May 29, 2012 1:09 pm

Rebecca Murtagh

Google Blacklists and De-Indexes Agency iAcquire for Covertly Buying Links Agency delisted blacklisted from Google for link buying practices

Reminiscent of the early days of search when SEO’s more frequently publicly about websites they’ve worked on being de-listed, blacklisted or banned from Google, it appears the fall-out of Google Penguin Update continues over a month after the “rules of search” have changed.

Covert Link Buying for Brand of Fortunte 1000 Company

On May 25, 2012 the SEO community was all abuzz discussing how Agency iAcquire has recently been banned in Google for buying links for clients, more specifically; Dunn & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. which has rights to the Fortunte 1000 D&B brand, and to sell Dunn & Bradstreet products.

On May 21, 2012 a blog post by Josh Davis exposed the link-buying practice just days prior to the Agency being delisted. Search Secrets: How a prominent SEO company is covertly purchasing backlinks for Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation includes the dialogue that exposed the process being used to purchase links as well as an update from D&B Credibility Corp and their position on subsequent events.


The fallout from Google’s action is huge, as you can imagine. This warning shot across the bough undoubetedly has captured the attention of SEO’s who may have pushed the envelope in search.


Interestingly, this appears to have bubbled up two perspectives in the SEO community as Google search becomes an increasingly difficult environment for some SEO companies to operate in. Some are vowing to rebuild their businesses while others appear to feel vindicated by the fall-out created by recent algorithm updates.


Industry Divided: White Hat vs Black Hat


I recall a rather heated discussion I had with the principal of an SEO firm at an industry event in the Dallas Fort Worth area. After exchanging the basics, we got into our SEO philosophy. When I explained that my digital marketing firm did not (ever) offer link-building services the debate became heated. This SEO company president emphatically discredited my statement. That is until the company’s chief programmer was summoned into the conversation and stated that achieving top position in Google can be done without link-building schemes, but that it was simply much more difficult to do. This conversation has occurred numerous times in recent years. Two sides always emerge: those who build SEO around link-building, and those who rely on strategic, white hat SEO without links or other trendy aggressive practices that have come and gone over the years.

This is indicative of how the SEO industry is defined today: White Hat vs Black Hat SEO.


Link-Building Fall Out Forces Change in Many SEO Firms

Those who have stayed the course, resisting the temptation to implement SEO methods that were not strictly white hat have long been the silent winners in this long battle. Black Hat SEO’s who enjoy highly-profitable stints of promoting aggressive methods have become victim to cyclical changes driven by highly sophisticated search engine algorithm updates over the years. Penguin is nothing new. I believe it has hit a raw nerve because so many have placed themselves under the umbrella of search engine optimization. Yet, far fewer have developed proven white hat methodologies over the years. Those who didn’t see this coming, are evaluating and modifying their business models to survive the latest changes in search, including Thinkit who posted in a press release today why they are adding social media services to their company offerings… “It’s no secret that Google takes a dim view of certain types of services that LinkWorth offers, but Thinkit Social will be 100% ‘white hat”.


Will there be more fallout from Google algorithm updates?
Undoubetdly yes. The best advice is to align yourself with what Google promotes as best practices for quality websites.
If you do not, all you can do, as the boyscouts say, is “Be Prepared”.

About the Author

Rebecca Murtagh: Human First Futurist, CEO & Founder of Human AI Institute, winner of the Inc. Magazine Power Partner Award.

Rebecca leverages decades of experience working with Fortune 500, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, Mains Street, global brands and startup entrepreneurs to help executives, their teams, and entrepreneurs leverage their genius through Human AI to improve productivity, collaboration, creativity and job satisfaction for optimum performance and long-term success.

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