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Is This Bad Practice?


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14 replies to this topic

#1 Red5

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 09:53 AM

Hello all. I’m hoping that one of you might be able to offer some advice.

 

Our company recently hired a SEO company to help us with a website for a new product that we recently launched. One of the strategies for helping us promote this new product included link building. While looking at the site analytics recently, I noticed that we’d had traffic from some unusual sources. When I went to the referring site, I found keyword rich articles with hyperlinks back to our product in the user profiles of accounts set up for the purpose of including this content.  In addition I’m finding similar things posted to some quite ropey looking link sites and forums, many located outside of the USA.

 

I’m concerned that this method could do us more harm than good. Should I be concerned about this? 

 

Thanks in advance!



#2 Jill

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 10:13 AM

I’m concerned that this method could do us more harm than good. Should I be concerned about this? 

 

 

Yes.

 

They didn't show you any of that so you could approve it?


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#3 Red5

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 10:21 AM

No, unfortunately they didn't, otherwise we'd had put the brakes on it until we knew what we were getting in to.

 

I spoke to them about it and they assured me that this was fine and that "everybody is doing it"... but it just doesn't seem right. I'm concerned about any potential consequences from this.



#4 qwerty

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 11:16 AM

There are potential consequences, but "potential" really is the operative word. Some sites get away with doing this sort of thing indefinitely. In other cases, search engines will keep links like these from giving the site any benefit, which means any payment you made for the links will have been wasted. It's also possible you'll be hit with a manual penalty and will need to remove or disavow the links and file a reconsideration request.

 

If the people you hired didn't get your approval on the specifics of this campaign, that's pretty bad. If they didn't even tell you that there was any risk involved in what they planned to do (or if they don't actually believe there's any risk), you should fire them.


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#5 Red5

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 11:27 AM

Thanks for the responses. It's very much appreciated. 

 

I think it's possible that they believe that this is a perfectly acceptable way of doing things, but to me it set alarm bells ringing and just doesn't seem particularly ethical. 

 

Do these tactics even work at all? Because from what I have read since coming across this problem, I'm lead to believe that there's no real benefit from it and the potential for real trouble.

 

Thanks again!



#6 chrishirst

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 11:38 AM

The phrase "Everybody is doing it" probably means they are using some useless tactic that the "experts" are claiming is the greatest thing EVER!



#7 Red5

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 03:52 PM

So i came across something else. There is at least one wordpress site setup that is linking back to our site via various versions of a similar article posted to the blog there. What's the general consensus on tactics like that?  

 

I'm concerned to see what else I discover...



#8 Michael Martinez

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 09:19 PM

Do these tactics even work at all? Because from what I have read since coming across this problem, I'm lead to believe that there's no real benefit from it and the potential for real trouble.


Yes, these tactics CAN and sometimes DO work.

But several major "guest blogging" services and many of their users were recently penalized by Google for doing exactly this. It's throwing the dice in a wild way. Legitimate editorially-given links are NOT embedded in author profiles.

Any reputable SEO agency that builds links for you SHOULD be advising you of the risks entailed by ALL "link building" activities and providing you with a full list of all the links they have placed. They should also be ready to remove or "nofollow" any links immediately that you object to.

It would be better for your SEO provider to help you develop content and marketing strategies that ATTRACT links from natural link givers, though. When you don't control where the links come from or what they look like the search engines tend to be MUCH happier with your backlink profiles.

Just because "everyone else is doing it" is the worst possible excuse for building high-risk links (not to mention failing to report those links to you).

#9 qwerty

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 07:41 AM

I'm concerned to see what else I discover...

You shouldn't have to discover any of this. As Michael pointed out, these people should have a record of every link they've acquired for you, and they should share that information with you. And moving forward (if you choose to move forward with them, and I really don't know why you would) they should send you lists of prospective sources of links so that you can approve them in advance.



#10 Red5

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 08:37 AM

After looking a bit deeper at these, it's mostly a lot of user accounts made on random sites that are completely unrelated to our business. The articles linking to our site are in the the profile or posted in the users blog section. These sites range from sports blogs, video game discussions, to job sites and foreign social media.

 

It looks like a lot of the sites are using something called (removed) for their forums.

 

Thanks again for all the responses.


Edited by Jill, 20 May 2014 - 09:09 AM.


#11 Jill

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 09:10 AM

Basically they're stuck in pre-panda SEO. Which is useless and dangerous. Someone at your company didn't do their due diligence. 



#12 Red5

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 09:27 AM

Basically they're stuck in pre-panda SEO. Which is useless and dangerous.  

 

That's pretty much what I feared. I'm not overly savvy in this side of things so I wanted to be sure that I'm not needlessly concerned over this approach, so I really needed to have my mind put at ease or my concerns confirmed.



#13 Red5

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 03:01 PM

I'm sorry to keep asking questions but I have a couple that sprang to mind this afternoon.

 

 

1. Is it worth trying to go ahead and disavow these links now? I'd hate to make any search engine aware of them if they aren't already. Hopefully we can get these removed somehow.

 

2. Our product site is separate from our main company site thankfully. There are links between the two sites, but I was wondering if I should be concerned about any potential repercussions for our main site. 

 

Many thanks once again. You've all been incredibly helpful.



#14 qwerty

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 03:40 PM

Disavowing links is supposed to be the last option when you've tried but been unable to get links removed. The people who got these links for you, without your OK, should get them taken down.



#15 Red5

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 03:55 PM

Disavowing links is supposed to be the last option when you've tried but been unable to get links removed. The people who got these links for you, without your OK, should get them taken down.

 

Thanks. I'll refrain from doing that then.






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