Another Negative SEO Campaign?

Another Negative SEO Campaign?
We at Direct Submit have been saying for some time that ‘negative SEO’ is being used by some companies to hurt another companies SEO campaign. We were told by many that Google had this covered and it wouldn’t happen! Really! well here is yet more proof this is happening.

Was Expedia targeted by ‘negative SEO’ campaign?
Expedia may have been hit by a “negative SEO” campaign that hammered the travel website’s rankings on Google searches, according to an analysis by the firm that uncovered the problems. Expedia’s website lost 25% of its visibility in Google search between Jan. 12 and 19, after Google clamped down on efforts to boost its online traffic through paid links from other sites, third-party search analytics firm Searchmetrics said on Monday.

Expedia shares fell on Tuesday on concern about the impact to its business and the stock was down again on Wednesday. Searchmetrics Founder Marcus Tober completed a deeper analysis of the episode on Wednesday and shared the data and his conclusions with USA TODAY.

The main take-away: The techniques used to increase Expedia’s search visibility were so clumsy and out-dated – and used in such high volume – that it would be very surprising if the company alone was responsible for the scheme.  Instead, Tober reckons there are three possible reasons for the scheme. First, Expedia may have used artificial link building techniques years ago and the company forgot that they did this and left the links on the web.

Or, some department within Expedia, or a third-party hired by the company, is still using these out-dated techniques, Tober said. Expedia is a big company, with many search engine optimization, or SEO, teams that work with different agencies, so it is possible that one one rogue department was responsible.

Lastly, an Expedia competitor built these links in the past, over a long time, to hurt Expedia, Tober said. This strategy, known as “negative SEO,” has become more common in recent years, he noted.

Dave McNamee, a spokesman for Expedia, declined to comment on Wednesday.

Whatever the reason, Expedia’s rankings in important travel-related search results have been hit hard. For example, in a Google search using the word “hotels” on Wednesday, Expedia’s website appeared no where on the first few pages of results. In the past, would have appeared in the number three spot on the first page, according to Tober.

The word “hotels” was used more than 15,000 times as an anchor text on many websites to create links back to Expedia’s main website, according to the Searchmetrics analysis shared with USA TODAY.

In one example – – a website about traveling in Vietnam was created and at the bottom of the page it says “Designed by the Expedia Hotels Team.” The word Hotels links to the hotel section of Expedia’s main website.

“This is very unusual and never done anymore in search,” Tober said. “This is completely obvious to Google’s search engine that these sites are made just for the links.”

In another example, a German-language blog – – was created. At the bottom, it says “Designed by the Expedia Cheapest Flights Team.” This time, the link is to the flights section of Expedia’s main website.

However, the font used for this links is white on a white background, so most visitors to the site would not see the words and the link. Tober uncovered it by highlighting the area with his computer’s cursor.

“I don’t know why Expedia did this. This is a technique that stopped about 10 years ago,” Tober said. This adds to his suspicion that the episode may have been caused by negative SEO.

“In the last year or two there has been a lot of movement within the black hat industry to use negative SEO to hurt rankings of companies with these kinds of techniques,” he added. “Hopefully Expedia will recover soon.”

Sooner or later, search engines including Google will have to admit this is an issue and somehow address the matter.


Fridge Sends Spam Emails!

Fridge Sends Spam Emails!
A fridge has been discovered sending out spam after a web attack managed to compromise smart gadgets. The fridge was one of more than 100,000 devices used to take part in the spam campaign.

Uncovered by security firm Proofpoint the attack compromised computers, home routers, media PCs and smart TV sets.

The attack is believed to be one of the first to exploit the lax security on devices that are part of the “internet of things”.

The spam attack took place between 23 December 2013 and 6 January this year, said Proofpoint in a statement. In total, it said, about 750,000 messages were sent as part of the junk mail campaign. The emails were routed through the compromised gadgets. About 25% of the messages seen by Proofpoint researchers did not pass through laptops, desktops or smartphones, it said.

Instead, the malware managed to get itself installed on other smart devices such as kitchen appliances, the home media systems on which people store copied DVDs and web-connected televisions.

Many of these gadgets have computer processors onboard and act as a self-contained web server to handle communication and other sophisticated functions.

Investigation by Proofpoint into the internet addresses involved in the attack revealed the presence of the smart gadgets, said David Knight, general manager of Proofpoint’s information security division.

“The results spoke for themselves when the addresses responded with explicit identification, including well-known, often graphically branded interfaces, file structures, and content,” he told the BBC.

Mr Knight speculated that the malware that allowed spam to be sent from these devices was able to install itself because many of the gadgets were poorly configured or used default passwords that left them exposed.

He said attacks such as this would become much more routine as homes and furnishings got smarter and were put online.

