The defendant, which offers SEO services to the legal industry in Michigan, USA is accused of knowingly violating the Google Webmaster Guidelines by engaging in unnatural link building practices.
Here are the details of the claim:
Expert analysis performed since the conclusion of the contract has shown that essentially no links were created for protectyourstudent.com and seikalystewart.com. Approximately 6720 links appear to have been created for Oaklandbusinesslawyers.com, but all the links with the exception of approximately 188 links, were worthless links built with link farming techniques and, in many cases, were not forwarding to the Plaintiff’s webpages at all.
In approximately April 2012, Google stepped up enforcement of its policies against link building schemes, in part through the implementation of new programs and algorithms collectively known as the “Penguin” update.
The Penguin update made it even less likely that the link building schemes being utilized by the Defendants and THE RAINMAKER INSTITUTE would be of any value to its clients.
Upon information and belief, it quickly became even more apparent to the Defendants that their schemes would have no positive effect and might have a detrimental effect on the webpages in domain names owned by the Victim Firms; however, Defendants continued to take money for their worthless services, without disclosing that it knew that the alleged services would be of no value.
I’m not a legal expert by any stretch of the imagination so aside from whether or not I think the claim will be successful or not, I honestly think it’s brilliant.
The problem with the SEO industry is two fold: Some SEO companies still holding on to a bygone era of link building and spam and some clients expecting these strategies to work. (although in this case it seems the client had no idea.)
Google could probably solve this by targeting the root of the problem: The SEO companies. It’s pretty easy to curate a list of SEO firms whom spam their way (and their clients way) to the top of the SERPS. Hitting them with over the top penalties (instant and permanent exclusion from search perhaps?) would deter many from contemplating in spam SEO tactics in the future.
Failing that, a few legal cases such as this may do the trick (as long as ironically, it’s not a huge stunt to actually earn natural links!).