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SEO Case from Paris

This is a free SEO white paper about a pug breeder who knew extremely little when it came to SEO, but had a huge heart for pugs, and her clients only trusted her when it came to buying pugs. Our client had noticed a decline in her sale. She went to an online marketing conference and decided to ask the speaker if she can ask him a few questions directly related to her site. The speaker obliged, and brought up her site on the projector. The speaker said her site needed a makeover, and a lot of Web 2.0 marketing. She asked, what does that mean? The speaker said lots of bookmarking and sharing things in the social community. The speaker said he was going to make a referral for her after the talk. So after the talk, the speaker gave our client the name and number of an SEO Company in Paris that can both re-design her site, and do great SEO (search engine optimization) work for her.

Our client contacted this SEO expert in Paris and turned over her site's username and password over to him. This SEO specialist in Paris told her he is going to build her a site from scratch. However, the SEO in Paris had built her site in WordPress, which of course means it is not from scratch, yet charged her €3,800 (EUR). A simple WordPress theme, should never cost that much! The SEO Company then said they will now begin on the SEO portion of the project. So in essence, they uploaded a script to a page aptly named links.php. This page would get a bunch of links from a whole slew of varying themed websites and point links back from one site to other and back. In essence, all of these other links belonged to other clients of this SEO Company.

As promised, the SEO worked in about 2 weeks flat! Our pug breeder was on the first page. However, as you probably guessed, search engine spam methods like link exchanges don't work in the long term. One day, our client woke up and there were no inquiries on her mailbox, and the phones were pretty much dead all day. She Googled herself and she didn't find her site. She called the SEO Company and their phones were ringing busy, so she knew something was terribly wrong.

Since she couldn't get though to her SEO Company, she called a friend of hers, who she referenced as a "web guru" instead. Her friend had been our client for about four years at that time, so this poor pug breeder called us, and asked if we could look into her situation. We quickly noticed the word "links" on the footer of her site. Clicked on it and it was just garbage. Hundreds of unrelated links from all sorts of sites, including several adult sites!

We asked her if she had access to her site, she said she did. We asked to login to her WP control panel and simply delete the Links.php page, and remove it from her footer and sitemap as well. She did, and then we said there is nothing further we can do until Google robots find that she is no longer part of that terrible link network. Right after she made those changes, we could hear her crying quietly. We told her it would be fine over time, and to spend a little money on AdWords in the meantime. She said okay and hung up. About 40 days later, she called us back and said that although she had returned in the search engine rankings, she had lost most of her search engine positioning for her target key phrases. We told her white-hat SEO will yield excellent results in time. She signed up with us an in 3 months her target key phrases hit!

Here is what we learned:

Never do link exchanges, especially at that level. Exchanging a few links with like websites is okay, but doing link exchanges for the sole purpose of gaming search algorithms, will get your site penalized, and will penalize the entire network of those sites.

SEO Lesson:

Link exchanges are covered in most outdated SEO books. That SEO in Paris had probably picked up a copy of those relics, and was following the advice of the author who had probably worked on one or two SEO cases before they decided to write a book on SEO. Search engine rankings algorithms change all the time, what may have worked back in 1998, will definitely not work today! Trust only reputable well established SEO companies to do SEO work for you!

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