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The Experiment (Part 1): Does Spammy SEO Actually Work?

WRITTEN by: Jerrod Swanton |
categories: SEO

Feb 2012


“I got an email promising that my website could get high organic rankings in a short time for $39.99. Does this work??”

At Upward Brand Interactions, we have this conversation almost daily. Here’s our answer: the only way that these (spammy) SEO companies could guarantee ranking success is by pointing a multitude (we’re talking thousands) of spammy backlinks from dirty, low-quality websites at your domain.

We of course advise you to never, ever enlist these (spammy) SEO companies to “help” your site.

The Consequences of Bad SEO

Google places a high value on backlinks, viewing them as “votes” that proclaim the relevance and authority of your site: more backlinks=higher authority of your site=higher rankings (not that simple, but you get the idea.)

It is very dangerous to try to “game” Google’s Algorithm with spammy backlinks, because if the GoogleBot can make the connection that you are trying to circumvent the system, Google will penalize you immediately.

“Sandboxing” or “Negative Fifty”

This is the first consequence of bad SEO: “sandboxing” involves dropping your site immediately to anywhere from Page 4 - Page 6, no matter how well you used to rank for your keywords. This is to punish you for perceived bad SEO practices and prevents you from being rewarded with high ranking while Google evaluates the authenticity of your SEO efforts. Nothing you do will help you get unburied, and your site will stay in the “sandbox” anywhere from 3 - 6 months.


If Google figures out that you are trying to “game” the system, they might just de-index your site, which is essentially SEO death. (De-indexing: taking your site out of the Google index, which means your site can no longer be found using the Google search engine.)

If your website is de-indexed, there is a grinding, lengthy re-inclusion process, which can be costly to your company since you are getting zero organic traffic from Google in the meantime.

The Procedure

Yes it’s risky, yes it’s dangerous, but can bad SEO actually work?? We’re going to find out.

Upward Brand Interactions purchased a domain that has great age (8 years) and no flags against it. (To avoid any connection with Oxiem, we can’t list the domain here, but comment below and we’ll send you a link. Over the course of this experiment, you should be able to figure out which domain we’re targeting, based on the keywords we’ll be trying to rank for.) We’re going to use all the terrible SEO practices that we’ve been advising against for years, and we can’t wait to see what happens.

We’re looking forward to learning from this experiment, and ultimately trying to kill our little domain. Stay tuned!

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