You Hired a Backlink VA, and you hoped they would Work With OutReach Method, but They Went with Spammy Methods. How Much Had You paid Them?



u/panglooss
Is my "SEO Expert" doing fake SEO?
I have hired an SEO person to work on off-page SEO for my website, mainly working on link building. I've received a few weekly work reports from them, and the reports have always centered around tasks that I find to be spammy. This is stuff like off site blog promotion, social bookmarking, image sharing, classified ads, off site blog posts, blog commenting, directory submission, PDF submission… The list goes on and on.
I feel like the SEO person should be focused on manual outreach and building quality links doing things like guest posting, edu link building, broken link building, resource page roundups, etc.
So, my questions are:
-Are the techniques that my "SEO expert" is doing actually effective?
-Since I am just starting the SEO project for this website, do you think that these are necessary to at least build the number of backlinks to the website?
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ExpertBradSEO
Does he rank for seo expert?
Let me guess, you are paying $499? If so, he is doing Expert $499 work.

panglooss ✍️
No, I am paying about $1,000/m. This is an upwork contractor.

terrigal_au
is that person provide platform? targets? before started working?
panglooss ✍️
They claimed we would be on the first page in a few months, and the rankings have been improving steadily, but still not using preferred methods.
RasAlTimmeh
If you are getting results, then what they are doing is working. HOWEVER, the method depends on your risk profile. If you have an ecommerce store with 1 mil in inventory turnover, 50% of which are coming from Search Engine Optimization (SEO), then I would highly advise against black hat or higher risk tactics because while they work, that can destroy your business. If you are more risk tolerant, then black hat or gray hat can work. Just look on page 1 of any major competitive keyword, you're bound to find a diversified pool of methods.
Those techniques specifically, are pretty weak link building but SEO is expensive. If you want manual outreach and unique content, and high domain authority targeting, you're basically going have to pay a whole lot more.
Think about it, outreach is basically a sales job reaching out to high profile blogs asking and networking so that they will link your content or have you guest blog. It requires a lot of work, and it requires unique high quality content usually the expensive rates you find on Upwork not the $10/hr writers.
I'd assess your risk and find someone who can work within those guidelines. Maybe you'll get a second opinion from someone better.
AnotherSEOGuy
Not to be snide, but you aren't the person who tells the 'Expert' what the 'preferred methods' are, that's why you're paying him.
Depending on what your vertical is (& keywords), $1,000 isn't an awful amount per month to warrant a wide scale outreach campaign p/month. What he's doing is slightly sub-par for $1k p/month, but it's by no means awful. Hope that helps in the slightest!
terrigal_au
yup! you are right!
terrigal_au
it will take 3-6months before you see the stats and the ranking, as an SEO we don't give false expectations to our clients, first of all
β€’ talking about money
β€’ skills and knowledge -target and stats Now my question is, did you check there previous projects? or previous clients? how many? is it legit?

ExpertBradSEO
Outreach and true link building is very labor intensive and expensive…

[deleted]
True, but I'm a one man band really. The only thing I outsource is outreach (although I do all the prospecting and script writing), because I find that the most time intensive part.

LeadsKiwi
The only link building we do anymore is via guest posting and outreach because we have found other methods to not work as they once did.

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ExpertBradSEO
Any claim or guarantee is a huge red flag.
As far as prices, as I mentioned quality outreach is time intensive. I handle Press Release (PR) link building personally, these are what I feel are the highest power natural links. For example, I get a doctor published in prevention magazine, women's health, USA Today, niche medical publications, etc. Great for link power but also great to establish authority on your website.
One of these links is worth "500" generic outreach links in my humble opinion.
[deleted]
Do you have existing content ( blogs, landing pages, etc… )? YES / NO
Are you being asked to produce new content? YES / NO
Have you had a discussion about whom you wish to target ( for the first page )? YES / NO
Have you shared more content via social media accounts recently? YES / NO
Have you done any "work" other than pay the monthly fee? YES / NO
If the answer to any of those questions is a NO, then you are probably doing spammy SEO. If the answer to most of those questions is a NO, then you are definitely doing spammy SEO.
Even if the reports show you climbing in search results, the algorithms are so complex that you need to ask specifically for target markets. Two people can be sitting on the same couch with two different laptops, and get different search results, not to mention people sitting in different cities.
For $1,000 a month more should be happening. You might be paying $1,000 a month to get reports.
Here is the bad news: Unless you or one of your employees is doing the above tasks, you are not doing any meaningful SEO. There is no magic tactic anymore, it's just content production and user engagement.

