SEO – search engine optimization. Everyone knows they need it, but many business owners don’t really know much about it, and fewer know that some methods of SEO can hurt your business. Doing SEO right takes time, but like anything there are people who find shortcuts which aren’t always legit… In everything, if something seems like too good a deal, it probably is. I see ads for seo at rates which are not possible, knowing the time involved to do something right. I’ve seen ads where if this was done correctly, the SEO company would be making less than minimum wage to do it. So why is this? Usually it’s what can be called “blackhat” methods. There’s so many scams I can’t go through them all in one small blog post, but I’ll explain one of the most widespread I’ve run into in the last couple years.
You get a spectacular deal on a website design or seo work, and I mean spectacular, like 20% of what any legit business would charge. Wow, you can’t believe your luck! Cue ominous music… Well, the reason you were given this out of this world pricing was because they really just wanted to build your site to be underhanded SEO for another company. Your site gets hidden code put into it, creating what is called a link farm. So what is that? It’s where, hidden in the code of your site, are link after link after link to other sites. The worst case of this I saw was a retired lady who came to me to revamp her site design, she ran a small handcrafted product business online in her spare time. When I got a look at the code, I was shocked to see hundreds of links to sex sites, sex shops, sex chat, you get the idea, if it had to do with sex, her little craft shop site was being used for SEO for it. The cheapo service that did it just wants to pump out as many of these link farm sites as they can, to serve their real clients – at your expense.
Search engines do have algorithms to detect link farms, and if they detect it in your site they can blacklist you right out of all searches. If that happens, your site/domain is essentially worthless. I’m all for a deal, believe me, but it’s important to look at things logically and if the pricing is massively different than the rest of the industry you’re most likely dealing with a conman. It’s important to do it right because the shortcut can lead to a dead end for your site.