UPDATE: Since writing this post on the 18th Dec 2012, it is great to see that Google has cleared away all the spam…I wonder if they read this article 😉 Google’s response time was a fantastic 12 days to get rid of this junk. Well Done Google!
It upsets me to see so much spam in Google’s search results lately. I understand that Google cannot get to all the spam pages but it seems that some black hat SEO companies have found a flaw in the latest Google Algorithm update and are taking full advantage of it. Go ahead and do a search for “SEO” in South Africa and these are the results you will find. The ones I have marked as spam (with an “X”) add no value whatsoever to the user however they rank very well. As you can see, Google scored a 14/20 on the spam radar for this set of results. In Google quality standards this is considered a FAIL. Usually only 2/20 results are actually spam.
How Do We Identify SEO Spam?
In this case it is very easy to identify that this is spam:
- It offers no benefit to the user: The individual or company has simply created one page WordPress websites with no services and no company details etc
- All websites are owned by the same person: Simply go to co.za and search the domain names and you will see that they were all registered on the 22/11/2012 by the same person (I don’t think the person listed is real). All the domains are unpaid which likely means they have a short term agenda in mind.
- All websites have the same structure: Each have only one home page article packed with SEO related words and one category “December 2012”.
- No contact details or company info:Any SEO company that fails to put their contact details on their website should not be trusted.
So Why Do They Rank So Well?
This year Google made some changes with their “Panda” and “Penguin” updates. These updates seem to favour mini websites which caused a mad rush in the SEO community to create one-page websites. Yes the method does work but hopefully this will all be fixed in the next update. My opinion is that the sites rank well because the content of the entire website (one page) is about one single topic (in this case SEO). If Google does not have many options to choose from, with regards to content, it will compensate and treat any content that it does find, like gold. They buy up local domains with the word SEO in them : eg seocapetownclub.co.za , seoaction.co.za , seocorp.co.za etc as this is indeed a well known ranking handle according to Google’s algorithm. They also make use of Google’s fresh bot, you will notice all the websites are less than one month old and are enjoying the freshness Google handle.
Many SEO companies are appearing all over South Africa, so who do we trust? Being ranked front page on Google under “SEO” does not make one company better than another. Do your homework and investigate the company and the professionals within the company. If you cannot find any information about the company or the expert within the company then the company cannot be trusted. And remember, NEVER do business with a company or individual that you have never met or a company that does not even display their contact details or other identifying information. Secondly, there are many capable SEO experts in South Africa, there should be no reason what-so-ever to travel overseas for your SEO services.
For SEO services in South Africa please give me a call. I offer SEO training, AdWords training, SEO Awareness training and many other SEO related services.