[deleted]
Why the downvotes on this post? These questions are spot on.
Everyone wants an easy answer, but the truth is that search engines want to deliver high quality, relevant search results. If you're not strategizing with that in mind, you are wasting your efforts.
The questions in this post are exactly what we should be working with, and should be in our FAQs for beginners
Apologies for the slightly annoyed edit: what's with the weird gatekeeping in this sub? Valuable SEO is labor intensive. Educating those who don't know won't hurt our business. It'll only help promote realistic expectations

Sen7ineL
Spot on. Good SEO is not unlike a qualitty date. If you want a one night stand, you probably won't try as hard as you would if you want to have kids and a family, when hitting on a girl/guy. It is an investment in time, money and effort. The cheaper you go the bigger is the chance that you will not succeed in the long term.
JustinBilyj
Quality content and brand outreach IS the new SEO. Relying on only backlinks won't do jack anymore…
Sen7ineL
Very true. You can still use them, but 10 quality backlinks are always better than 1000 shitty ones. And then you should never use them on your main domain.
JustinBilyj
Diversity links should be about 15 per piece of content, doing more than that is too spammy. I take the stance, "content must be curated into different forms," so you shouldn't have that much imo.
Sen7ineL
Weeeel, there is no solid rule on quantity, but yeah, about 15 is ok.

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RasAlTimmeh
He's still doing work but it's really your job to vet what kind of SEO professional you want. Those are link building tasks but if you want manual outreach and building quality links, I.e. white hat SEO techniques, you need to specify that with your SEO.
And $1000/mo is hardly anything for SEO especially white hat so I imagine you would have to increase your budget substantially or be okay with the gray and black hat stuff. But also, black hat stuff does work but it's a matter of risk profile and how much risk tolerance you have.
To answer your questions:
β€’ Yes they are effective but depends on how he/she is doing it. It's hard to say. The better question is, are you getting results?
β€’ I don't understand the question. If your SEO didn't go over strategy then ask or find someone who will go over strategy and consult with you on the game plan and how they plan to achieve it. It takes time but it's good to know how competitive your keywords are, the overall competitive landscape and how you are going to get there and how long it will take (roughly, no one can guarantee anything).
BryrDe
It actually depends on the niche. The above mentioned are still effective (personally, except for the directory submission).
*Classified ads are still good if you are selling products *Blog commenting – despite most of the blogs are nofollow, it can still promote connection with the blog and your site. It doesn't really mean that you drop links every comment. *Social bookmarking – best to do this for tier 2 links, not your main site; most of them are nofollow too. choose bookmarking sites with active users *PDF submission – good for educational sites or websites that offer learning courses
*EDU sites are only good for educational sites

-Skohell-
Directory became that bad? I have good result with one or two but not more. I feel it is still an easy backlink to do as long as you chose the 1 or 2 you want wisely. Am I wrong?

BryrDe
if it's web directory, it's pretty useless (based on my experience). Lots of them were penalized by Google along with article directories because they've become link farms. Can you cite some of these directories please?
-Skohell-
Before I was on dmoz and now on directory world. As I said just 1 – 2. Locals directories seem better appropriated.

number3arm
Well…you won't get penalized, after the last penguin update spammy links are just discounted in value, and not negative.
You can do some low quality linkbuilding for a month or two, but afterwards it's not going to get you anywhere. Basically, if the links you're getting are not as high quality as your competition, you'll never pass them, no matter the volume.
Ask your contractor to provide domain & URL ranks for the links they're making. You might have to audit manually to make sure and you can double check with a free trial from Ahrefs .
Generally comments, classifieds, directories are low quality.

