Articles on the Internet

Trying to find decent articles about crystals, rocks and minerals online can be a real challenge because so much of what your read on some mainstream websites is repetitive, unoriginal and in many cases, not even factual.  I research extensively in preparation for the articles I write on crystals, rocks and minerals for Stone Mania and have been doing so for a very, very long time.  One thing that has become apparent over the years is that people love using other people’s work and having tweaked it slightly, truly believe they can pass it off as their own.  In many cases the information that’s been copied is not even factual which has led to an explosion of inaccurate articles being published online especially in relation to rocks, minerals and in particular gemstones.

If you want to be sure that something you’ve read online is accurate, cross reference the information with a respected website, we tend to use four or five but our two favourites are Wikipedia and Geology.com  Alternatively try to find an article that has been written by an expert in that subject matter but admittedly unlike mainstream websites, they can be a little more difficult to find and you usually stumble across them when you least expect to. Specialist discussion forums can also be an invaluable source of information and if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, you can always post a question.  Most forums have members with a vast amount of knowledge in a particular subject so it’s unlikely, certainly on the subject of crystals, rocks and minerals, not to be able to find the answer that you’re looking for or to get clarification on whether something is factual or not.

When Google first made it known that writing articles to post online contributed to search engine ranking, articles started popping up all over the place and whilst that certainly helped build the internet into what it is today, it also meant that a huge amount of copying was going on.  You could even pay someone to write an article for you but generally the end result was low quality, generic and repetitive and often it was blatantly obvious that its sole purpose was to improve search engine ranking.  I have to say that having had a few articles written for Stone Mania on crystals, rocks and minerals by different companies, they all turned out to be utter rubbish and were never used and I even refused to pay for them.

It’s really important to emphasize that there are some truly excellent articles to read on crystals, rocks and minerals but sadly, there’s also far too many that are really not worth reading at all.  Many unfortunately are works that have been copied and reproduced to make them appear to be original but having read exactly the same information so many times before, you don’t need to be Einstein to see that they’re really not original pieces of work.  The practice of stealing someone else’s material to use as your own is known as plagiarism and sadly, it’s rife across the internet.  Google has become wise to this in recent years and takes the problem very seriously but despite making various amendments to their algorithm, it’s not a problem that’s going to be easy to eradicate.

A few years ago if you put something into Google which related to crystals, rocks or minerals such as, “Turquoise comes from the French, pierre turquoise meaning turkish stone”, that exact line of text would appear in page after page of search results on hundreds of different websites.  We all have different ways of writing and expressing ourselves so it’s pretty unlikely that so many people would write a line of text in exactly the same way so it was clear the text was being taken from one source, only to be used in another. Thankfully this rarely happens nowadays not only because Google’s algorithm has changed so it searches in a completely different way but also because it has become wise to the issue of plagiarism and is trying to address the problem as best as it can.  That certainly doesn’t mean text is no longer being copied, it just means people are being much more careful.  It’s common knowledge that if you want a page that you publish to rank well, it must be original so significant changes are now being made to material that’s been plagiarized.  The problem with this however is that if not done carefully and by someone with a thorough knowledge of the subject matter, the article may end up having a completely different meaning and will likely also lose much of its accuracy.

There are more articles online about amethyst than I care to imagine which is great because it’s a fascinating and interesting gemstone to read about but unfortunately, some of what’s been written is not accurate and in some cases bears little or no truth at all.  Amethyst is the purple variety of the mineral quartz whose colour is caused by trace impurities of iron and manganese, this statement is factual and can be written or incorporated into an article in many different ways depending on who the author is.  If Google detects that it appears on multiple websites written verbatim and also finds additional text in the same article that is also repeated, it’s highly likely that the page will be penalized.  Facts are facts and Google recognizes that but it soon becomes clear when information is being copied, even if it has been changed.

Another example which demonstrates how inaccurate information can spread like wildfire relates to a myth that was written by French Poet Remy Belleau and published a year before his death in 1576:

“Bacchus (Roman name for Dionysus, Greek God of wine) was pursuing a maiden named Amethyste who refused his affections. Amethyste prayed to the gods to remain chaste, a prayer which the goddess Diana answered, transforming her into a white stone. Humbled by Amethyste’s desire to remain chaste, Bacchus poured wine over the stone as an offering, dyeing the crystals purple”

Although written in the 15th century, many articles online and even in a book that we have in our collection called ‘Guide to Gems’, state that it comes from Greek mythology which is not correct and furthermore, as the passage has continually been rewritten, it has changed considerably and in some cases is not even recognizable as the same text.  Several variations have also popped up and they too claim to be from Greek mythology.  This is one of the most popular:

“Dionysus had been insulted by a mortal and swore to slay the next who crossed his path creating fierce tigers to carry out his wrath. The mortal turned out to be a beautiful young woman named Amethystos who was on her way to pay tribute to Artemis (Goddess of virginity and protector of young girls). Her life was spared by Artemis who transformed the maiden into a statue of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal claws. Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The God’s tears subsequently stained the quartz purple.

