Google Slaps Marketing Company Portent for Unnatural Links

yellow-penalty-flagAnother day, another penalty to report. Ian Lurie, Chairman and Principal of Seattle-based marketing company Portent, revealed today his company received a manual spam action notice for unnatural links from Google. His site now can be found on Page 60 of Google.

Lurie shared a few theories as to why Portent was penalized in a blog post today revealing the penalty. It could be because one of his ex-client's sites was hacked, resulting in 59,000 pages of spam pointing at Portent, or perhaps it's due to several sitewide links all with exact match anchor text of “Internet marketing by portent”.

A couple additional theories have been discussed on Twitter.

Portent recently underwent a redesign, perhaps prompting a manual review by Google. PushFire CEO Rae Hoffman tweeted that this would be the second time in a week she's heard about a redesign triggering a Google penalty.

One other possibility is that, considering the timing, the penalty Google just handed to Ann Smarty's guest blog network MyBlogGuest may have impacted Portent. Lurie tweeted: "it looks like we have 2-3 posts we did using a service that just got penalized. Could that have done it?"

Regardless, Lurie is taking the news surprisingly well.

"I’m actually laughing really hard at the irony," Lurie wrote. "We’re so white hat we’ve been repeatedly fired because of poor link acquisition. The only person I know in the industry who’s a bigger white hat tactics proponent than me is Rand (sorry, Rand, if you get penalized by association)."

So far, none of Portent's clients have been impacted, Lurie reported. He promised to continue reporting on his attempts to get the penalty lifted as "the ultimate case study." I know I'll be following this one with interest.

About the author

Danny Goodwin formerly was Associate Editor of Search Engine Watch, where he also covered the latest search marketing and industry news. He joined Incisive Media in October 2007, in charge of copy editing columns that appeared on both Search Engine Watch and ClickZ. Prior to a life in the search industry, he worked in the journalism field, working in numerous newsroom positions, before later working as a freelance copy editor.