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Unbelievable - Site Got To Page 1 Of Google Within A Few Hours


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17 replies to this topic

#1 bobmeetin

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 12:33 PM

This is a relative's business site which has not been maintained; if you were to google any of the key phrases, you would be paging for hours. The only way to find the site would be to type in the website name or copy/paste and quote some info from the business owner's bio.

Business owner got a call from some firm guaranteeing that they could get him with a few key words onto google page 1 practically overnight. Of course he bought in and the next day (he might have said in about an hour) he checked and there he was:

I think the key phrase was something like:

$city_name patent attorney
$city_name patents

The caveat: The company that did this said that it would only work if you had your home page set to "www.google.com" which limits the audience. Probably still a large audience - could it be 10% market share, who knows?

Some weeks after the business owner checked again and the magic ceased. They have been dodging his phone calls and charging around $275 for this monthly service.

I walked the business owner through a Google search results page painting the results, "Adwords, Google Local, Organic Results, Google Local Sidebar" - or whatever the current names of these functions. Business owner affirms that it was in the organic results.

The questions:

Q) Is anyone familiar with any SEO (or whatever) technique described as above? If so, please elaborate.
Q) Black hat or good practice?

He, the business owner, is upset that the service has fallen short, of course, but rather than ask if I can do SEO, he wants to know if I can deliver as this other company did on day 1 and I'm not apt to make any guarantee like this. He also wants the region expanded to the neighboring metro region and not just the city.

#2 chrishirst

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 02:10 PM

Ever since 1998 newly discovered URLs often appear on the first page of results within a day or so of being added to the index, it only lasts a few days, week at tops. And then they are gone. (Just like the "experts" are by the sound of things.

Good practice? Nope it's just a con.

Edited by chrishirst, 18 July 2012 - 02:11 PM.


#3 Jill

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 02:11 PM

I'm thinking the guy installed some sort of plug-in that made it seem like he was on top.

Regardless, whatever they did it has to be web spam. Would be surprised if it was anything else.

#4 chrishirst

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 02:14 PM

Though it is another example of how any good SEO should educate their clients into the !REAL" world of search, and how looking at "rankings" is not really useful.

#5 bobmeetin

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 02:34 PM

Regarding the website, it's been there for probably 7 to10 years with 4 pages:

Home
Biography
Contact
Disclaimer

with very little content and no content updates for years other than converting the contact file to .php.

Jill suggests a plugin. I'll ask (but this is almost 2 months after the fact and people forget). Is there any kind of plugin you could install on IE or perhaps FF that could give this type of almost instantaneous result.

Then there's the "It worked at the beginning, why not now?" Bob, can you do/fix this? If it were a plugin, what changed since then?

I'm curious about the technique but more than curious about damage control. The website was invisible before the intrusion; I'm really hoping for no permanent damage.

It's probably irrelevant but if I copy and paste and quote "some unique text from his bio page" into google it is found.

#6 Jill

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 04:05 PM

Did he have any traffic from the keywords when he saw it at the top? My guess is no which goes with the plugin theory.

#7 bobmeetin

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 04:18 PM

He says that after making google his home page that he went to google and entered in the key phrase in google search and got a results page which showed some page of his website in the organic search results.

I asked yesterday if he got any calls/results/contacts and he said no. He suggested this might have been because the scope was too narrow (the city too small) or perhaps because it was only working for a limited duration which he wasn't monitoring. He was initially satisfied so ignored it for a while, perhaps several weeks to a month, until he started getting invoices.

Are there 'as if' plugins? Install this plugin, make Google home, and it gives artificial results based upon some parameters set in the plugin. i.e. You work with us and this is what we can do for you (the plugin being a marketing tool to convince you to buy)?

Edited by bobmeetin, 18 July 2012 - 04:19 PM.


#8 bobmeetin

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 08:47 PM

New information came in - maybe I should be banned for not making my clients reiterate what they say/did until the moon changes color...

Speaking with him this afternoon he now clarifies:

1) No, I did not have to set google to my home page; I was directed to go to google and do the search (omg)

And 2) It took a week to happen. They called me first and promoted the service then called back a week later to show the results which were to go to google.com, type in "patent $city_name" and presto there in the organic results.

I still think it's rather quick results but certainly this changes the scope of the issue. New suggestions?

#9 Michael Martinez

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 11:47 PM

Changing a relatively uncompetitive SERP in Google within a week is child's play. It probably took no more than 10 links. I have seen people do it with 1 link. I used to set links on Friday, go home for the weekend, and come in on Monday to happy clients.

I would not buy a service that tried to entice people like this. They set high expectations with sleight-of-link tricks but they won't fix the problem when the search penalties come in.