AnotherSEOGuy
You absolutely can get penalized, the only things it discounts the value of are large quantity, low quality links (see any public testing data ever).

SEO-Agency
i am reading a lot of people talking down on this link building campaign, but to be honest its not bad at all. Guest posting, Private Blog Network (PBN) links, and tier 2 links are the only things your missing but your most likely not paying enough for that. What your current "SEO Expert" is doing is content marketing 101 and there is nothing wrong with that.

AnotherSEOGuy
Unfortunately there's always a bias when reviewing somebody else's work, especially if you can potentially leverage your non-positive feedback for potential work.
I agree completely with your comment!
Sen7ineL
I concur. Content marketing is not bad, but he definitely should use tiered structure.

AnotherSEOGuy
It's not awful but not exactly great by the sounds of it. PDF submissions are pretty black-hat, but then again, so is .edu link building (and doesn't have anywhere near the value it once did).
Unfortunately in 2017, if you're not giving him super high quality content on-site to work with, and not paying enough for him to have said high quality content created to leverage for an outreach campaign, he's doing about all he can.
brucodetechnology
The above off page activities done by them are not bad if they are doing them manually and with proper manner. Also these are the basic SEO techniques mostly SEO experts used to get links. If you are looking for manual outreach and other advance techniques which include direct interaction with your customers or audience then you have to convey your team about your goals and requirements. You need to ask them to design an effective work plan according to it.

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richardsonjose
It completely depends on the niche, competition, and keywords of your website. It is simple to find with a quick analysis whether a lot of content available on the internet relating to website niche.
If yes, go with content strategy. In this case your right about a guest post, link roundups.
If no, what else you can do other than low-quality link. If they are doing it make it in bulk.
Contextual links are way better than bulk link building. You got forums, micro-blogs even at some points web 2.0 are some other option you get high juice.
metamorphykmindfuk
Your using up work. There is your only problem. Plenty of platforms to generate the type of link building your paying for and outreach should be included but if you're expecting content as well then that's about 1 link a month. There's ways around all this, it's to school up
JustinBilyj
Your company is doing what's called "Diversity Link Building." It's helpful and can help you rank against easy-medium keywords. QUALITY link building these days is guest posting (to sites that have good metrics and relative to your niche), broken link building, and resource link building.
Video can be a high quality link if the video is quality and targets keywords related to the post you are making. Some will want to put video in diversity link building, doesnt matter imo…
(Always run away from companies either promoting Private Blog Network (PBN)s or that are too lazy or dumb enough to make sure your QUALITY link building doesn't end up on one either)
vivek_seo
Before start reaching for link building you must first evaluate the website in terms of Domain Authority (DA), Page Authority (PA) and Spam score.
The manual reach out process is really very good to gain the backlink. Focus more on Guest Posting and influencer reach out.
Freelancermind
Great question. Most of the fake so-called SEO experts promise to improve your SEO but they actually ruin that by the time you actually get penalized by Google. Improving SEO through quality backlinking by doing guest posting on authority sites and by reaching out to influencers are the things that an SEO expert should focus on.
Founder79
Most link building campaigns are spam. Yours sounds like no exception to the rule.
A good rule of thumb would be to look at the placements yourself. Do they look like spam? If you think so, then so does Google.
As someone else said, spam link tactics can work temporarily so it's really worth it to spend some time reviewing the placements yourself to see where your links are ending up.
I also tend to agree with /u/pkenjora who stated that if you're not doing content, you have a spam SEO campaign. There is a way to do effective links, and I see almost no agencies doing that because it's hard and you have to have the right infrastructure set up to get first tier placements that are actually going to be valuable in 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, etc. If you even do guest posting and edu link building, how valuable are those going to be in 5 years when Google tightens up the requirements even more? Play the long ball with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Fewer very high quality links are better than lots of low quality links even if low quality links can give a short term rankings boost.
michaelhutton82
I would say that what your SEO is doing is not spammy as these link tactics can still be effective (even if the links themselves offer no link value, they can still bring in traffic which in turn will help SEO longer term). However, these tactics are the quick and easy way to build links, compared to the more in-depth outreach you are hoping for (which is obviously better, if time and budget allow). What kind of amount are you paying them? The quality of links achievable should be in direct correlation to the amount they are being paid.

