When SEO Gets Dirty

by David Naylor
Bronco - Digital Marketing Agency

Disclaimer : I don’t condone this or part take in this, and this list is built up with 13 years of experience of what I have seen happen to sites on the web.

After the Demon SEO Panel at the London Affiliate Conference (LAC), (btw it wasn’t videoed so if you didn’t attend tough luck) I got to thinking about was it the right or wrong thing to do. I mean if you don’t warn people that it is going on then how can they implemented changes and monitoring systems, of course it also opened another world up to people that just want to hurt other peoples sites.

OK so what was discussed :

1) De-stabling the inhouse SEO team

Requesting references for certain members of the team from HR
Posting their CV’s on online
Posting their position on job boards
Employing them

2) Link Jacking

Buying hacked blog links
Adding them to known bad networks
Requesting link buys from Search Reps
Requesting links from bloggers that will out the link request
Buying links from malware sites

3) Hacking

Changing Robots.txt
Hidden Noindex/Nofollows
Add Large Cloaked Doorway pages then report them
Add links to their competitors
Webmaster tools account

4) XSS

Mess up their CMS
Gain Backlinks
Drop Cookies or add Affid

5) Traffic Flood

Destroy analytics data, so SEO team are busy deciphering it
Send Junk traffic such as adult etc
Ping of death
Slow ping of death

6) Paid Search

Clickbot their ads
Impression Fraud driving Adwords quality score down
If they are using inhouse tracking send on converting traffic to those urls
Test Inhouse tracking for Dupe content

7) Reputation Management

Trash them in forums
Trash them in Review sites
Mess with Google Suggests
Mess with Affiliates, overwrite Aff cookie with merchant cookie
Pay affiliates to bad mouth them
Rank scam sites behind them

OK, so what can you do to protect yourself? Having a solid in-house or external SEO team and good communication channels with the search engines is a very good start.

Some things you should be doing  :

1.Server Monitoring – Stress test your servers, find out what traffic you can and can’t take
2. Stay up to date with sites  like ha.ckers.orgnews.ycombinator.comseclists.org patch and stay ahead of the curve.
3. Watch your traffic, if you start to see unexpected traffic sources setup rules to bounce it so it doesn’t mess up logs
4. If you’re using off the shelf packages don’t add plugins without checking them and don’t let them auto update’
5. Take stock of your back links and monitor them, if you can’t account for IBL’s then check them out.
6. Push Good reviews and Newspaper articles to the top of the serps for brand terms, set up an alert based system to monitor your brand


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