with doing no work or B)doing shoddy SEO work that actually hurts your site more than it helps. Unfortunately, when a website is whacked by a Google Penalty because of a spammy SEO campaign, be it a manual or algorithmic penalty, it’s not the bad SEO provider left picking up the pieces; all of the consequences become the responsibility of the site owner.
I’ve heard more than a few tales from site owners, especially after a major update like Panda or Penguin, claiming their site was unfairly hit by the search engines. A quick SEO audit usually reveals exactly where their SEO campaign went wrong, but many try to defend themselves saying they had no idea of what their SEO provider was doing. Why are they being penalized for something they didn’t do? I have to remind them that in Google’s eyes, it doesn’t matter who does what in terms of SEO for a website, it only matters what is being done. Google don’t look at a website’s link portfolio and divide it into natural links, links built by the site owners and links built by an SEO firm—the search giant just looks at the links as links.
It’s a hard lesson to learn as a site owner, but ultimately you are responsible for the actions of your SEO provider, for better or worse. That’s why it is so important that site owners insist on a transparent relationship with their SEO provider. You have every right to know what kind of link building they are doing for your site, where they are publishing content, what kind of anchor text they are using and so forth because ultimately those actions help or hurt YOUR website, not your SEO provider’s site. If your SEO provider refuses to share that information with you consider it a red flag. A white hat SEO provider should be proud to show you what kind of progress they are making with your link building campaign; a bad SEO provider might be trying to hide their black hat actions with smoke and mirrors.
Dealing with the consequences of a bad SEO provider can actually set your site back even farther than when you first launched your SEO campaign. Overcoming a penalty takes a lot more time and effort than had you just played by the white hat rules in the first place. I know it can be tempting to go for the cheapest option when choosing an SEO provider, but think how much it will cost you in the long run if your site is penalized, not just in terms of SEO but your business in general.