The question should no longer be open to interpretation.
E commerce companies have traditionally relied on their SEO company to provide “link building” to help increase their site’s ranking on Google and other search engines. To that end, the SEO company makes a judgment when they decide whether a link is relevant to a client’s site. An ethical SEO company will look at a potential inbound link, evaluate the content for relevancy and quality (all subjective) and then decide whether it is worthy. A bad (or unethical) SEO company will simply load up a site with as many links as possible, relative or not. In fact, they probably haven’t even looked at the content.
Google’s Penguin algorithm is doing a great job of putting the typical low-quality SEO company out of business by spotting low-quality or irrelevant links and de-ranking websites that have too many of them.
But that leaves the average ethical SEO company with a big problem: Their subjective criteria for determining link quality may or may not align with Google’s objective determination as to what constitutes a bad link. And since no one expects Google to reveal their criteria for what constitutes a bad link, the ethical SEO company runs the very real risk of harming their clients, simply because their link selection criteria is open to subjective interpretation.
At Kirk, we believe we’re an SEO company that has found a better way. We can now look at every inbound link to a client’s site and get the Google “Page” rank for that link (the 1-10 ranking that rates a site’s overall quality). We also have proprietary software that allows us to look at inbound links in the same way Google does. It gives us completely objective information as to whether Google thinks a link is not relevant or of low quality.
Come to think of it, this gives the ethical SEO company another problem: Since their clients have no control over websites who might arbitrarily choose to point a link to a site, the only way they’ll ever know they’re accruing bad links is when their search rankings start dropping. Or, when they get the dreaded “unnatural links” notice from Google saying they are likely to be de-ranked.
To make sure this doesn’t ever happen, we periodically use our software to look at all the links putting to our client’s sites. When we find suspicious links we contact the link owner demanding that they be removed.