It is always easy to blame others when things go wrong, possibly human nature but generally taking the blame is something very few of us like to do, especially if we are not 100% sure what went wrong in the first place. By using an SEO company you are basically trusting someone or some people to look after your online business in terms of getting your website higher and flying in the engines and making it rank for your desired keywords.
So, say it went wrong, who would you blame?
Pandas and Penguins used to be something that most people looked forward to seeing, as when you were a kid there was no doubt you would of had a soft toy or a TV program that had one of these cuddly creatures staring in, episodes that you loved to watch and had found memories of. Of course, in the offline world this is probably still the case, but these days when it comes to Google and your website, these two animal names can strike fear and loathing into your heart, especially if you have bent the rules a little bit when it comes to SEO.
You see, SEO changes all the time. The methods that some SEO firms built their reputation on are no longer allowed and even the ones that have tried to continually change and keep up can also find their methods slightly out of date when it comes to running off site SEO campaigns. Generally, if you follow the basics you are never going to be in trouble, but if you or someone you have used has bent the rules and strayed into the dodgy world that none of us want to be seen in, you could end up getting hammered.
It is important that if you do get an email from Google or you start to see your website tanking in the rankings, you firstly work out what has gone wrong. Rather than go wading in and throwing accusations around at your SEO firm that have probably worked loyally for you for many months, take a step back and seek their advice, as they might just be able to help you and start to put a plan of action into place.
Generally, if you get hit big time it will go back to one of our creatures we talk about at the start and this is where you need to work out what has gone wrong and why.
The penguin updates are few and far between, but these are the ones that generally deal with dodgy, offsite SEO, stuff like building spammy links or entering into the world of link networks trying to get a cheap Google high. The Panda update has generally rolled out more often over the past year or so and is now more likely to be a consistent algorithm changer, and this deals mainly with onsite issues, things like duplicate content, broken links and keyword stuffing.
You, or your SEO person, need to work out which has hit you. You will know, because when there is an update the whole SEO and Internet world starts buzzing and you can generally tie a traffic drop to an update if it is that serious. And Google are now getting more transparent when it comes to penalties and although in my opinion they need to be WAY more open in their communication, you will at least get an email from Webmasters (which is why it’s vital to have) if you have really played with fire.
For many SEO companies, they do not have full control over the clients website. This poses many issues, but the main one is they might not know what you have added, what you have changed, what you have played around and tons of other stuff that you might have done in good faith, but could have massive consequence in the long run. Maybe you changed the title tags, or added an article that wasn’t totally unique, or it could be something you think you are helping with that in fact will bite you months down the line.
So, what am I trying to say?
If you do get hit with a penalty, take a step back and don’t go straight for the blame game. Many online businesses have worked with many SEO firms over the years and it could be the work that your first SEO company did that is hitting you now. It doesn’t always mean the people you are hiring at that moment in time are to blame, which is why you shouldn’t just lash out and start waving accusations around. Like many things, by taking a step back and looking at the situation, you can get a much more positive outlook on things and then look towards how to fix them, rather than who to blame for the current situation.
Basically, things do change all the time and your SEO firm might have done some things that they shouldn’t have, but get the facts right first, as just maybe, it could have been something that you did as well.
By Ian Spencer