A law firm in Michigan is suing its former SEO provider.
And if what the law firm has accused them of doing is true, so they should.
Not because they didn’t get the results they wanted, but because the SEO provider willfully employed Blackhat SEO tactics.
The defendant, Rainmaker Institute, is accused of knowingly violating Google SEO guidelines by building “link farms” on behalf of the plaintiff’s several legal domains.
In other words, they used Blackhat techniques to build useless, spammy links to a website that may have given the site a temporary boost in search engine rankings. But this type of link-building practice is always and inevitably caught by Google. And when that happens, your website and rankings can be severely penalized.
This type SEO practice is the equivalent of selling someone a brand new car, but hiding the fact that it’s using a 20 year old engine, brakes, and a faulty battery.
There’s a good argument that spammy link-building is basically fraud, as there is a specific intent to deceive people.
Sadly, we’ve seen a lot of cases of this where clients come to us after having very poor experiences with previous SEO companies.
Here’s five tips for businesses looking to hire an SEO company:
- Avoid companies that “guarantee” #1 rankings on Google, as that’s not possible (at least not likely for keywords that would drive enough quality traffic to your website).
- Tweet or post on a LinkedIn discussion board asking business owners to refer an SEO provider they’ve had long-term success from.
- Ask the SEO provider for a reference, including the web property and targeted keyword terms. As well, use an inbound link tool such as Open Site Explorer to verify the quality of the links to that site.
- SEO companies are no longer just about linkbuilding, as I’ve blogged about previously ask them how they help with content, social media, PR, UX, and other tactics that can positively impact SEO results.
- Get it in writing. In the contract fine details, ensure that the SEO provider stipulates that they will follow Google SEO guidelines and that failure to do so could result in litigation and/or compensation for damages caused.
And if you have any SEO questions, feel free to contact us or drop me a line on Twitter.