Despite being a heart warming tale it is just that and is neither factual or a myth from Greek mythology.  The only reference to amethyst in historical text relates to a stone that was given to Dionysus by the titan Rhea in order to preserve the wine-drinker’s sanity.

The original myth as written by Remy Belleau is quite difficult to find and what people who want to use it as part of their article on amethyst don’t understand, is that they should be quoting it as historical text using citations instead of trying to reword it to try and keep it unique for the benefit of Google. As a result there are hundreds of versions online many of which lack accuracy and with regards to the longer version, not only does it bear no historical value, but there’s little or no proof of where it even came from.

Historical text should always be quoted instead of being rewritten and citations used to show readers that it has come from another source.  Citations should also be used whenever something is quoted, paraphrased, if you use an idea that has come from someone else and when a reference is made to someone else’s work.  They should even be put in place when something has been used to develop your own ideas.  The purpose of a “citation” is to make it clear to the reader that something has come from another source and it also enables them to refer to that work should they wish to.  Using citations in an article is completely acceptable and not considered by Google to be plagiarism nor does it detract from the originality of the article.

Some of the worse culprits of plagiarism are people who manage an online business because its success is largely reliant on Google.  In order for potential customers to find a website, it must rank well so articles are often churned out on a regular basis and lengthy descriptions written adjacent to products being offered for sale both of which help improve search engine ranking.

The purpose of this article is to highlight that not everything that’s published online is accurate and especially with regards to crystals, rocks and minerals.  A large amount of what’s available to read has simply been written with the sole purpose of increasing search engine ranking and not everyone goes to the lengths required to ensure that what they are writing is factual or accurate.  In many cases articles are written hastily or by someone with little or no knowledge of the subject matter hence the minimum amount of research is done in order to find suitable and adequate material to use.

From the perspective of an online business and someone with plenty of experience writing articles to publish online, I would recommend that citations be used where relevant and if ever you’re not sure whether something is factual or not, make that very clear in your article.  Sometimes it is difficult to confirm whether something is true and that’s fine but never take it for granted that it is without having hard evidence to back it up.  If in doubt leave it out or make it clear that you’re not able to find evidence to support what you have said, it’s better to be truthful than to put your name to something that’s simply not true.   Remember that once an article has been published online it’s likely to be around for a very, very long time and what may initially seem like a well written and original article, may over time begin to have a negative impact on the page or website that you’re trying to promote.

Warrior Forum Protects SEO Scammer

Although I have never been one to post in forums or contribute to threads, I do enjoy reading them and believe they’re a great way to gain knowledge and to see different people’s point of view.  As the owner of Stone Mania, an online business who deals in crystals, rocks and minerals, I have always been particularly interested in threads which relate to SEO. Search engine optimization is extremely important for any website to succeed and although there are plenty of legitimate companies out there ready to help you to achieve decent rankings the right way, there are also plenty of scammers of which SEO Juice owned by Dave Adamson is one.

I have a pretty good knowledge of SEO having been working with it for over fifteen years but I don’t always have as much time as I’d like to invest in my promoting my website. With Google continuously modifying its algorithm it’s important to stay on top of things and to do that, a significant amount of time needs to be invested in any online business.  Google is not stupid and there’s no short cuts to a page one ranking, if you want to be in that privileged position, you have to put the work in and slowly you’ll start to see the results.  It’s also vital that only ‘white hat’ SEO techniques are used and these are techniques which are recognized and approved by the search engines, ‘black hat’ techniques on the other hand go against all of their rules, policies and guidelines.  These prohibited and very aggressive strategies will undoubtedly result in your website tumbling like a rock before finally being banned and you can rest assured that before long, your online business will begin to fail.

Writing quality articles and building strong and relevant links to promote your website is part of what good white hat SEO involves but this can be extremely time consuming.  As a result many of us look towards SEO companies for help and this is where things can become more complicated.  Although there are many legitimate SEO companies out there, there are also many like SEO Juice who will all too readily use black hat techniques whilst telling you they’re doing exactly the opposite.  You would have thought that a well established forum such as the Warrior Forum, would certainly not want any such company using their space to attract unsuspecting customers, but in fact this couldn’t be further from the truth.

