Center City reputation manager Brand.com saw the tables turned when it faced a series of cyber-attacks last December and subsequently got penalized by Google, said CEO Mike Zammuto. Google removed the penalty late this summer, he said.
Google has penalized many websites by lowering their Google rankings if they believe a company is attempting to game the search engine, including, notably, Brooklyn’s Rap Genius. But Brand.com was not trying to game the search engine, according to Zammuto, rather the company came under “a series of cyber-attacks that included DDoS attacks and negative SEO,” he wrote. “Starting then a large scale, daily effort by an anonymous party to build spammy backlinks to Brand.com and other related websites.”
Here’s how the company responded to our inquiries about the penalty: “We built a team of highly trained and qualified individuals to begin the process of requesting the articles be taken down and add the sites to our disavowal list to demonstrate to Google that these links were built without our approval,” Zammuto said.
Some criticized how Brand.com tackled the problem, since they also went after “good” (non-spammy) links. (We first learned of the Google penalty when a Brand.com rep contacted Technical.ly asking us to remove links to Brand.com from Technical.ly story pages, a request we declined.) That’s an easier way for companies to tackle an SEO problem, according to an SEO expert we spoke with. Rather than picking and choosing all the spammy links, they go at it in bulk, the expert explained. Here’s another blogger’s take on the Brand.com penalization.
Brand.com also hired an SEO director named Chris Granwehr this summer.