The Found Agency : Black Listed by Google

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Lots of people have made hypothesis on what will be the next changes in the Google algorithm and how it will affect websites rankings.

A great example of this change is the massive drop of the australian search engine optimisation agency: The Found Agency.

Prior to those changes they use to rank first in Google Australia for the following keywords:
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Search Engine Marketing

Now they rank 48

The Found Agency has used a black hat link building strategy, which consisted in sponsoring a free web counter. For many years the counters have been added to various websites, mostly personal pages including gambling websites, porn websites and even refugee camps websites.
Having the counter for free, required to create a link to including an optimised anchor link such as search engine optimisation...
Thanks to this strategy they collected a vast number of links, which increased their PR and search engine ranking

However Google changes have totally turned the rules upside down. It seems that the weight of factors has totally changed. Poor quality links have less influence, worth than that a bad neighbouring can penalise your website...

feedback from the founders of Found Agency

More information on The Found Agency black hat practices from:
Oz Search Spam Cop



Unknown said...

Every succsesful SEO/SEM corp in the world would be using similiar 'grey hat' tactics.

You can't rank on page 1 for competitive keywords unless you do.

It's that simple.

all_seeing_eye said...

You know what, I was introduced to Tim and Zak at a conference recently and the thing that struck me immediately about them was their zest for the SEO/SEM industry. Zak was proud of the fact that he owns a large number of test/dummy URLs and that some of these had been banned by Google.

Why am I not disgusted by this revelation? I work in marketing and no-one that I've come across has ever admitted to getting a site banned or displayed the levels of ingenuity that Found have in testing SEO practices.

Ask yourself this, when you go into the next meeting with a so called 'search specialist' - how much do they really know? Do they know where the fine line between getting banned OR not exists? Did BMW know where that boundary was when their SEO activities came under critical scrutiny? No. Two people who do know, are Zak and Tim because they have pushed the boundaries - but importantly not with their client sites. This means they take the risk and their clients reap the benefits of their experimentation.

It makes perfect sense to me that Found with all their test sites configured at varying levels of SEO know exactly where the border lines are. Other so called specialists are just p!ssing in the wind, flying blind into potential oblivion and dragging their hapless but trusting clients along with them.

Personally I wouldn't have any qualms about using the Found Agency going forward, as their innovation and foresight in understanding how the industry truly works is refreshing in an industry populated with quacks who claim to know how to appease the almighty Google.

It seems to me that Found have amassed a wealth of hard won knowledge over the last three years, since the company was started. Their insight is (I believe) unique because of the methods they've adopted. I reckon there are far less scrupulous SEO companies in the industry carrying out black hat techniques (possibly on client sites) that haven't been uncovered. Found were (are) the tall poppy in this field and there are plenty of less accomplished players out there who'll now gladly be sharpening their knives in the frenzy that will follow.

I reckon Zak and Tim are experienced enough to ride this rollercoaster and will simply add any findings to their catalogue of SEO/SEM learnings – which can only be good for their clients..!!

Go the Found Agency, good luck to the pair of them.

Alban G. said...

Hi Guys,

First of all, I have nothing against Found Agency at all and totally respect the integrity of its founders. No doubt that they have great knowledge and skills in the SEO/SEM industry.
They ranked number 1 for a really competitive keyword, good on them and congratulation!

The only purpose of the post is to demonstrate with a practical example, that practices that used to be valid to rank high in Google are not anymore.
The idea is to find out what are the real factors in the Google Algorithm...

Therefore the real question is (and the results will demonstrate Found Agency real expertise):
Can they get back to the top position with Google friendly tactics?

They have all my support in this task and I wish them good luck!

By the way, thanks for your comments it is well appreciated

Alban G. said...

By the way, the comment from All_seeing_eye, is the same in every blog talking about Found Agency.... Nothing against it but it sounds very much like a PR strategy to manage the crisis....

check out the comment the Oz Search Spam Cop blog with exactly the same content ... Sounds dodg

all_seeing_eye said...

No I'm not working for the Found Agency. Do you believe in conspiracy theories OR are you just generally paranoid. There was (I think) a link between the two blogs, so I just posted on both in case other readers didn't pick up on this fact. Your observations do not change the validity of my comments, do they? Sleep tight.