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Some people watch stocks go up and down, SEO’ers watch listings.
One of the most watched sites is GoCompare. They advertise heavily on TV which drives strong brand awareness – people know the GoCompare name. What typically happens is that they then go to the internet and type “GoCompare” into Google and follow the link to the site.
They have a bit of a problem in that their listings seem to come and go. About a month ago they didn’t even appear for searches on their own name. Instead a number of affiliate sites to whom GoCompare need to pay commission appear.
The rumour is that GoCompare had been penalised by Google for not following their guidelines and trying to do things to manipulate the search results, the most recent occurrence being a repeat of something that happened around a year ago.
This is a cautionary tale, which demonstrates why SEO needs to be done within accepted guidelines; the listing slip must have cost them a lot of money in affiliate commissions and increased TV advertising.
There’s also a learning point to recognise that you can’t try to cheat the system. When you receive emails from companies that say they’ll quickly get you to the top of Google, be careful. If it seems too good to be true it’s likely they’ll be using a short term trick to try to cheat the system – it may give you go short term results but if found out you could be quickly demoted.
The positive side of the story is that demotions need not be permanent, if you can show the engines you’ve tried to correct what you’ve done wrong it’s likely you’ll be able to recover the situation given time.
Needless to say I-COM follows the Google guidelines as closely as possible and have helped a number of businesses get back their listings after other SEO’s have brought them down. SEO by the rules may not always deliver the quickest results but it does deliver results that stick.