Is Our SEO Company Using Black Hat Techniques?

By | August 11, 2019

This is John Locke and today we’re going
to answer a SEO question. This one comes to us from Reddit. A reader asks, “We
hired an SEO company to help us with our rankings, and we’re trying to
evaluate if what they’re doing is black-hat. Are we going to get penalized? Is
what they’re doing effective? Here’s the situation. Our traffic a couple years
ago, we had 20% visibility in SEM Rush –” For those who don’t know, SEM Rush is a
SEO tool that measures where you’re ranking for the keywords you put in, and then measures you against the competition, in the
search engine results page. So the reader asks, “Our visibility a couple years ago
for our keywords was 20%. Then about nine months ago, it dropped down to 5%. So we
hired this SEO company. The first month they did on-page SEO. They added
the keywords to the title tags and meta descriptions, and that seemed okay. During
the last couple months, what we’ve noticed is they’re creating links by a
couple of methods. What they’re doing is creating social profiles on
places like Pinterest with our company name, and then putting one post up. They’re also going into forums and creating profiles with one post, like, “Hey,
we’re happy to be here”. Then they’re also creating Weebly sites, and then re-posting one random post from our blog. Is this black hat SEO? Is this going to
get us penalized?” Okay, so there’s a couple things here. Some of the people in this thread also said this but, what they’re doing is not
black hat SEO. But it’s not anything innovative; it’s not anything that’s
really going to move the needle for your business. What they’re doing is just kind
of bare minimum effort. It’s not black hat SEO. Now something black hat would be building
links on Private Blog Networks by utilizing a network of dropped domains,
that basically exists just to create backlinks to web sites. Those [PBNs]
have been getting crushed out whenever Google detects them — since 2014. But
people still build them and get by with them. But as soon as Google finds
them, basically all the link equity from those sites gets crushed out. But what
your SEO company is doing, it’s just kind of middle-of-the-road,
and it’s it’s kind of bare minimum effort. Now, adding keywords to your
title tags your meta descriptions, and I’m assuming on the page as well —
that’s great. But let me ask you a question. When was the last time that you
created new content for your site? And is this company helping you to create new
content in any way? Because one of the things that you also mentioned in this [post]
is that your traffic and your visibility flattened out after a couple years. The fact of the matter is, if you’re not adding new pages to your website —
if you’re not publishing on new topics, or covering anything new — then there’s
going to be a cap on how much traffic you actually can get to your site. The
more content that you create, the more chances you have of getting
found for a search. So if you haven’t added anything new to your site in a
long time, you’re going to be flat — even if you’re
doing everything with SEO right. You need to have some sort of content strategy,
where you’re adding new content, answering questions, trying to get inside
the mind of your customers, and get found for something. I can tell
you this too — the more content that you create, the better chance you’re going to
have of earning backlinks on your own, and not having to hire an SEO company to
do this backlinking structure. So let’s talk about that for a minute. They are
creating social profiles for your company name? That’s something that you
should have had in place anyway. We’ve talked about this before in
this channel, but Google looks for indicators
that you’re a big brand. And big brands have social profiles.
Another thing that big brands do is create content. They have ways to
try and attract customers. Social media is one of those ways. So that’s fine. Now
the other thing that they’re doing is what they call a “Web 2.0” – oh and this is an old-school
kind of gray hat, almost blackish hat way of linking. Where basically
people have these [profiles on] things like Blogspot or Squidoo or
Weebly or Wix pages, and they would point links to your website. Then the idea is
is they buy some OTHER links — which this may be more on the black hat side — then
they point those toward these [profiles] like Medium posts, BlogSpot profiles,
Weebly, Wix sites, like you mentioned — and the link equity from these black hat links
goes into these “Web 2.0” properties and then those go onto your site. That’s
exactly what they’re doing. I can pretty much almost guarantee it. (Not even doing
research on this) I have a feeling that’s exactly what they’re doing. Again, this is
nothing that’s really going to move the needle.
You’re going to need to make improvements to your site, and your website
content in order to get some actual credible links. So they’re in forums?
That’s great, but I mean, honestly these are things that you probably could be
doing internally — legit — legitimately — and getting more business out of it.
So I encourage you to actually take these social profiles they’re creating and
do something with them. Be active on them, and find forums that are
industry related, and be active in those. Hire somebody part-time if you
have to. Do whatever you need to do. Have somebody dedicate a couple
hours a week to it, at least. It’ll pay you more benefits than you think. My name is John Locke. My business is Lockedown Design and
SEO. We help manufacturing and industrial firms with SEO, so they get more RFQs.
We’re publishing videos every week, so if you want to subscribe, go ahead and do
that. Until next time, peace.

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