In 2011 the use of black hat online reputation management was everywhere. And it worked. Black hat SEOs and reputation companies were able to effectively demoted unwanted links using these spam techniques.
But in 2013 we are looking at a different picture. Black hat SEO for online reputation management is now a system doomed for failure.
Google resolves both sides of Black hat SEO usage
Webmasters and companies cleaning up their act to restore quality
In October 2012 Google launched the Disavow Link Tool which has given Webmasters the control they need to cleanup black hat spamming techniques which are harming their website and causing penalties. The launch of the tool was timely; it allowed Webmasters and SEOs to make good on all the naughty practices they had been involved in, in their desperate attempts to gain rank through link farms, automated links and accumulating thousands, or even millions of backlinks from useless websites.
Companies were given the chance to tell Google their bad practices and come clean but disavowing the links they no longer wanted associated with their website. And there have been some great results.
Reputation management companies caught with their pants down
Some of the biggest online reputations management firms have had 2 sides to their services.
- The filling of a keyword’s search results with lots of content relating to that search and,
- Spamming the hell out of unwanted links (usually review websites, negative articles, posts etc) to get them penalised by Google’s spam checks.
Black hat SEO and penalisation services used to work until Google caught on. The problem with this system is that Google has eyes everywhere and if reputation companies or black hat SEOs think that they are not seeing this being done, then they are being naive. In fact, Google has included in their algorithm the detection of over spamming for penalisation purposes as companies have been found to be trying to take down competitors, reputation and PR firms using this to cleanup bad press and media etc.
The problem with the Black hat system is that Google has eyes everywhere and they will catch on eventually.
So if you go and build 50,000 links from a network of spam Viagra websites to hit a competitor or suppress an unwanted search result, Google will most likely ignore your feeble attempt to suppress it, or, if the webmaster spots it they will simply “disavow” your links.
Google thinks that Black hat SEO will be ineffective by Summer 2013.
What solutions do you have?
The most stable, powerful and effective strategy is to do online reputation management by the book. This requires intelligence, hard work, analysis of facts, not speculation. It requires an immense amount of communication, whether with upset consumers, a lawyer, hosting companies, webmasters and PRs. It includes an intelligent web structure and rethinking of a message. It must have the consumer in mind — always.
Black hat online reputation management is fading fast. Honest services backed by effective people will always get a better, long-lasting result.