Shocking Behaviour from a Website

Today, I was asked the following question:

Gregor, we’re listed with ‘XYZ’ business directory but we don’t seem to be getting any enquiries through their website. Also, they have just increased their listing fee by over 70%.  

However, they claim that being listed on their website is giving us a great SEO benefit.  Can you check it out for us please?

fraud-scam

You probably know that the more links you have to your website, the better it is for your SEO.  So it’s entirely plausable that my client was benefitting by having a link or two from the business directory.

However, when I looked at the business directory website I could immediately tell that they were lying to my client. To the casual observer, it looked like there were a number of links from the directory to my client’s website but those links were in fact linking BACK into the directory before redirecting visitors to my client’s website.

How does this work?

A normal link looks like this:

http://www.targetwebsite.com

but in this case, it looked like this:

http://www.dodgybusinessdirectory.co.uk?redirect=www.targetwebsite.com

This is OK for the casual web browser, since they will be taken to the right website automatically. But to any search engine, it looks like the business directory is linking to itself and that there are NO links to my client’s website!

So not only did this business directory fail to send any traffic to my client, but it ALSO failed to provide any search engine benefit and then LIED about the fact!

Unsurprisingly I advised my client to cancel their account straight away!

Like the recent phishing scam on Twitter, there are many ways to be scammed or misled when it comes to the Internet. If you are concerned about who you are spending money with to help your online marketing then I would recommend seeking the advice of a respected search engine optimisation professional.  They will be able to identify any suspect behaviour regarding your website (such as no-follow links, redirects, nbad neighbourhoods etc) and advise the correct course of action.

Have you ever been lied to by a supplier or partner?  Share your experiences in the comments below!