A few months ago I bid on an SEO project for a local contractor in the Seattle area. We had agreed on some terms and planned on moving forward. He seemed committed to the project, but for whatever reason I never heard from him again. I followed up a few times but then wrote it off as a dead lead.
A few weeks ago I decided to check out his website. He had a new one, plus at least four more nearly identical ones.
Clearly someone else got the job.
Too bad for him, though. The “SEO” who has been hired to do the work obviously is just in it for a quick buck. This “expert” has talked his new client into buying several keyword rich domain names, made near duplicate sites using the same WordPress template and linked them all together in the footer.
This hired “SEO” is a real gem. He is so cheap he didn’t even use private registration. Not that I condone this practice, but if you’re going to be so shifty you could at least try to cover your own tracks. It took me all of ten seconds to check the whois record and a quick Google search to verify who this ripoff is.
All of the sites used appear to be brand new (never registered before) domain names, were registered less than two months ago, and some are already ranking on the first page of Google for exact matches of the keywords in the domain names. However not for any of the keyword variants or when the keywords are out of order. And the company’s main website is still nowhere to be found.
www.companyname.com – original
Created On:18-Feb-2010 00:33:14 UTC
I didn’t want to disclose too much information, because even though I would like to expose this shady SEO, I would hate to see the client get penalized for what his consultant did. I don’t think it’s his fault he picked the wrong guy. He probably went with the cheapest, and that’s exactly what he got!
I’m starting to see a ton of duplicate content websites in the SERPS, mostly companies doing this very thing. I can see how it might be appealing to some – it took this kid less than two months to get first page ranking by linking handful of new sites together and pointing another cluster of spammy links at them. Even so, he didn’t do a very good job. I could have got him ranking for a lot more keywords.
There’s also a well-known attorney in the Seattle area who has about twenty duplicate websites, and he ranks well for most of them – at least the last time I checked. I still don’t think it’s very effective overall though.
But what’s saddest about this particular story is the client probably thinks his SEO is great because he is already ranking for exact matches of the targeted key-phrases, i.e., the domain names. Not with the actual company website still, though. Obviously it is a little too easy to rank keyword-rich domain names. Some of these duplicate domains are .net, .org, .com or whatever the so-called SEO could match the targeted keywords with. There is no consistency.
The client already had an established and aged domain name, it would have been pretty easy to rank him for all of those keywords on that website. Plus a lot more professional and a much better strategy for the long-term. The tactic used in this example really only benefits the SEO – potentially making him a quick buck or two. By the time the client gets penalized for these duplicate websites, the SEO will likely be long gone, and the client will be stuck starting from scratch.
Part of me feels like I should report this SEO and to say something to the site owner. But I figure I didn’t get the contract, and I don’t know the prospect any more than that, so It’s really none of my business. I guess maybe the best thing I can do is just not say anything at all?