SEOInc goes MIA on Google

Source Title:
SEOinc. vanishes from Google SERPS
Story Text:

After some years of ranking in the top spots of Google for "search engine optimization" and similar phrases, top optimization firm SEOInc have gone MIA...

I was emailed about this last night, anonymously, but for me they were still holding the #2 spot. Now i notice Stepforth reporting it i think we can consider it confirmed. They also shed some light on a possible cause for SEOInc to suddenly vanish:

EOinc had recently been embroiled in a link-trading controversy that started when a third party link-vendor sent several competing SEO/SEM firms a spam-email asking them to provide a link to SEOinc on their sites in exchange for a link to their sites from another, unnamed website. Aside from being a particularly un-tempting offer, many in the SEO community saw it as proof of what are perceived to be blatant link-spamming techniques designed to game Google's rankings. SEOinc currently has 24,900 backlinks recognized by Google

It could be just a glitch, but if it's permenant, that's quite a blow for the boys and girls at SEOInc...



Yep. Adwords for them. 15$ a click. Ouch

And who was it who said that there was nothing a competitor could do harm your SERP position?

Blatant link-spamming

"blatant link-spamming techniques designed to game Google's rankings"

LOL - that's some funny stuff. Have the Stepforth guys looked at the backlinks for the top 10 results returned for "search engine optimization"? How the hell else do you get in there than by pouring on as many links as you can?

Those guys are there because they know how to game Google's rankings...

some of the other top results are there...

  • by just being old. Some still see significant benefit from ranking there a long time ago (that whole filthy linking rich thing).
  • some of them provide bonus link to me stuff that some .edu sites love to point links at. like "submit your site to 1,000,000 engines". There generally is no value to it, but it is an effective link building technique.
  • some of them created link to me type stuff that other consultants or SEO nubs might link to. like the Bruce Clay code of ethics. For a while when I was all new I linked into that.
  • SEO Chat rents links from some sites but they also get a ton of support by having a good # of tools and a community that also links back at their site.
  • Jill Whalen's High Rankings has one of the stronger brands in SEO and lots of friends who link at her. Writes articles for other sites and has a large number of subscribers to her newseltter. She also is known as "the content seo" or "the seo content writer" which of course helps her get a bunch of links from people who agree or disagree with that position.

A few on the first page, and more as you get down into the second and third pages you see a few more sites that really ring the bell for things like:

  • Wired is an amazingly respected authoritative site.
  • There is an SEO organization site. Bound to get many links from it's supporters.
  • Google's official SEO guidance.
  • Lots of reciprocal link trading.
  • Renting a ton of links.
  • Placing links to the SEO firm on clients sites.

I am a bit of a link monger myself, but SEO Inc was getting way more links than most. At some point you have to weigh in the risk vs reward.

Not sure if they were directly connected with the person who email spammed me and many other SEO firms, but if they were they need to get a clue on the whole risk vs reward concept.


This may just be my experience and I'd love to hear different but I really doubt the value in getting ranked for these SEO related terms.

We held a couple of positions for SEO terms for a while and the returns were very disappointing. It left me with a feeling that this race is more a case of 'mine's bigger than yours' within the industry rather than actual ROI.

Our best clients still don't understand what any of those three terms mean and certainly wouldn't type them into a search engine. 'Search Engine Optimisation' is still a technical phrase to the people I talk to, they have a handle on 'Internet' now though ;)

Btw Nick - what's with the missing first letters in the quote boxes, or is that a cool new trend I haven't caught onto yet? :)


I've no experience of it, but i'll take an educated guess that these are 'prestige terms' and nothing more...


As one who previously held the number 2/3 spot for search engine optimization for a number of years in Google (with my RankWrite domain), I can confirm that yes, it's more of a vanity phrase than anything else. But not always. There are many potential clients that do look at that, even if they didn't originally find you there.

I had to think long and hard when I got rid of my rankwrite domain as it was still in one of the top positions. I wanted my highrankings site to be there, since rankwrite was no longer being updated. I was seeing that it didn't seem that it would be possible for both rankwrite and highrankings to be in top listings for such a competitive phrase, so I made the decision some time ago to merge the sites together.

I 301-d RW to HR, and placed the archived content of RW that wasn't already on HR into an archive folder on HR so as to not lose those still somewhat valuable info. This hurt for a few months as neither site was showing up, but eventually the 301 stuck with G, and HR started to show at least in top 20. It's been in and out of top 20 top 10 since, and working it's way closer to the top over the last few months.

This has all taken a couple of years though!

And for the record, I've never asked for a link on HR, nor do I do any reciprocal exchanges. I do require links though for those that ask if they can reprint my articles, and I think that those links in general have helped a lot with some of the movement over the last few months. There seems to have been a ton of people who have decided that republishing other people's SEO articles is a good idea for some reason. Fine with me!