One of the oldest rules in SEO is avoid companies at all costs who make guarantees of page one ranking as Google is far to clever to allow anyone to get the upper hand by taking short cuts.  Every online business wants to be on page one of Google for its most relevant keywords so if a company could guarantee that, we’d all be using them!  Having said that, even those of us who are very well aware of this sometimes get caught out.

I first came across Dave Adamson of SEO Juice in his Warrior forum thread in which he made these very guarantees.

 

Originally posted 19th May 2011

Originally posted 19th May 2011

 

The advert which was first posted on 19th May 2011 made many promises and guarantees which immediately made me very wary so I didn’t use his company on this occasion and went elsewhere.  Sadly after a few months, I wasn’t satisfied with the company I had chosen so started looking once again and soon came across a second thread posted by Dave Adamson in the Warrior forum dated 4th July 2012.  The actual promotional part of the thread was exactly the same as the first one I’d seen and again repeatedly made guarantees that SEO Juice would achieve top five ranking for at least one of your keywords or your money back.

 

Guarantees from SEO Juice

Guarantees from SEO Juice

Despite being wary, I really wanted my business to improve in ranking so read both threads in full and Googled SEO Juice to see what else I could find out about the company.  Many questions had been posted on the thread in the Warrior Forum and Dave answered them all courteously and in a timely manner.

 

4July12 work for free

 

Finally I decided to give them a go thinking if nothing came of it, I could always move on and look elsewhere so I didn’t think I had anything to lose but little did I know!

Not being a member of the Warrior forum at the time and not wanting to join solely for the purpose of getting in touch with Dave Adamson at SEO Juice, I emailed him directly through his own website and after a friendly exchange of emails, I signed up to one of their plans.  After six months of being with them I saw absolutely NO improvement at all in ranking or traffic to my website despite them working on just six keywords all of which were not particularly competitive.  In fact traffic and ranking both fell dramatically month after month and despite contacting Dave regularly to voice my concerns, he used every excuse in the book from my website not being on a suitable platform, the site was written using ‘sluggish code’, website response speed was slow, my keywords were too broad etc, etc.

When I finally started talking about terminating my agreement with him he didn’t show any interest at all in continuing to work with me nor did he offer me any money back.  Having instructed another SEO company to take over from him, I quickly began to discover how much damage he had caused over the last six months to my online business.  He had been farming work out to India and they had been using all kinds of black hat SEO techniques including building spammy links back to my site and taking various snippets of text from my home page and pasting them randomly in hundreds of different forums.  They’d also been building one sentence links which made little or no sense at all and linked them back to my website using the agreed keywords.  All of this was the reason Stone Mania was plummeting down Google’s rankings yet each time I asked Dave why the site wasn’t doing well, he came up with another bare faced lie.

Armed with this new information I contacted Dave Adamson at SEO Juice and he absolutely denied everything and kept repeating that all work that had been done on my website was white hat SEO.  When I sent him the URL’s that he had sent me each month in my monthly report which clearly showed that hundreds and hundreds of spammy links had been built, he changed his tune and offered to refund part of my money although he claimed it was the full amount that I had paid.  He also asked that I not write any bad reviews on his company and the settlement would bring the matter to a close.  As I continued to push  for the full $2,628 that I had paid over six months, he became increasingly irate and asked that I stop harassing him.  Quickly realizing that this wasn’t going to get me anywhere, I signed up to the Warrior Forum and started posting on SEO Juice’s own threads giving my opinions of his services but these were all quickly deleted by forum moderators.

Original Review

 

Initially thinking my comments may have been deleted because they linked to my own blog  which is where I had written in greater detail about my experience with SEO Juice, I re submitted my comments without links but all were quickly deleted yet again.  Dave Adamson continued to accuse me of harassing him and even after I spoke to one of the moderators of the forum and offered to send him emails of the communication which took place between the two of us to confirm I was telling the truth, he still wasn’t interested and continued to allow SEO Juice to post in the forum and I was barred.  I also advised him that I had found two phony reviews written about SEO Juice by their own Operations Manager, Ally Church but he claimed they could have been written as she claimed, before she worked for the company.  No matter what I did to try and highlight that Dave Adamson was a liar and a cheat who is prepared to do whatever it takes to get business, from Warrior forum members, my complaint fell on deaf ears.

