Google Changes Its Mind About Money-Back SEO
Business makes strange bedfellows. Just in time for the FTC to approve Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick, and with it an SEO firm called Performics, the company has changed its tune a bit about how to deal with SEO companies.
For the longest time, Google advised webmasters to be wary of SEO companies, and put up this warning at the Webmaster Help Center:
"For your own safety, you should insist on a full and unconditional money-back guarantee. Don’t be afraid to request a refund if you’re unsatisfied for any reason, or if your SEO’s actions cause your domain to be removed from a search engine’s index."
Performics, it was pointed out by astute observers, didn’t offer such a guarantee. In light of that revelation (the blogosphere is crediting Matt Cutts with pushing the change), Google simplified the language and let itself off the hook a bit:
"Don’t be afraid to request a refund if you’re unsatisfied with your SEO’s performance. Make sure you have a contract in writing that includes pricing. The contract should also require the SEO to stay within the guidelines recommended by each search engine for site inclusion."
Google has said in the past that it has no intention of selling off Performics, but that could change too as more and more conflicts of interest emerge. It’s already awkward that Google will have to change some policy wording (with regard to not having relationships with SEOs or SEOs not speaking on behalf of Google) and that Performics sells links, but as Danny Sullivan notes in a Sphinn comment section, if Google keeps the company the two will have to watch either like hawks:
"Google’s going to have to worry about everything Performics does; Performics will have to be hypersensitive that they don’t somehow violate a Google guideline."