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Sen7ineL
Here's the jist of it: Most of what you described is spammy link building. However, it could be usefull for short time gains. Because of the sophistication of search algorythms, such "tactics" should never be used while linking to your main domain. Instead, look into "tiered linkbuilding". Essentially, you create high quality backlinks (could be external reviews, sales copy or a link from a quality blog) to your main landing page. Then, you link to those articles with the second "tier" links (lesser quality blog posts, pdf links, etc.). They should still be good enough as to provide value for the user. Next, you create less quality but more quantity links, pointing to those posts. This can be extended as deep as you want. You will end up with a pyramid-like structure (I use excel to keep track of it), which will have as many "columns" as you like. If at one point an algorythm decides to derank one of the "columns" because of your spammy backlinks, your main domain will suffer minor loss in rank, if any at all. It has been one of the best strategies for several years and I have had good success with it. There is no magic formula, however, for good ranking. The best ranking is done by meaningfull, engaging content, which your target audience values. But because creating such content is expensive in a couple of ways, you should utilize every mean which works. Tiered linkbuilding allows you to do that, without risking to have your domain deranked.
dotcomer77
I would say so. I only do white hat. I have gained contributor status on a lot of high authority sites placing articles for my clients with backlinks. I don't mess with anything else and this has worked for them all. Time to find someone else. I can help if you would like.

throwawaymofo101
I'm sorry but posting articles and selling links from them on contributor sites is not white hat.

dotcomer77
Yes real articles with real backlinks on real sites is whitehat.
throwawaymofo101
no, you write the articles only for links and charging means you are selling links. you aren't white hat
dotcomer77
What are you talking about? When is the last time you hired a SEO company and they gave you links for free?
The difference between black hat SEO and white hat SEO has to do with the techniques used when trying to improve a website's search engine ranking.
Black hat SEO refers to techniques and strategies used to get higher search rankings, and breaking search engine rules. Black hat SEO focuses on only search engines and not so much a human audience. Black hat SEO is typically used by those who are looking for a quick return on their site, rather than a long-term investment on their site. Some techniques used in black hat SEO include: keyword stuffing, link farming, hidden texts and links, and blog content spamming. Consequences of black hat SEO can possibly result in your site being banned from a search engine and de-indexed as a penalization for using unethical techniques.
White hat SEO refers to the use of techniques and strategies that target a human audience opposed to a search engine. Techniques that are typically used in white hat SEO include using keywords, and keyword analysis, doing research, rewriting meta tags in order for them to be more relevant, backlinking, link building as well as writing content for human readers. Those who use white hat SEO expect to make a long-term investment on their website, as the results last a long time.
No where in that description does it say whitehat is not charging clients. I write articles without links all the time. If someone wants to pay me to put an article up related to their niche with a link, I do it. That's called business
throwawaymofo101
Sending a list of sites that people can pay for links from is black hat. I know what black hat and white hat is, you don't need to explain it to me.
You've been spamming Reddit now for months saying the same thing. Where is the proof that you've been ranking websites? You are full of shit and it's really annoying seeing you still posting on here.

bellagarcia2016
It's not fake but most of the stuff your SEO Expert is doing are no longer used in building quality backlinks. They say that we can still do link building even using the old techniques but make sure to evaluate the website first before posting your link. It's not bad after all, just see to it that the build links are not spammy.
If you don't have work agreement on the list of task he/she will provide you, then let him/her know what quality link building techniques you wanted him to do for your website. That's if you don't have any agreement.

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