So yesterday I noticed some really nasty and well hidden copy with a number of embedded links at the bottom of the home page of my personal blog. If you look at the very bottom it may still be there but in case you have removed it recently – it stated the following:

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Needless to say this copy was nothing to do with me, and the very fact it is hidden right at the bottom and written in a similar colour to my background (obviously to avoid detection – see image and the dark blue link) was pretty clever but also extremely unprofessional and really pretty rude. Does the boss know you are doing this regularly?

essay writingAs a digital PR consultant I don’t really have much call for essay writing if I am honest but I can see why a link from my blog on social media and digital communications could pass on some authority and give your SEO a boost. I would be amazed if the owners of your company really did know this practice was taking place and would like to know who was responsible for hacking my site and placing it on here. Whoever it is you should be really proud of yourself as you now have your very own blog post all about the brand now too – hurray what a result the boss will be thrilled I am sure!

I know WordPress is pretty open to hackers but I have found this practice really, really odd and extremely unprofessional. I can’t believe there are still SEO practitioners out there hacking sites inserting fake links just to get their clients further up Google rankings. Let’s hope Google reads this post and penalise you for it.

If the company involved would like to contact me on here in the comments and let me know how I can remove their text that would be useful.

Finally, as a huge fan of all things digital and SEO I read a lot of blogs from experts in this area such as Cyrus Shephard and Danny Dover and obviously Matt Cutts I would like them to let me know what they think about this kind of practice? I can’t believe good quality SEO experts would.

Are black hat tactics like this still actually widespread and does this affect/ruin the reputation of good quality SEO practitioners like yourselves?

I suppose I am kind of asking if the SEO industry needs PR practitioners to manage their industries reputation? You guys need to get rid of poor SEO businesses that do things like this as its shameful behaviour. I have worked with some great SEO guys who really know their stuff and I thought things had moved on significantly in the last five years. I obviously know SEO is moving more towards my area of expertise like online PR but I can’t believe companies in the modern era still think they need to hack sites to rank properly. Surely, they realise they will get found out.

Here’s a crazy idea for you – why not write something interesting and build some real relationships with real people instead of filling the internet with utter crap packed with keywords and links to pointless junk that never gets read?

Let me know what you think of this practice in the comments.

About Chris Norton

Chris Norton is the founder of Prohibition and an award winning communications consultant with more than twenty years’ experience. He was a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and has had a varied PR career having worked both in-house and in a number of large consultancies. He is an Integrated PR and social media blogger and writes on a wide variety of blogs across a huge amount of topics from digital marketing, social media marketing right through to technology and crisis management.