My site is often used as an example of what I think Google does look for and does reward. Unfortunately, to achieve rankings on highly competitive phrases in a way that is "natural" (as natural as one can be when you're an SEO!) it is such a long term process. It's one that not too many have the patience for as everyone wants their rankings NOW NOW NOW! It's not something you can really do for clients in a "natural" way as it's something that takes someone who lives, breathes and sleeps their website.

This is not to say that other things don't work just as well for competitive phrases, they obviously do. And for most sites, those other things are going to be necessary, including buying tons of links on other sites. For many clients of mine, that is an option we would explore. I just would never do it for my site, as it's not necessary. Plus, I can still do a great business regardless of my position in Google.

It's certainly a nice vanity thing though, that is for sure!

Temporary Penalty

SEOinc's temporary loss of ranking was, more then likely, caused by too many new "optimized" links coming in all at once in combination of too many older,over-optimized, links coming in from too few I.P.'s. It amazes me how its such big news when someone looses rankings. It's happened to us all at some point in our careers. Thats the nature of this biz. If things were static we would all be bored out of our minds.

To help minimize the possibility of temporary penalization I always preach to all of my clients the following:

1. Stay away from excessive site-wide linking
2. Stay away from excessive links from the same network of I.P.'s
3. Rotate your link text as much as possible. I recommend hardly ever using your main keyword alone as the link text. I suggest using combinations of your keyword with descriptive text and related keywords. I also suggest mixing it up a bit and putting your keywords in the surrounding text and leaving it completly out of the anchor text.
4. Link to deep pages as much as you link to your homepage.
5. Gradually and consistently build up links over time. If your linking history looks like a rollar coaster, theres a good chance that your ranking history will look the same.
6. Focus on getting links on relevant pages.

Im sure this is no new news to most of the people on this site but hopefully there are a few that will read it that will learn something about proper linking techniques for 04-09-05. People need to learn that what worked 6 months ago isnt going to work the same today.


I remember when Webatlas copped it from Google people spoke of a a penalty, when it was nothing more insiduous than a 302 cock-up. Any chance of a problem with redirects here?

#5 and 6

Gradually and consistently build up links over time.
Focus on getting links on relevant pages.

I'd venture to say that those items alone are sufficient. The rest of Jarrod's recommendations are going to happen on their own under those circumstances.


Aparrently they've just started a forum, and this post may further speculation as to what went wrong (check out post #2)...

SEOInc Denies Any Wrongdoing ...

It's a dangerous game; once one starts hitting their rivals, where will it end?

It doesn't matter if the accusations are spot on or fiction - once Google takes a close look at an SEO company, there's usually plenty there that smells.

Once SEOInc identify the spammer, will they do the same?

Is this the BlackHat seo implosion we've been promised?


That reply from SEOinc looked a little uncalled for didn't it? Well I guess he got it off his chest :)

I doubt he can use the tort argument though. Here is the definition from Google definitions:

"An injury or wrong committed, either with or without force, to the person or property of another." -

To gain a successful court judgement SEOinc would have to prove that their positions in Google are their property. I can't see from his 2nd post any potential damage to anything other than his Google rank apart from his reputation. But he even states himself there has been no damage to that.


>But he even states himself there has been no damage to that.

yeah... I thought that line was a bad call.

I have not really been in any official legal stuff, but expressing your thoughts and attack angles and saying that one of the better attack angles was unaffected on an open forum seems naive.

Hard to say

From the spelling and grammar in those posts I'd say he might have written those emails himself. (just kidding, don't sue me!)

... and yea, we received a number of those triangular proposals from "Sonal" too. Pretty sure i've received other link requests with that name. Time to search Outlook on Monday and see what I can dig up.

Is this the BlackHat seo implosion we've been promised?

Did you just make that up or has somebody promise you an implosion?


Did you just make that up or has somebody promised you an implosion?

You should know I don't make things up; maybe you just read the wrong forums ;o)

Whatever the truth of the allegations, it's been fairly obvious for some little while that Google doesn't need much excuse to look long and hard at certain industry leaders.

And once they start looking closely, the allegations no longer matter - they'll usually find something. Won't they?

Don't take my word for it. On the other hand, don't say you weren't told. Thanks.

I'm in seo incs corner

This is bullshit if they went down through anything 3rd party. Even more since the email in the link above isn't traced back to an seoinc email address. It's some bloke with a gmail account. I'll be the first to say seo inc goes after link pop as well they should. I have a small business directory and I was amazed to find that seoinc found it and submitted to it. That makes 2 seo companies in the last 3 years it's been up. Buying links and submitting to directories is far from aggressive.

