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SEO Case from Berlin

This is a free SEO white paper about an HVAC company that wanted to generate more leads from their online marketing efforts. So they hired an online marketing company who was going to be solely responsible for garnering HVAC leads for our client. This online marketing company wore several hats. One of those hats was one of a web developer who was supposed to build optimized landing pages. The other hat was that of a search engine marketing company that was going to be responsible for all of the paid search advertising of the HVAC company, and finally they were an SEO hat to get HVAC leads for our client. Unfortunately, the color of the hat the SEO Company in Berlin Germany was black!

We reviewed the landing page optimization for the client, as we saw that it was actually quite good. The pages were optimized around action keywords and images, everything was where it should be and the marketing copy was clean and concise. Upon request of our client, we also reviewed the client's search advertising traffic and we learned that they were getting quite a bit of traffic from both Google Adwords, as well as Bing advertising. Lastly, our client asked us to take a look at our SEO. The first thing we did was search for the client's URL, except without the WWW and with their .TLD, as you may have guessed they were penalized. Granted, most of the SEO cases we get have no penalty on them. If we were to quantify the percentage of SEO cases that come to us to try to to recover from their previous SEO company's mistakes is probably less than 2 percent. However, this case was quite unique. The client had 240,000 backlinks in total! About 4,000 were from unique class C IP addresses. Most of the links were follow links (as opposed to nofollow links, which are not supposed to pass any pagerank link juice) . The interesting thing was this SEO Company in Berlin was using software called SeNuke. They had apparently purchased this SEO software, and had it on blast to go out and spam forums and blogs on a daily basis for about 9 months until they got penalized.

The SEO company in Berlin would actually generate a very detailed link report to our HVAC client on a monthly basis to demonstrate the level of links they had gone out and gathered for the client. Our client thought this is what it takes to get ranked highly. He thought that is probably what their competition had done, so they were just keeping up.

Now came the fun part, telling our client that he needs to go through his backlinks, which he was able to get from Google's WMT, and send emails to those webmasters asking them to remove all links pointing to their sites. The client said that would be too much work, and asked if we would do it for him. We respectfully rejected the request, as it was too laborious and mundane to do such work, especially since we would essentially be cleaning up some other SEO company's mess. We advised our client to contact his former SEO in Berlin and ask if they would do the job, as they made the mess in the first place. Fortunately, the SEO Company in Berlin agreed.

Months later, the client called us again and thanked us for helping him out. The client had decided to give up on his old site and start from scratch with a new site, as his old SEO company had started the work of contacting all those backlinks, but emailed the client to inform him that they will be going out of business soon and to find someone else to do the link removal request task. So we started the work of getting a brand new website SEOed for our client

Here is what we learned:

No matter what, do NOT use automated bots to do gather links for yourself. It is only a matter of time until you get caught. Also, some of these automated SEO software companies are claiming they have learned from their mistakes and they have now built systems that are undetectable, but as you can imagine that is total hogwash! We actually watched one blackhat SEO software company claim they have a link scheme where they point all the spam links to a throwaway domain, then do a 301 re-direct from the throwaway domain to the main target site, so that if Google catches them only the throwaway domain would be caught. The problem there that's not true based on any of the research we've done! The 301 redirect passes link juice, that is a known fact, but if that throwaway domain is penalized and there was a 301 redirect on it, why wouldn't the penalty carry over to the target site as well? Sure, if you knew there was going to be a penalty assessed, and you had enough time to remove the 301 re-direct before that penalty was issued, you could save the target site. However, if you knew a penalty was coming against your site, why would you even try such black hat techniques in the first place? Moreover, how could you possibly know when you were about to be hit with that penalty? Please do not buy into these blackhat SEO techniques; they do NOT work in the long run!

SEO Lesson:

Never use blackhat SEO software, period! Do white-hat SEO, write good content written for humans and not search engine robots, and watch the wonderful ranking results come in. Moreover, if you are considering spending lots of money on building a site whose revenue generation model was going to be based on Adsense or CPA models, why take a risk with blackhat SEO. Write unique content, something that will show people how to do things, and see how much better your results will be when you simply sprinkle in white-hat SEO from a reputable SEO company!

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