There are some less than scrupulous SEO providers out there. We have noticed an increased level of hacking activity that is related to “Black Hat” SEO. For those of you with no experience with this term, the field of Search Engine Optimization has three types of practioners that modeled after wizards:
1) White Hat – We are a white hat SEO firm. Our activities to help develop page rank for our clients include the use of software to monitor and improve on site page quality, specifically Moz.com. We work on the technical aspects of the site’s pages. We work on the content of the site to improve it’s quality for ranking in its keyword target. And, we use good old PR tactics to do outreach to like-minded sites that might deem our content worthy of that all too elusive high quality link.
2) Gray Hat – Those more agressive in their efforts my try other, less accepted forms of link building. While they don’t tend to venture into things that are illegal and immoral, they may be trying things with your site that could get you “sandboxed” or worse “blacklisted”. They might be engaged in a number of SPAM related activities that seem to fill your comments box.
3) Black Hat – These folks are actively engaged in both unetheical and illegal activities. They are heavy spammers and they are often hackers. They will utilize malware and software and SPAM. They will hack your site (you may not even realize they are there until you see them show up in your codebase). And they will use it to add links to sites that you may or more likely DO NOT want associated with your site.
I write this a reminder, that just like your computer, you need to regularly back up your website. Know the systems that you are using, even if someone else manages your site. And be sure you know how to check on it. Most hacking instances are incredibly anoying at the least, but if you don’t have a clean back up of your site, it can be your worst nightmare.
And when it comes to hiring service providers, make sure you get references. Try to find a local web firm or advertising firm if possible or utilize the services of your webhost if you want to take a crack at it yourself.