Hell sending emails to other seo companies for a 1 way link in my book is totally legit. They have a viral link plan (seo tool bar) which I'm sure brings in a lot of link pop cause it's a good resource. They buy links (legit advertisement). They keep an active list of emails and when they launch something new they send out a notice via email (their new seo forum) the notice came yesterday here is a copy of the email that came sunday. (email notice = spawn forum discussions and blogging which = more links).

You get these knuckle heads that read a freaking patent and think they know Google like the back of their hand. According to them if I had a brand new site with a kick ass tool that everyone wants to link to I won't see the SERPS in a million years for my keywords because it looks too spammy. If that IS G's concept then I can tell you a dozen ways to bomb your competitor. Hope there is a contingency plan because if you can blow away your competition through mass links then G's results will be more than worthless when all the legit sites are pushed out through spammers.

Not blaming patent or Sonal

Just to clear some stuff up here... I did not intend to imply that the "Sonal" email is what brought about their downfall. Indeed, blaming that email is a kin to blaming an anarchist assassin for causing WW1. I also did not intend to say that Google's most recent patent is the reason SEOinc has gone MIA at Google.

For the record, I have been involved in the SEO/SEM industry for about seven years. I feel I have been informed by more than one patent document but I do share SeoMike's obvious frustration at those who have limited experience making sweeping statements.


So, CEO SEO Inc. claims that a 'third party' sent out the link exchange emails.

If it is true it is a brilliant sandbag, and if it is not it is a brilliant spin.

Only dumb move in that post was inciting the DMCA.

Crossing the Threshold

There comes a point when one crosses a threshold and I believe that may be the case here. I do not think the link request email is responsible for what is going on. It may have brought other things to light, but it probably was not the reason for being manually removed. When Yahoo! is reporting 11,400,000 backlinks for the site in question, you have to wonder...

you're kidding right???

They have a tool bar that every blog and forum talked about, they actively submit to directories, they buy links for advertising (big whoop). Unless they linked into a bad neighborhood then I would say fear G because the only way to kill a site via 3rd party so far was through a 302 pagejack. If G is killing sites because they have too many links they should kiss their own ass goodbye because their backlinks would equal spam central. I have enough pages up on the net now to in theory knock every person in the blog off the map then LOL. Anybody down for some free link pop? Don't bitch at me if you drop like Brett Tabke said "there's no such thing as spam, just bad algos.."

they are still in the index

just not showing up for a few terms.

re they are still in the index

I like the crappy cloak that uses their content and ranks for that term lol. Google is the same freaking Google it's always been, in it's quest for a huge index it gobbles up the crapiest sites known to man and then waits for someone to point it out before they do something about it :)

Just an update

man a in Google doesn't look good at all for them.

That's a manual ban


No need to over-analyze. It's all in the patent.

11,400,000 backlinks now linking to a bad neighborhood

Do you guys now realize that there are 11,400,000 backlinks going to a bad neighborhood?

Quote directly from Google:

"Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links."

11,400,000 backlinks going to a bad neighborhood?

Search engines would like you to live in fear of linking out to sites they deem as bad, but their judgement is their own score.

You only need to look at sites like the Yahoo! Directory which link out to sites that used to be link farms (like Links to You) to realize that most legitimate large developed sites link out to some resources which are not in good graces with all the major search engines.

What I think was a bit foolish with the cease and desist letter is that SEO Inc took what might have been sympathy from others and turned it into a pot of poo.

Search engines try to make examples out of some sites to keep other webmasters in check, but its really nothing more than propaganda.

Tell That To The Marines ...

Search engines try to make examples out of some sites to keep other webmasters in check, but its really nothing more than propaganda.

Over the past four months, there have been four high profile "Manual Adjustments" involving the SEO industry; there will be more.

Nice to rally the troops with powerful, convincing slogans, but I don't think "its really nothing more than propaganda" is going to win an award - or even a medal.

This is getting odd

I've had my eye on a couple of stats regarding them since I first read about them dropping. I've just been using the DP tracker to watch their ranking on "search engine optimization" (for which the result has been "N/A" since I started watching it) and to check their home page PR, backlinks and indexed pages.

Obviously, that's the API, so it's often a little different from .com, but I'm seeing a big difference right now: the API has been reporting only 29 indexed pages for over a month now, but a site: search on now gives me 158 results. Pretty big difference.

But of those 158, most are URL only. Of those that aren't, I'm seeing something interesting: I looked at 2 pages for which G gave me a snippet -- and -- both are blank pages. If you look at the cached copies, one used to contain instructions on how to link to them, and the other was a link to a designer's site.

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