Last month, SEO Inc apparently fell out of the top rankings for the term "search engine optimization" at Google. I felt it was a non-story then. That's changed now that the company issued a cease-and-desist notice against Google Blogoscoped, implying that Philipp Lenssen there may have trade libeled them. More details and a copy of the letter from Philipp here: SEO Inc Sent Me a Cease & Desist.
Wow. What did he say? John Battelle has a reprint over here, but here's the key passage is this:
It?s kind of ironic that SEOInc.com, a search engine optimization company which for a while was on the Google number 1 spot for the highly competitive query "search engine optimization", is now nowhere to be found in the Google results. This is likely due to the recent PageRank update and even more algorithm tweaks implemented by Google. Enter ?SEOinc? into Google.com, and SEOInc.com is nowhere in the top 10; and the SEOInc.com PageRank has dropped to ?none?. Only by entering ?site:seoinc.com? into Google will you see the site is still indexed in some way.
And while a low or non-existent Google ranking is bad enough for sites outside the SEO industry, it hits everyone in the SEO business twice as hard: not only are SEOInc not being found with search engines anymore, they?ve also lost their biggest proof their services are worth paying for.
Of course, the fact this site has seen the Google death penalty hints that they?ve overoptimized using ?black hat? search engine optimization (such as linkfarms, for example).
Who is Philipp to say that SEO Inc lost the biggest proof that their services were worthwhile? Actually, SEO Inc. made this suggestion. Until recently, it had these claims on its web site, which Philipp's article lead off with:
?Search Engine Optimization Inc. uses our proven Search Engine Placement techniques to rank more sites in more top positions than anyone in the business. Our cutting-edge strategies are currently used by companies including AT&T Broadband, IGN, Sierra Trading Post, and Microsoft. (...)
The title of Certified Advanced Search Engine Marketing Strategist from the Academy of Web Specialists is your assurance that SEO Inc Search Engine Optimization incorporates highly effective, ethical and proven methods of gaining you top positioning.?
Those are now gone, though in a new development, the company appears to have recently become a member of the W3C. From its home page:
Search Engine Optimization Inc is the FIRST and Only search engine marketing firm to become a member of the (W3C) World Wide Web Consortium. Read Article here.
As said, I thought the company's drop in placement for "search engine optimization" was a non-issue when I heard about it a few weeks ago. I wouldn't have reported them as being "good" for having any type of placement, since placement for a term doesn't necessary mean good conversions.
In addition, top rankings can be meaningless. Was the term competitive or not? IE, does anyone actually search on it? And if you were top ranked, how long for? On which search engines? Ones people actually use? These are the types of reasons why I simply ignore any claims based on rankings.
Want to discuss or learn more? Check out these forum discussions:
- SEO Inc. banned from Google?, WebmasterWorld
- SEOInc ... they have forums!, SEO Chat
- SEOInc Sending out Cease & Desists, Threadwatch
- SEOINC.com Penalized in Google, Search Engine Watch Forums
That last thread we actually pulled from our forums back in mid-April. No, not because of a cease-and-desist letter or any message. Instead, our forums have a policy about public spam reporting. We don't allow it, unless a site is incredibly well-known or the issue has become discussed in a variety of public forums. Ironically, with the many blog comments now about the cease-and-desist, the thread that previously was pulled now qualifies for restoration.