Wow, reading Australia’s The Age’s article on Australian search engine optimization companies, you’d think they were all spammers, fearful of Google retaliation.
The article has lots of SEO execs speaking on the “condition of anonymity” and claiming that 8 of the top 10 ranked Australian SEO firms are spammers. The article comes after The Found Agency fell from grace, when Google discounted links it had received from a free “click counter” distributed on many sites.
The company had been using a “click counter” to optimise its search rankings. By offering a free counter to other websites, which linked back to the Found Agency site, the company was able to boost the number of in-bound links to its pages. The number of incoming links to a website is a measure used by Google to determine its relevance and quality, thus its ranking in the search engine’s index.
Reading the article, you’d think that all Australian SEO’s are spammers and live in daily fear of Google…
Next‘s source spoke anonymously because he fears retaliation from Google if he is quoted criticising the company’s uneven enforcement of its policies. “If I spoke my mind (and was named), you wouldn’t find me on Google, that’s for sure,” he says.
The SEO guru says Google was less fearsome before it became a publicly traded company, but times have changed. “It’s not the warm and fuzzy organisation it was when it first started,” he says.
“They make their own rules and there’s nothing you can do to put them in check because we all rely on their invention for a crust.”
Ok, let’s add some sanity to this article, shall we?
- First, I’ve met the CEO of The Found Agency and he seems like an honest guy. He may have made the mistake of being too aggressive (and obvious) with the backlinks from his free click counter, but all that happened is Google discounted those links. Google’s policy on linking appears to change each week, so the discounting of links, is hardly new.
- Don’t ever trust the accusations of a competitor who’s not willing to go public with his comments. It’s easier to make claims about your competitors, when you don’t have to face any accountability.
- “Most” search ranking firms are not unethical. The comments of a couple of “anonymous” individuals is not enough to broadly label an entire industry.
- Google doesn’t retaliate to comments you happen to make about it. If your hands (and web site) are clean, what do you have to worry about? On the other hand, if you are spamming Google, then perhaps you shouldn’t be throwing “spam” stones in a glass house, in the first place.
For sure, the Australian SEO industry is still young, and maybe not as mature as that of its U.S. cousin, but that doesn’t mean it’s the red-headed step-child either. I’ve met some very talented Australian search marketers (email me for a recommendation) and they’re doing some great work.
Maybe we should look at this story as a positive. You know a country’s SEO industry is maturing, when traditional media starts calling them spammers.