Personally I suspect that SEO Juice pays decent money to the Warrior forum in order to be able to post such adverts and as a result, they don’t wan’t to lose them as clients even if that is at the expense of people who use their forum.   It’s blatantly obvious that everything that Dave Adamson is doing to attract business, points towards him being an SEO scammer and the catastrophic results and subsequent penalty notice that I received from Google relating to SEO on my website, further confirm this.

If you still aren’t completely convinced that SEO Juice are a company to avoid, you can see all of the email communication that was exchanged between Dave Adamson and myself right here

There are several posts in my blog which go into great depth about what exactly took place during the seven month period that I used this company.  I would strongly recommend that if you are considering paying to have SEO carried out on your website, you read the emails very carefully and then decide whether SEO Juice run by Dave Adamson is a company you would trust with your online business.

The Communication: Dave Adamson of SEO Juice & Stone Mania

The Communication: Dave Adamson of SEO Juice & Stone Mania

Here I have published the email communication between Dave Adamson of SEO Juice and myself regarding the ongoing dispute over SEO that he did for Stone Mania on our website.

SEO Juice is a company who should be avoided at all costs if you value your online business.

Ethical SEO and a Company to Avoid

Stone Mania is a UK based company who sells crystals, rocks, minerals and ladies gemstone pendants online.  Our business is extremely competitive especially the jewellery side because there are thousands of websites which sell jewellery so to be successful, it’s important to have a presence on page one of Google for the search terms which are most relevant to the type of jewellery that you sell.  The best way to achieve this is to use specific keywords in well written articles and include quality backlinks to your website.

When we search Google using keywords, it scours millions of pages looking for the most relevant results so if for example you’re looking for a gemstone pendant and use these words in your search, Google will return pages or websites that it feels are of the highest quality and these will appear towards the top of page one.  A quality website is one which contains strong, relevant and well written information, one that has links pointing to it from other quality websites, it should be well built, operate efficiently and most importantly be designed using ‘white hat’ SEO techniques.  SEO or search engine optimization is the practice of promoting a website for the purpose of increasing search engine ranking and this must be done in an ethical way and with the additional aim of improving the overall quality of the website and experience for those who visit it or in other words, using ‘white hat’ techniques.  Trying to cheat your way to the top by doing things in an underhanded manner in order to attract the attention of search engines solely for the purpose of increasing ranking, is not acceptable and these practices are known as ‘black hat’ techniques.

When a website is identified as using black hat SEO, it will be penalized and possibly even banned completely.  Black hat SEO is an absolute no go area for any online business who wants to do well in search engine rankings.  Putting together a few random words to form a sentence and then pasting it over and over again in hundreds of different forums all over the internet and linking it through a specific keyword back to the website that you’re trying to promote is a perfect example and it’s sure to get the website penalized or banned completely.  Genuine articles on the other hand which are well written, interesting and feature a few relevant keywords and that include a well placed backlink will attract the search engines attention in a positive way and you’ll be rewarded with an increased volume of traffic being driven to your website.

Whilst there are many companies out there which offer a great service to help you to achieve excellent search engine ranking, SEO Juice owned by Dave Adamson is certainly not one of them.  Looking for a company to work with can be an absolute minefield and when you search for SEO in Google, it’s difficult to know which companies are genuinely going to be able to help and which ones are just looking to cheat you whilst taking your money.  Sadly I was taken in by SEO Juice and Dave Adamson’s friendly approach but the damage that he caused to my online business in just six months, was quite shocking.  Whilst you may think that if you don’t see the results that you’re expecting within a few months you’ll just move on, things are not always quite as simple as that.  If you don’t see any improvement after three months, you should absolutely start looking elsewhere but by that time the company you’re working with may well have caused your website a great deal of damage by using ‘black hat’ SEO techniques and that’s exactly what SEO Juice was doing with Stone Mania.

 

A screenshot of the promo posted in the Warrior Forum by SEO Juice

Stone Mania has been selling crystals, rocks, minerals and ladies gemstone pendants online since 2002 and we’ve always done most of our SEO ourselves and so have a pretty good understanding of how things work.  We have always followed Google’s guidelines with respect to white hat SEO and in return, our website has done pretty well in search engine rankings.  We have used a few SEO companies to help us along the way but had not used anyone for a few years so wanted to find a company who could once again give our website a boost. Whilst reading a thread in the Warrior Forum, a company called SEO Juice owned and run by Dave Adamson in Sydney, Australia caught our eye and although we were initially very wary because of their claims of “guaranteed page one ranking”, after reading the many positive comments posted in the thread we decided to give them a go.  Despite speaking to Dave every few weeks to complain that we were not seeing any results from his work, nothing changed and after six months our Google ranking and the volume of traffic to our website had plummeted.

