My sister has just hired a SEO company based in The Philippines to provide weekly content for her company blog. As I’m a bit more web savvy than she is, she asked me to look over their service outline just to be sure she made the right decision.
Problem is, this “Google optimized content” they are providing seems to consist of copying popular blog posts from other sites in the same industry (women’s health and beauty) and re-writing them in a slightly different way before publishing. I don’t know a lot about SEO, but I am sceptical that Google would approve it. Besides the SEO consideration, this tactic just doesn’t sit right with me.
Is this a legitimate SEO tactic or could it harm my sister’s site in any way?
You are absolutely right to be sceptical. By the sound of things, this *SEO* firm employs a technique called site scraping – where the content of other sites is copied or “scraped” and either republished unchanged on a different site, or re-written slightly and THEN republished.
Long term readers of this blog might recall my hilarious battle with site scrapers in the past and the revenge I took on them. I’ve got no problem outing site scrapers, especially when all attempts at communication have been ignored. Their tactics are not only unprofessional, but go directly against Google’s published Webmaster Guidelines.
Take BrainySEO for example. This “blog” (run by some clown called Mayank Jain in Singapore) blatantly scrapes the content of hundreds of blogs across the net, including mine. What’s hilarious is that the scraped content is run through some bizarre automated plagiarist thesaurus (I’m guessing Babel Fish) to translate it into a slightly different version of the same content as a way to avoid Google’s duplicate content filters. It is then published on servers based in the UK.
Compare these two posts:
1) My Fast Five post from week 39 (original)
2) BrainySEO’s scraped Babel Fish version (scraped)
The second (scraped) version reads like a drunk Aunty.
The service that your sister has signed up for sounds suspiciously similar. As Google re-iterates in their Quality Guidelines:
“Scraped content will not provide any added value to your users without additional useful services or content provided by your site; it may also constitute copyright infringement in some cases”.
Typically, Google and other engines will ignore or filter scraped content out of the search results for target search terms. But that’s not the only negative impact it can have.
Sites like ScamAudit.com provide a rudimentary way of measuring the trustworthiness of sites and suitably, BrainySEO is ranked as *seems suspicious*.
So my prediction is at best, the content your sister pays for will be worthless. At worst, it may impact the reputation of her business and the trust of her customers.
My advice is that she should sever the contract immediately, perhaps citing Google’s Quality Guidelines as her justification.
Let us know what happens!
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