Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on January 22nd, 2009

How to Detect a Black Hat SEO Company

detective_0.jpgSearch Engine Optimization has grown into a popular and strategically wise investment for any company looking for ROI, analytical substance and qualitative data. In fact, so many SEO companies have been popping up this last year, you would have thought some yelled ‘GOLD!’ Everyone wants a piece of this digital Gold Rush, but there are many companies who provide SEO service without the necessary research. These companies participate in “Black Hat” SEO and use methods and tricks to fulfill your problem temporarily. Sure, these companies can get you in Google in one month just like they promised, but three months down the line you may be banned. It doesn’t take long for the search engines to see through these techniques and give you the boot. Three months on the front page will not give you the ROI an honest SEO campaign can do for your business that will last the life span of your website.

If your SEO consultant guarantees you first ranking on Google, you can bet your daughter’s prom dress he is tricking you. All the search engines like Google use various algorithms to rank pages. These algorithms are constantly updated and are based on a variety of factors. No one can guarantee you first rank. Companies can only try to optimize and wait for Google to rank you higher.

Cloaking is another technique ‘Black Hat’ SEO trick. Unfortunately, cloaking is not a way to make your website invisible in order to sneak up on people while they browse the internet. Cloaking is where different content is presented to search engines and different content is presented to users. This is done by delivering content based on the IP address of the user requesting the page. When a user is identified as a search engine spider, the server script delivers a different version of the web page, a version that presents different content than the visible page.

Many SEO companies promise to help boost your link popularity by entering you into a link program, or link farm that they operate, often linking you with web sites that have nothing to do with your business. Search engines can detect these bad links. Web masters also try to keywords on pages, making the keywords have a white color on a white background. Users cannot see these words, but the search engine spiders can. This upsets the SEO spiders, and they tend to bite. Also, watch out for SEO companies who try and use hidden links on your site. This technique is a combination between the link farms and the hidden keywords. This technique will not only get you banned, but it will only benefit the sites that are linked to you until you are banned.

If your SEO company is doing any or all of the above, you should slap yourself right now. You and your employees deserve to have an SEO company that is using efficient and White Hat techniques. Volacci is a Google-approved White Hat SEO company that only guarantees that you will make more money than our service costs by the end of our contract, or we will work free until you do.

Volacci. Your Profit. Our Passion.