I saw a post yesterday on Search Engine Land by Andrew Shotland that got me thinking. It should go without saying, but do you REALLY know that your SEO is affecting your reputation? Every email sent requesting links, every blog comment, and every fake review can come back to bite you in the ass.
Let’s not get carried away. Only 35% of you who are paying an SEO have anything to worry about. Still… Those 35% of you should take a closer look.
Do Some Digging On Your Own
Try vanity searches (searches involving your brands, products, and executives) and dig deep beyond the 10th page to see what’s been said and by whom. Who is speaking on behalf of your company? Is your SEO responding to comments for the sake of link building under the guise of your brand? If so, is this a practice you condone?
I get that even though blog comment links aren’t supposed to matter, some of the leaders in competitive niches do hardcore comment spamming. Chalk it up to Google turning a blind eye or today’s experts being a little less expert than they say.
Every contact requesting a link or a share or a vote casts a shadow or a light upon your brand. I’m not telling you that you’re getting screwed over. I’m telling you that you MIGHT be getting screwed over. It’s up to you to check.
Take Action. Be a Policy Maker.
What you CAN do is not sit around and wish your vendors would be nicer, more respectable people. Create a Policy for Representing Company X. All vendors sign an agreement that they will adhere to your requirements unless an addendum has been signed by both parties and they agree to be liable for damages cost by failure to adhere to the policy.
You don’t have to write a book. But spell out the scenarios in which vendors may not pretend to be you. If there is leeway, describe it with precision. If your SEO vendors can’t do their job without violating your terms, they’re not the SEO for you. If they violate your terms, they’re not the SEO for you.
In some instances, you will limit your external link building efforts – depending on how strict your terms are. But be of good cheer… there’s always “someone” out there who can achieve results without spamming the planet!