How to spot bad off page SEO backlinking, and avoid getting scammed by your SEO company.
This is a “here is how they getcha” article that needs to be written. I’m talking today about a major SEO scam that I see customers fall for all the time: Off page SEO for backlink building.
If you are learning about SEO, or even an expert reading this post, you already know about the importance of backlinks. There is only one kind of backlink that matters: Quality backlinks. The major search engines actually grade the quality of your backlinks to determine the quality of your content. If you had 5 top quality backlinks, you would easily outrank a competing page with 10,000 garbage links.
Right now I am working on acquiring a new client in a very niche part of the auto body repair business- They do RV repair and large commercial vehicle fleet repair (like busses and dump trucks). I have been told that they are paying $2500 a month for SEO services, and have received almost no traffic. After the client called the SEO company and raised a little hell, magically they immediately started to see a little traffic boost and a few contact us form’s filled out. Naturally they became suspicious about the source of all this traffic and it’s legitimacy.
Another client of ours came to us after a similar experience using a well known SEO company called Yodle . Part of Yodle’s service package is this “off page SEO” service, where the SEO company is supposedly writing blog posts onto other sites to get you many backlinks which are a valuable component to ranking in the SERPS, meanwhile they were not writing ANY blog posts for the shops actual website.
What are the posts? And where are you putting them I wonder? None of my prospects ever ask this question.
Both our client and our new prospect have been paying good money every month for this off-page SEO service as part of their monthly SEO services. Both of these companies were getting ripped off. The rip off comes in the “quality of backlinks”
So here is how this off page SEO scam works:
These junky SEO companies, whether they are here in the US or in Russia, India or the Philippines (seem to be where most are located), hire cheap labor to write a basic blog post and then post them all over the web to these low grade sites, or even create phony Tumblr and social media accounts.
Google is beginning to put a lot more “gravitas” into social media content. This is especially important for the majority of our customers who are concerned with local SEO rankings. These guys are smart enough to realize that Google will penalize you for duplicate content, so they will often pick an anchor phrase, and then fill the rest of the blog post with a bunch of nonsense copy, a million embedded links to other irrelevant content (most likely other customers of theirs) or completely irrelevant sites and even incorrect post titles.
Here is a real-life example of each version of these off-Page blogging scams:
I had a prospect last year that was considering using us to handle the SEO for his mold remediation company called Advanced Mold Remediation in Linthicum Maryland; the owner of the company is named Kevin Bristol. Kevin decided to stick with his current SEO company because he wants to cut corners and save money (we were twice what he is paying now).
Because he is getting burned so badly by his SEO company, they make it easy for me to use him as an example to demonstrate where the rip off comes in. It is worth noting in this example, that this client is only concerned with Local SEO rankings, and leads, in his case this is Maryland, DC, Northern Virginia, Delaware and Eastern Pennsylvania. Much like you would try to rank for your local shop.
This morning I Googled his name and noticed that “Kevin Bristol Mold” was a Google suggested search phrase. I found that odd so I decided to click and see what I pulled up.
I was immediately struck by the first page Google results which included a link to a website called Zoominfo.com, Essortment,com and a result titled “Real Estate Mold Inspections – Los Angeles Mold Inspection”, all with the same phrase included in the meta description which said “Why You should have a Real Estate Inspections for hidden Mold. … is about $3,000.00? states Kevin Bristol President of Advance Mold …”
It was the odd wording of “is about $3000.00? states Kevin Bristol…” that made me want look deeper into this.
Why did this pull up the same exact bad grammar phrase in two of first page Google results, and why would he be trying to rank in Los Angeles I wondered? So I clicked on those three pages.
Essortment is website owned by Demand Media and is basically an encyclopedia of blog articles written in the “how to” format. You can contact the sales team at Demand Media and become a content writing partner, or even sell ads on their pages. Is it something people frequent specifically? No. However, I checked and Essortment is a decent backlink with a roughly 75% credibility rating. The other backlinks are just pure crap.
Read this excerpt from one of the postings:
Mold Removal cost by manner of an expert Mold Remediation specialist according to Kevin Bristol, bema of “Advance Mold Remediation” will be around $3000. The fee includes a professional Mold inspection, sampling of Mold right into a laboratory to establish the sort of Mold together with cleansing in addition to eradicating in the Mold. The particular $3000 dollars may additional embody the protecting gears of your professionals, the particular completely different machines which can be filter any infected air, as well as al your chemicals and also encapsulation coating.
What kind of English is that?
I continued to dive deeper and deeper into the Google results pages and I found similar postings all the way through the fifth results page of Google.
If this was your business, is this what you would want people to see? Remember this was on the first page of Google for that search phrase: “Kevin Bristol Mold”. Folks, you get what you pay for.
Here is another posting example, with similar copy. The only catch is the page heading is for tree experts in Abilene Texas! Clearly this company has mismatched two of their customers! Good luck ranking tree experts Abilene Texas with copy about a mold removal company in Linthicum Maryland!
Now let me tell you the right way to do off page optimization, or how to find the right company to do it for you:
The process first involves writing great content for YOUR site. The second part is to employ social media sharing to get that content out there, with Facebook and Twitter. The third step is to actively participate in professional groups, Linked In groups, and engage in known bloggers for your website content. This takes time, effort, and hard work.
Here is an example of a GOOD off page SEO backlink for copy we wrote for one of our auto body shop clients:
You are familiar with Edmunds.com right? They are probably one of the leading automotive sites in the world. Recently one of our blog posts was picked up and linked to by one of the Edmunds.com bloggers who was answering a consumer question about peeling clear coat. You can see it for yourself by clicking this link right here: Edmunds.com If you follow the link in their response it will take you to a blog post we wrote for our client, 3D collision Centers.
While this link may never send a prospect to the shop, the backlink will do wonders for establishing SEO authority for this shop’s content.
If you think you are being scammed by your SEO company and need help making the case, contact us for some help, we are glad to help.
What about you, what are some of the off page SEO scams that you have seen? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.