Yesterday (1/13/2011), I read a post that truly made my day. In a nutshell, an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) agency by the name of "Better Placement" was brought to question by an individual on Google's Webmaster Central forum.
Better Placement was noted as claiming to work directly with Google via some new program Google supposedly rolled out which allowed people to purchase rankings based on keywords in organic results. It's a pretty creative lie these people fabricated, but the first page rankings for your keyword(s) would supposedly occur within a 50 mile radius of... well, I'm unclear at the moment, but it occurred via "geo-tracking." What followed from there was responses-a-plenty from Google and a defensive individual who claimed to not be affiliated with Better Placement despite all signs pointing to the contrary.
Well, then the head of Google's Web spam team, Matt Cutts, came rolling into the discussion and handed user "bruben25" a good old fashioned "pwning" courtesy of Google! Straight off the bat, Matt put things into perspective for everyone (bold emphases added by me):
Let me make it more relevant for you as a Google employee based in the United States: I would definitely avoid Better Placement.
After crafting a well-purposed paragraph, he begins another with once again stating a similar sentiment:
Based on a quick assessment, I personally would choose not do business with Better Placement.
Well, "bruben25" didn't think that was too hot but maintained he wasn't involved with Better Placement in any capacity. After a bit of back-and-forth, Matt Cutts finally took the bull by the horns and put the kibosh on the matter with a large portion of "BOOYA!" followed by a fine delicacy of STFU (once again, bold emphasis added by yours truly):
"Matt I am not part of Better Placement, nor is my firm even in the same city" bruben25, part of the reason I asked is that according to official business filings with the Ohio Secretary of State, the agent for Better Placement is one B. D. Ruben. Here, you can read the official document: http://www2.sos.state.oh.us/reports/rwservlet?imgc&Din=201035100591 It's interesting because http://www.superpages.com/bp/Toledo-OH/Better-Placement-L2223491442.htm lists the contact info for Better Placement and betterplacement.info as firstname.lastname@example.org. And your handle is bruben25. And the agent for Better Placement is B. Ruben, according to official records with the state of Ohio. I think that gets the idea across. No offense, but my advice remains to avoid Better Placement.
Now, it doesn't take a Google employee to find the data Mr. Cutts did on "B. Ruben" -- just good old fashioned search ninja skills. Regardless, I think Matt made it pretty darn clear what Google thinks about SEO agencies claiming to work directly with Google using some program Google supposedly rolled out.
It's bad enough that people guarantee first-page rankings (which, honestly, only reflects negatively on any given SEO agency who fails to provide such a deliverable) and Google spells that out on their SEO-related page on Google Webmaster Central, but claiming to work directly with Google!? Man, that's a new one to me. Anyway, the takeaway here if you're looking for SEO services is to stay clear of people/agencies who guarantee first-page rankings. If you're an SEO agency/consultant/freelancer, well... you should know better -- and if you don't, Matt Cutts may just come gunning for you should you be brought to his attention!
Once again, I maintain that scenarios like this challenge the cliche statement that "all press is good press; even negative press." I've never agreed with that. If for nothing else, a crux to the contrary of that statement is the very rise of reputation management as a service. So, what do you think? Was this not an awesome move on the behalf of Matt or what? Personally, I love seeing shady SEOs called to the mat -- especially the ones who blatantly resort to lies to coax clients into going with them. Not cool. Go, Matt, go!
Source of Discussion: Google Webmaster Central Forum