#10 bobmeetin

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 08:10 AM

Changing a relatively uncompetitive SERP in Google within a week is child's play. --> Maybe to you, not yet to me. I have a library of information including link-building books, but they tend to grow dust as my passion is development and building link-worthy content.

That being said with curiosity in hand last night I set the site up for Google Webmaster Tools, G Analytics and looked at another service that shows inbound links. The 3rd party service showed 4 links from the same domain, so effectively one link. The domain is an innocent looking engineering listing service - nothing special - looks like something the business owner would have set up.

It's early for GWT, but Links to your Site and Internal Links show "No data available". Perhaps wait a few days to get data...

If I google the domain name I see a few innocuous results ( superpages, various crawlers, siteanalytics, businessdirectory.bizjournals, yahoo local, etc. Nothing outstanding - I do wonder why these don't display as inbound links.

What explains what's going on?

Would this company have set up 10 links as you say to get the site to rank in the top 10 then dropped them and why if they are getting paid?

Well, Google Adwords and a result in the top-page results could certainly explain the results - however I re-affirmed with the business owner that it was in the organic results and sent him a google page diagram.

Many questions I know.

Edited by bobmeetin, 19 July 2012 - 08:29 AM.


#11 Jill

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 08:42 AM

As Michael said, anyone can get noncompetitive phrases to rank. It's not SEO. And it's not useful if nobody is searching for the phrases that you're ranking for.

#12 bobmeetin

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 04:16 PM

It's all about linkworthy content and inbound links...

As this service had no access to the website and I'm not "seeing" inbound links (currently) what else am I looking for? What does the magic potion look like?

#13 Michael Martinez

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 02:16 AM

Some SEOs (including me) use methods of obscuring link trails from competitive intelligence. They are not perfect but they can make it difficult for people to figure out where the links are coming from. If the SEO agency is hiding their links from competitive intelligence tools they are almost certainly not natural links, semi-natural links, or natural-looking links. But I cannot be 100% positive of that (in fact, I have no idea of what they did -- so take what I share here with a huge grain of salt).

Even on my most legitimate white hat no-link-building-whatsoever Websites I tend to block the link intelligence tools, so there are plenty of real Websites that do this as well.

Google Webmaster Tools does not update its link data in real-time; it seems to happen periodically, perhaps every few days, perhaps once a week. I don't know for sure. You really cannot trust what you find there anyway because they include a lot of intermittent links that vanish (probably served in Javascript widgets) by the time you see the link reports.

Third-party tools are completely useless for analyzing why a SERP changed. They can reveal basic linking strategies and practices, which provides some competitive insight.

If I had to guess (and it would be a completely wild guess, a total shot in the dark) I would think these guys use a combination of blogs that they built themselves, perhaps supplemented by some social media resources. They may be writing link baity articles that just happen to have manipulative links embedded in them.

Anyone can do that -- it's not a very good long-term strategy, in my opinion, but the better the perceived quality of the Website the harder it is for the search engines to filter out the links (in my opinion -- search engineers may not agree with me, and they would be in a better position to know than I).

Of course, it could also be that whatever the SEO agency did was so spammy it just wasn't going to last -- in which case your relative absolutely does not want to repeat the process. The search engine may forgive one spammy shot in the arm. It will be less likely to forgive a pattern of abuse.

Edited by Michael Martinez, 20 July 2012 - 02:26 AM.


#14 Mikl

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 09:12 AM

Bobmeetin,

You said, "They have been dodging his phone calls and charging around $275 for this monthly service.".

Are you really saying that he is still paying $275 per month? If so, the very first thing to do should be to cancel the payment.

Mike

#15 bobmeetin

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 04:03 PM

Yes $275/mo - I just heard about it this week and have to tread softly here. He wants to drop them but first wants to know if I can do what the firm did even though it's not working now. Not knowing what the firm did, and having a general knowledge of SEO I'm not willing to make a guarantee that might come back to haunt me.

I'm more apt to tell him that I'll follow a traditional path and first build a link-worthy site and second, focus on linkbuilding and it will take time to move up, hopefully to page 1 and hopefully within 4 months but no guarantee. One only hopes that no damage has been done already.

The people on this list who do SEO for a living have a confident sense of what they can typically deliver, whereis I'm not in that lot.

So, Mike says there are techniques to hide links as well as the general unreliability of link-checking tools, even google. Yes I know of the unreliability. This other information makes it a tougher nut to crack.

"If I had to guess (and it would be a completely wild guess, a total shot in the dark) I would think these guys use a combination of blogs that they built themselves, perhaps supplemented by some social media resources. They may be writing link baity articles that just happen to have manipulative links embedded in them."

Meaning perhaps they have some business blogs reserved for this purpose that they keep up so they have some page rank?

Link baity articles with manipulative links by way of an article service or something they own and they can update the links at any time?

I'll have to look up link baity article.




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