Matt Cutts has uploaded a new video on how to 'rat out' your competitors who are using "black hat" SEO methods. The video was created in response to a question that reads:
"White hat search marketers read and follow Google Guidelines. What should they tell clients whose competitors use black hat techniques (such as using doorway pages) and whom continue to rank as a result of those techniques?"
In the video, Cutts explains how you can report your competitors to Google if you find that they're "breaking the rules," according to Google's Guidelines.
This video has some good points, but also makes me a bit nervous about how these spam reports might work on the back-end.
At first glance this sounds fine, but I could imagine there will always be a lot of legit sites that get screwed because of these reports. This can be used for Negative SEO.
He then goes on to explain that you can publicly out these sites on a public forum. While I realize this is all public knowledge, it seems to me that it can be used against good sites. Let's be realistic, even the most legit sites could be penalized if some lazy Google employee received a report that stated that the site was buying links and that employee decided not to do the proper research. Call me paranoid, but I don't fully trust these types of situations when you rely on another person to make or break your Business, just as I do not feel safe about trusting Google, as a company, to do the same.
One thing I would always advise is to be careful of whom you deal with if you're outsourcing your SEO work to be done by a firm or someone you found on a forum. As Cutts says:
“If someone is using a technique that is a gimmick or something that’s like the SEO fad of the day, that’s a little less likely to really work well a few years from now. So a lot of the times, you’ll see people just chasing after, ‘OK, I’m going to use guest books’, or iI’m going to use link wheels’ or whatever. And then they find, ‘Oh, that stopped working as well.’ And sometimes it’s because of broad algorithmic changes like Panda. Sometimes it’s because of specific web spam targeted algorithms.”
This is pretty much something that I've always been against, although I have even taught people on affiliit.com about these methods, as they can work for smaller sites, but they're not useful for larger, more authoritative websites.
One has to wonder if someone could buy links for a site and then rat that company out. How would Google be able to tell if it was that company or not? He's basically giving away a lot of ideas, in my opinion.
What are your thoughts?