Habits die hard and it is welcome for habits that are good. But there are bad habits that have to be changed, no matter how difficult it might be. This is a feeling that develops by observing the happenings in the SEO industry that has been mired in shady reputation issues concerning bad business practices that are adopted by some SEO companies, sometimes knowingly and sometime out of ignorance or mistakes. It is true that the extent of malpractices have been controlled which is the reason why the SEO industry has been able to prove its credibility much better but concerns still remain.
There are companies that still follow the age-old practices and even there are companies that try to adopt shortcuts for quick gains which have time and again earned a bad name for the industry. It is the intention of SEO companies that matter a lot when it comes to preserving the reputation of the industry. The purpose of wrongdoing if found to be intentional and not an aberration by mistake then it should be strictly dealt with in the greater interest of the industry.
Some real life experiences about the wrong practices that prevail in the SEO industry have been discussed in this article. It can alert unaware customers of the possible pitfalls that await them if they are in the hands of the wrong company. All malpractices, regardless of the reasons have to be avoided so that fair business practices can prevail. Intentional wrong doings, unintended mistakes and outdated practices are the three categories under which all bad practices can be classified.
Unethical SEO practices
- Selling by deception – There are SEO companies that do not mind to mislead customers with the sole purpose of selling their SEO packages without caring for customer interests. Instead of customising packages according to specific needs of customers, they offer ready to use packages that will not fulfil the needs of customers but would be business for SEO companies. Some SEO companies even pose as Google insiders by misinterpreting their Google partner status to sell their packages.
- Forcing clients to stay attached– Some SEO companies leave no option for clients to break away from them by compelling clients to stay attached to them in a surreptitious manner. These companies use their proprietary CMS that denies database access to clients and does not allowing any export options thereby making it almost impossible for clients to leave these SEO companies.
- Denying rights to clients with skewed contracts – Trying to deny rights to clients is one of the most dangerous trends that some SEO providers follow. Contracts are drawn in such a way that the ownership rights of the design and content as well as the domain name, rests with the SEO provider, whereas in the interest of fair business practices, the client should have the rights to their branded accounts and all that belongs to them.
- Retaining control of the accounts – Trying to hold back the control of accounts together with login information and campaign details from clients is another unwanted shady practice that needs to be censured. Not having control over PPC accounts and web analytics would mean that when clients change the SEO provider, they have to start from scratch again.
- Risky SEO methods – Exposing clients to risky SEO techniques like paid links and private blog networks, not to talk about spam is another cause of concern. These are short-cuts prone with heavy risks but sold to clients without sharing with them the possible threats that can cost them dearly. Surely, it is not a fair SEO practice at all and is being done knowingly to win some brownie points at the client’s peril.
Redundant SEO practices
Selling SEO packages built on outdated methods and techniques can impair the efficiency of the package and diminish the returns thereby denying clients of the value of money that they deserve. This might not be having as much serious implications like the practices stated in the earlier paragraph but nevertheless, does not help to build credibility of the SEO business.
- Hidden texts – There are websites which have been created very recently that are still riddled by the problem of hidden text – text that is either not visible or not readable and could include internal links, text and other content.
- Keyword stuffing – Despite knowing the detrimental effects of stuffing keywords in titles, the trend is still prevalent in currently made websites that points to attitude the no concern for clients by SEO companies, which has earned a bad name for the industry.
- Link spam – In the garb of providing useful links, SEO companies still use engineered links that actually amounts to spamming. This is a high-risk practice that smells of intentional wrongdoing for which chances of being penalised looms large on the websites.
- Duplicated content on several pages – Contents of a page are reproduced on multiple pages ditto. This is a practice that is best avoided and even if used, it should be changed a bit to make it look different.
Mistakes to avoid
There are some website development mistakes that happen during website creation and affect its functionality and efficiency. These should be avoided.
- Search engine crawlers are blocked by websites during website migration and for websites that are yet to be completely developed or for any other reason. Blocking crawlers defeat the basic purpose of websites being used for SEO.
- Redesigning websites is okay but not providing redirects or doing it incorrectly can prove to be costly.
The information shared in this article can be used as a wake-up call for those SEO companies to clean their acts. It should also make clients aware about the darker sides of the SEO industry so that they are better placed to reap the benefits of the best SEO practices.