Poll: Penalize The SEO Agency For Tactics Applied To Clients?

Jun 1, 2012 • 8:04 am | comments (12) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search & Web SEO Spam

seo bombLast week, we covered how Google banned the agency who implemented certain tactics that are against Google's webmaster guidelines. Although, as we pointed out later, this is not the first time Google took this route, it is the first time they did so in this nature.

A perceived white hat SEO agency, does link building and offers money for links for their clients. The SEO agency is outed and shortly later, Google bans the agency, their affiliates and maybe some of their clients.

Is it right for Google to take action on the SEO agency assuming the agency did not use those same tactics on their own site. Again, lets pretend (although I don't know if it is true) that this agency did not buy a single link for their own web site - they only did it for clients - should Google penalize the agency for the tactics they deploy on their client sites?

Some may argue it depends on if the SEO agency was transparent about the risks to their clients. Some may say, it doesn't matter - the agency did it, they should be insistant about not using techniques outside of Google's guidelines. Some people just don't care.

Take my poll:

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help & WebmasterWorld.

Image credit to ShutterStock for keyboard grenade

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06/01/2012 01:31 pm

even if that will mainly mean ban all SEO agencies as I can openly say all SEO agencies at at least one point in time is doing something doggy.

Jim Hedger

06/01/2012 01:48 pm

Quick question about answer-option #2, (the one with the most votes). How exactly would Google know if the consequences of penalized tactics were explained to the client or not? I know Google's good at grabbing information but that's rather ridiculous eh?


06/01/2012 01:58 pm

I told you already that google should not penalize sites, people and whatnot, because they just 'use what google give's them'. Google is not a government and its not god, so they should not be in the position to penalize anyone. They should not be able to create a culture of denunciation and blackmailing aka negative SEO. Google needs links for their business model and if they do not like certain types of links it should be THEIR business and responsibility to deal with it and not its content providers. After occupy and blockupy it should be only a matter of time before there will be a googlupy movement.


06/01/2012 03:08 pm

Take it from the point of view of their clients - they paid in good faith that they were getting expert service. and instead, they did not. If you paid an accountant to do your accounting for you and you were audited and SLAMMED with fees and penalties for all kinds of junk, you can sue your accountant (provided he's still around) because you trusted him/his company to do for you what you couldn't do for yourself. so yes, the SEO company should be held liable. unless, of course, the SEO company did this 1) provided GUIDELINES for client to do their own link-building 2) hired a good lawyer and disclosed that tactics are not guaranteed to work, that they are not liable for consequences of techniques/tactics used, etc. (this is probably going to be tricky as well, to support/sustain in court) ...i could also see that a client could sue the SEO company and provide proof that the SEO company contacted them SEVERAL TIMES via email/phone calls, etc. in an attempt to prospect and sell SEO services. that could be used against the SEO company as proof of fraud - that the company knowingly peddled a faulty service.


06/01/2012 03:17 pm

" could sue the SEO company" - hope will happen sooner or later, because SEO guys crossed the line far ago, following their greed and became just spammers and algo crackers. The industry definitely would benefit.

Barry Adams

06/01/2012 03:31 pm

I think your phrasing of option 3 is highly biased and charged, Barry. How about option 4: No - clients vote with their continued patronage, so indirectly when a client site gets penalised so does the agency. Also, some clients switch SEO providers regularly, and there is a risk of a SEO agency getting penalised for something a predecessor did.

Thomas Stunner

06/01/2012 06:19 pm

Did you miss the part where Google was a company? You know, a company free to do whatever they want within their Eco system. What is this misconception so many people have that just because Google offers their core product offering for free (Search, YouTube, Gmail, etc.) that the company OWES you anything, or has some sort of civic obligation to act as a complete neutral. It's not a public service. It's not some sort of right. So, yes, Google can penalize anyone they damn well please. Just like a store can choose not to carry a certain product. Or are you still hanging on their euphemism "do no evil"?


06/02/2012 09:09 am

Since when is Google a policing authority for the SEO industry?

Reverend Pickles

06/07/2012 03:45 pm

Since when they own their own search engine.


06/07/2012 05:20 pm

I think the trouble is that Googles actions are having real life impacts, like people losing their jobs etc. So when they do things within their eco system that affects things outside of it there has to be some element of corporate responsibility. To be honest I think that is what is missing from their actions of late, especially in terms of communication and giving people fair chance to right any wrongs.

David P.

06/15/2012 06:36 pm

They're absolutely responsible! After all, it's ultimately their decision to say "yes" to clients who want to use blackhat tactics. If they were acting like they should, then they'd tell those clients to either find new SEO's - or do their blackhat work themselves. http://www.profromgo.com/hackers-web-design-professionals-part-2

SEO consultant uk

10/24/2012 01:27 pm

if that will mainly mean ban all SEO organizations as I can freely say all SEO organizations at at least once is doing something puppy.

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