Back in 2014, it was reported by Matt Cutts, the former head of search quality at Google, that over 400,000 manual actions per month were being initiated by Google.
The problem with search engine optimisation is that it’s a saturated field. A service offered all over the web, used by businesses worldwide. As business owners, you’re more focused on becoming experts within your own field, rather than learning and keeping up to date with a technical one. So, what do you do? You outsource to an SEO consultant or agency. Whilst there are plenty of trusted sources, the use of online advertising means there’s a lot of rogue agents out there.
You’ve seen the adverts within Google’s search. Guaranteed page one rankings for as low as £129 etc. There are two problems with this.
1. It’s not possible to guarantee rankings. Google algorithms are forever changing with 3-4 big updates rolling out each year and smaller updates happening on a daily occurrence. If anyone could guarantee rankings, the search results would never provide a good user experience and that’s Google’s search model after all.
2. The work required to carry out an effective SEO strategy certainly can’t be done within such a short space of time to warrant such low costs. Nor is it a one-off process. It’s a continuous one.
So, what’s the deal? Well, online advertising makes it too easy for anyone to put an advertisement in front of your eyes. The good news is, that research shows 80% of users scroll past the paid results as there is more trust in the organic results. The bad news is, a lot of companies get caught out by such promising claims and for such a low marketing cost, it must be worth a try, right? No.
So, what are these people doing? The ones claiming such impressive results for an extremely low cost? They’re using what’s known as black hat SEO. Let me explain the difference.
White hat SEO.
White hat SEO follows all search engine rules and policies. In short, this practice of search engine optimisation is done by a human, manually. It’s time-consuming, however, is the way optimisation should be carried out. There are no fast tracks here.
Black hat SEO.
Not only does this go against policies, but it is often done using software. The problem is, this is what those people claiming guaranteed results for a low cost do. They use software to achieve their end goal. For example, acquiring hundreds of spammy links within 24hrs and so forth.
These unethical tactics mean only one thing for your business, and that’s a penalty from the search engines. A penalty ultimately means bad news for your business as you’ll find either your rankings drop in a huge way, or if you’re really unlucky, deindexing – meaning you no longer feature within the search results. Of course, this doesn’t bother the individuals carrying out these tactics as their business model is based on getting a one-time fee per client. They’re not looking at building business relationships.
Our advice would be if it seems to good to be true, don’t do it. It’s certainly not worth the risk when it comes to having that big of an impact on your business.
If you’re not using a trusted SEO consultant or agency, you’re putting a lot of trust and power in the hands of someone you really shouldn’t be.
Sadly, there are also cases of people using the above tactic to cause damage to their competitors. Whatever the reason may be, penalties happen and when they do, undoing the damage can be time-consuming and very stressful.
There are two types of penalty that can have an impact on business owners. Manual actions and algorithm penalties. The former could be due to something like unnatural links accumulation whilst the latter could be due to an update such as Google Panda which had 28 updates in the first four years of release and focused on low-quality content.
The good news is, rankings can be recovered through analysis and recovery strategies. We’ve helped businesses recover from manual and algorithm penalties. If you’ve seen your traffic drop in a big way and need help with your recovery strategy, get in touch.