The cause of the problem appeared to be latitude, the SEO company they employed, were paying for blog posts with links back to their clients sites. The quality of these posts was reported to be awful with the following snippet of a paid post:
“It needs insurance plans? That such to know Kwik-fit Insurance? There you it will be able to find one infinity of products and services that will become its more easy life. If you have a car,”
You would think GoCompare may want to tred a lightly after being Google slapped for questionable links. However yesterday I received the following email to one of my sites:
Hello. I`m Alex Jones, Website Manager at gocompare. com. We are one of the UK`s leading insurance comparison sites, with over 70 insurance companies on our panel.
We have an idea which I hope you will find useful – we originally found xxxxxx.co.uk by searching for terms related to home design but in fact we also have an expanding range of information and advice relating to motoring in general, together with household, buildings and content insurance. As such we are looking for good quality partners that have a motoring, automotive, general household or lifestyle theme.
We would like to have our editorial team research and hand write some content for you to add to a page on xxxxxx.co.uk. We will agree a subject with you that is relevant to both of our sites (it won`t be a sales pitch for us!) and will include a single simple text link back to a relevant content page on our site. The content will be uniquely written for you and will not be re-used elsewhere. It should be helpful to your visitors and of course the search engines, as will the presence of a relevant link back to us. Hopefully we will also benefit from the link in the longer term. We are not currently in the position of being able to exchange or return links so we thought this could be a good alternative.
Naturally there are no costs whatsoever for you.
If this isn`t appropriate for you, please accept my sincere apologies for having troubled you.
Hope to hear back.
Kind Regards – Alex Jones
Now I realise this is not exactly the same as pay per post and in theory I would get some good content for the sake of one link. Unfortunately Google does not see it like that, this would not be editorial link as I have not chosen to link out to GoCompare and therefore would break Google’s guidelines.
To make matters worse the web site they contacted was a web design company and absolutely nothing to do with "home design". I am assuming this is an automated email so I can understand how this can happen however GoCompare are quite a large company I am sure it can’t be that hard to employ some student to vet the domains they contact to make sure it is reasonably on topic?
If they can’t even email the correct niche then what will the quality of the article they proposed be like!?
I am not sure if GoCompare are with Latitude anymore but the email was from firstname.lastname@example.org which appears to belong to ContentNow.co.uk who offer link building via reciprocal links and Content-for-links and this company appears to be owned by UK Offer Media LimitedGoogle+