BrightEdge Says Companies Risk Damage Due To Illegitimate Links

More than 1,000 Companies Asked for BrightEdge’s Free Brandsafe Link Audit And Hundreds Discovered Improper "Black Hat" Linking by Consultants, Agencies and Even Employees

SAN MATEO, Calif – March 10, 2011BrightEdge, the world’s first enterprise class SEO platform that helps brands rise above the increasing clutter on the Web, today released an analysis of the results of the BrandSafe Link Audits it conducted privately by request for more than 1,000 leading brands. The analysis indicates that improper “black hat” SEO tactics are much more widespread than most are aware. They could pose serious financial and reputational risk to hundreds of companies that are most likely unaware of the illegitimate SEO activities that are driving rankings for their brands.

More than 1,000 companies from around the world registered for BrightEdge’s free BrandSafe Link Audit last month. The company launched BrandSafe in the wake of a media whirlwind created by a media outlet’s investigative report on an illegitimate backlinks scheme in use by a major retailer for more than two years. When Google was alerted, the search engine took actions against the retailer that caused it to plummet in search results and lose a huge percentage of its organic traffic, even though the retailer claimed it had been unaware that it was benefiting from the scheme.

"Illegitimate backlinks pose serious risks to the finances and reputations of thousands of companies," said BrightEdge CEO Jim Yu. "If search engines detect these unscrupulous activities, thousands of companies risk losing their high search rankings for terms that drive critical revenue. Company executives need to take a hard, fast look at their SEO practices or run the risk of learning the hard way."

Apparently the damage that backlinks can have on a company is still unnoticed among senior management. BrightEdge said that only about 20 percent of officials requesting the audits reported they were VP level or above.

The vertical industries at highest risk were online services, including real estate sites and photo sharing services. Nearly one-third of these domains had backlinks that put them at risk of corrective action by search engines.