‘White hat vigilantes’ threaten SEO audits of agencies

A group of white hat search engine optimisation experts (SEO) have banded together to take on fraudsters offering better results on Google and other search engines, warning “your days are numbered”.

Adam Jacobs has launched a “white hat” campaign against SEO fraud.

Melbourne-based digital content and marketing specialist Adam Jacobs launched a call out to businesses concerned about their SEO agencies on LinkedIn proclaiming that “Too many honest and hardworking people are getting ripped off by your shenanigans”.

Jacobs has teamed with Adaptis GmbH in Europe and other white hat SEO specialists to launch the campaign.

“I’ve spoken to some of my white hat search homies and we have decided to start auditing your SEO work for free!” Jacobs wrote in a Linkedin post that has since been widely shared.

“Dear business owners, if you would like someone to look at your SEO agencies work and let you know if it’s actually being done or know someone who would, then tag them in here or hit me up in the comments. I’ll even pull a report that you can use to get out of your contract if the work is crappy or non-existent.”

“I’m writing a case study about this, and so far the results are damning. This is gonna be fun!!!!”

Speaking Mumbrella, Jacobs said he was not interested in building a business, but simply wanted to expose some of the practices of the cowboy agencies working in the market and taking advantage of SMEs who didn’t understand what they were buying.

“I’m not saying it is the industry at all, there are some very good agencies out there,” Jacobs said.

“Small businesses are getting locked into long-term contracts – it’s a crap shoot.

“I get approached a lot to look at from people and asked to look at their work, but I don’t really do search purely any more. But I got approached about six weeks ago by a limo company  – a friend of a friend – and they had paid $50,000 for SEO and never had any work done. It could have been something that just slipped through the cracks, but I hear about this a lot. A lot.”

He said even major brands were finding spending huge amounts on keywords that were irrelevant to them.

Jacobs has set up a landing page for companies interested in having their SEO or agencies audited.

Jacobs’ post received dozens of replies from businesses saying they were being flooded with calls and emails claiming their SEO results could be boosted by signing up with agencies.

Jacobs was described as the “Liam Neeson” of SEO.

“Great post. So many frauds and no way to know till it’s too late,” one follower replied.

“SEO is the new ‘Dark Arts’ of commerce that is virtually unregulated and difficult to understand and follow via its own language and technical protocols :),” another noted.

“Glad someone is highlighting this. It makes me sick that so many people are being ripped off!!” another said.

The hunt for SEO fraudsters is being conducted with the hashtag #SEOvigilante.


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