“Many of these devices are poorly protected at best and consumers have virtually no way to detect or fix infections when they do occur,” he added.

SEO Tips for Small Business

SEO Tips to Help Improve Rankings for Small Business
You might have a great website – but do enough people know about it? Do you have a website that doesn’t seem to contribute much to your business or are thinking of developing a new online business? Chances are that you’re looking for ways to promote your website, call us now and let us show you how to attract qualified visitors to your website. Well, how do you optimise your website to attract the traffic you want?

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the practice of improving the level of traffic of your website through the use of targeted keywords that are likely to be searched by customers searching for the products or services your business offers. Even if your website looks attractive and is beautifully designed, if it is not optimised properly then it will be unlikely to attract traffic and it is not going to help your business as much as it could without some basic SEO optimisation.

Your small business can do the following simple SEO techniques to improve its ranking on the search engines:

Determine your target audience & Key Phrase
This is the first step in your SEO campaign. Always identify the intended target audience of your website and select a keyword or key phrase that this audience will likely use to search for your products. Then set up page content based on this keyword or key phrase to ensure the page or website is ‘relevant’ to the targeted key phrase.

Produce unique content for your website constantly
Look to write unique and informative articles, blogs etc for your website.  Original and interesting content will be valued by your visitors and provide visitors with a reason to remain (and hopefully return) to your website.  This ‘valued content’ will help generate on-going interest in your website, helping increase the potential for a sale. Providing value to the visitor will result in a higher ‘ROI’ for your business via your website.

Have your business listed in Google Local Business Listing
This is a free feature offered by Google where you can create additional links so people can easily find your site, therefore your web traffic will be increased.  Signing up is easy and quick, you only need to provide your business name, address, contact information, etc. You also can get linked by listing with other online directories like Chamber of Commerce and local business directories.

 Arrange for Quality and Relevant links back to your website
Inbound links are considered very important in the SEO world, particularly by Google.  If you have decent quality and relevant links directed back to your website, your ranking on search engines will be enhanced.  Using directories, suppliers, social networks sites can offer a free and quick way to start with creating back links to your site. Note that some more ‘notable’ directories may require fee to generate a link. Do not use link farms or the like as these will probably be noticed by the Search Engines and get your website banned or penalised.

Promote your Website URL Offline
Always include your website address on stationary, on marketing materials and on company vehicles. This is a sure fire way to help achieve continuous promoting of the website address.

All businesses should explore and utilise their website to work well in the Search Engines. If your site is properly optimised for the search engines you can attract more traffic, your business can easily be found by potential clients, and you will hopefully achieve more sales for your business.

Hiring an SEO Company
Specialising in Internet Marketing Services, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay per Click (PPC) online marketing and over the past decade Direct Submit have built up a loyal client base. The depth and breadth of knowledge they have built up helps set them apart in an increasingly competitive and crowded SEO market place.

With in excess of 10 years of online marketing experience, they know which techniques work and are always researching new methods to stay one step ahead of the competition. To speak to one of the Direct Submit  Internet Marketing Consultants for advice on making your Web Marketing project a success, call us now on  0845 272 2350  or email us at


Pac Motor Company

Pac Motor Company
Direct Submit would like to welcome a new client, PAC Motor company, a North East company who supply high performance German cars to the general public. PAC Motor company have a reputation for supplying specialist cars to celebrities, they are now seeking to develop sales of their range of high performance German cars including BMW M5’s and Audi R8 vehicles. We will be working with them to increase the profile of the website and, potentially new business opportunities.

2014 – Looking to Promote your Website

Looking to Promote your Website
As we welcome in 2014, for many webmasters and businesses there comes the idea to look to drive additional targeted traffic to your website. As we have discovered over the many years we have worked in SEO, many companies have a great looking website but do enough people know about it? Do you have a website that doesn’t seem to contribute much to your business or are thinking of developing a new online business?

With millions of online searches taking place daily, it’s absolute essential for your business to be found by your clients when they’re searching for your products and service. Simply putting up a website will not likely bring you any new customers by itself. With millions of websites on the web, and more coming online every day, it’s crucial that your website is taking advantage of the most cutting edge search engine optimisation techniques and technology. By doing so, your clients will find you whenever they’re searching online for products or services you offer. There’s only ten spots available on page one and if they’re not finding you, then they’re finding your competitors.

Our web solutions are a highly cost effective way to market your company or brand to a wide audience. We continue to provide SEO services to a wide range of sectors.

Specialising in local Internet Marketing, our approach to effective Internet Marketing includes Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC) and additional online marketing tools used to gain the attention of potential customers and the search engines.

Call us now on 0845 272 2350 and let us show you how to attract qualified visitors to your website. Direct Submit Internet Marketing Services provide Internet Marketing Services for business and other organisations throughout the North East and the UK who are looking to make their website work for them.