>We all want to be seen and Google, like it or not, is the big player in the field and will remain so for another few years to come – certainly until the love affair starts to fade as more and more of us start to realise that our lives are being adversely affected by the openess and availability of data (often private) that there for all to see.
Not least of course is our beloved local councils, yes the ones we vote in and we pay for – who now use Google Maps and Earth to spy on Communities for signs of Planning Law contravention. Of course, planning law is there to protect us, the environment and communities and I am all in favour… when the playing field is flat – but it is not, is it?! So until more of us wake to these privacy concerns Google will remain a leader. Why are we are not taking advantage of the numerous alternative Search Engines(SE)?
So how to be seen in Google? Easy, hire one of those companies who randomly contacts you promising, even guaranteeing you Page 1 results for your web site. There are only two ways you can do this. 1) Work for Google and risk the sack if you were caught (I will give Google it’s due here – it don’t like being tampered with!). Which brings me to point two), 2) Abuse the numerous weak points in the Google Indexing system (oh yes, there are a few…but, oh, it dosen’t like being tampered with) – it’s called Black Hat SEO.
Surprisingly google was not set up by, or continued to be run by, stupid people, it is run by very intelligent Rept…sorry…Human Doings (were once Beings but got bored, or something). Which means not a lot gets past them for very long. When they catch up with our Black Hat SEO friends they penalise them, heavily, and they also penalise those that get caught up in it.
Unfortunately, so many SEO Black Hat operators exist now that it has ruined it for everyone. I can not find currently Statistics of Black Hat Operator ratio’s to White Hat Operator – not forgetting the Grey Hat middle ground. This is a link to the Original Article I found on Grey Hat SEO and this is the link to one of the useless blogs/’article sites’ they refer, which they used to promote themselves. I’m not naming and shaming here I am using it as an example of a company justifying itself for the policy they have in place – ie. bend the rules a little bit. They clearly have a conscience and have considered this question but yet they choose to do exactly what they describe as Black Hat! That’s not grey that’s Black – the two hats don’t suddenly go from solid to liquid in an attempt to mix like paints and to end up with a gloopy grey. This serves to demonstrate the difficulty of judgment in this whole field.
Ultimately we can do what we want as there are very few laws that can be applied to this from traditional law around the world, although I think we are on the brink of some fairly substantial governance from big brother within the next couple of years; not least to protect themselves against cyber terrorism.
So we’ve made our choice, sod the consequences in a Court of Law “it will never come to that…, we’re hiring this SEO guy cause he seems to know what he is talking about…”. Google, should it detect the paid for links, useless articles and links, stuffed and disguised Keyword hacks (thought they had gone away?), links and megaman article houses and did I mention more paid for links?…when it does detect the deception it penalises and heavily too.
It will award anything from 1 to 999 drop in rank. Rarely is it site wide, it will be the page(s) in question but that can be mightily impactful if that is the index page. You are playing with fire and you get charged a fortune from unknowns. If you are going to spend a couple of hundred pounds a month indefinitely on paid for links or hacks then why not invest that in building the best damn web site in the field you are specialising in and if you can’t find an angle to apply to your site because it is just plain crap then change it, do something else and contribute something useful.
At FD we are of proud of our Policy on SEO practice and encourage you as clients to work with us to make a better future for the internet than the one that is shaping up now.