Having terminated our contract with SEO Juice and instructed another company, we began to see why our website had been doing so badly and it was all down to the black hat SEO techniques that they had been using.  He had farmed the work on the Stone Mania website out to India and because of the low quality spammy links that were being built, we had been penalized by the search engines.  When we started with SEO Juice, our main keywords were all within the first ten pages of Google but after six months, five out of six were outside of the top one hundred and the sixth was on page eighty!

An example of black hat SEO techniques can be seen in the image below.  The keyword jewellery online is one of our keywords and it links back to our website.  These kind of links were posted by the hundreds in every type of forum imaginable right across the internet.  Having been picked up by Google, stonemania.co.uk fell like a brick through the rankings.  All of our credibility online had been lost and everything that we had worked for in relation to SEO over the last ten years had been erased in just six months.

One of many links created by SEO juice. URL was sent to us in our monthly report

One of many links created by SEO juice.  This URL was sent to us in our monthly report

 

Since terminating our agreement with this SEO Juice, we haven’t received a penny back from them, they never worked for free for us and certainly never offered to keep working with us until we received our desired results.  In fact in the last email I received from Dave Adamson, he sympathized with the disappointing results and wished me all the best for the future.

Phony Guarantees from the promo of SEO Juice posted in the Warrior Forum

Phony Guarantees from the promo of SEO Juice posted in the Warrior Forum

What is even more frustrating is that I submitted a number of replies in the Warrior Forum to Dave Adamson’s various threads detailing my experience with his company so that others wouldn’t fall victim in the same way I had but my comments were continuously deleted by the moderators as they were seen to be inappropriate.  In fact SEO Juice has continued to post their promotional ads in various forums and when I comment on the threads, they are almost always deleted by the moderator.  So audacious is SEO Juice that their so called “Operations Manager” Ally Church wrote a sparkling review of the company that she was employed by and not only did she post it as a ‘customer’ in the Warrior Forum but Dave Adamson even featured it in his promotion.

Review written by Ally Church, Operations Manager at SEO Juice

Review written by Ally Church, Operations Manager at SEO Juice

One of my monthly reports from SEO Juice

One of my monthly reports from SEO Juice sent to me by Ally Church | Operations Manager

 

With regards to the review which was written by Ally, Dave Adamson states:

RE: Review written by Ally Church

As you’ll see from the screenshot above, the ‘review’ was posted on the the Warrior Forum on 24th January 2011 and in it Ally states that she signed up with SEO Juice in November so that must have been November 2010 yet Dave’s company SEO Juice was only formed in January 2011.  This is just one of many lies that Dave Adamson tells in order to save his skin.

So in the months since parting company with SEO Juice, we have spent a great deal of time and money removing the hundreds of damaging links that they built in order to rebuild the reputation of our website.

Trading online is already competitive enough without being knocked back by a cowboy company such as SEO Juice.  I only hope that anyone who is considering using Dave Adamson’s company who I can only describe as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, finds our reviews of their services first.

A screensot from SEOJuice.net

Rip Off Companies Online

In this article regarding the Australian based company called SEO Juice run by Dave Adamson who I used to promote my website Stone Mania, I am going to expose the lies which they make in their advert which can be seen on their own thread in the Warrior forum.  Sadly there are many companies like them who promote themselves through the internet and it’s frightening to think that no matter how careful you are, you can still fall victim to cowboys like these.

SEO Juice (seo juice . net) regularly posts in the Warrior Forum promoting their SEO services and it had often caught my attention.  Although initially very wary of the guarantees they make, I decided after speaking with Dave Adamson through his own website to give them a go.  The time that I spent with them as a customer resulted in my website losing all credibility in the eyes of Google and other search engines and they almost lost me my online business completely.  Having spent over ten years building Stone Mania’s website into a trustworthy, secure and reputable online business which sells crystals, rocks, minerals and ladies gemstone pendants, it was brought completely to its knees by this company in just six months.

The original posting in the thread that lead me to use SEO Juice has been updated in recent weeks although Dave does not state this and the only giveaway is that the Google updates that he mentions had not even been released at that time the article was originally posted.  However the basic promises and guarantees that Dave Adamson of SEO Juice makes, remain exactly the same but be warned, these are false and should not be believed.  I have used excerpts from his emails to me in response to my complaint about his work to prove this.

The updated posting can be seen by pasting this link into your browser:  http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-special-offers-forum/383681-seojuice-ranking-through-panda-penguin-hummingbird-jump-now-free-trial.html

 

 

The Original Posting

Screenshot of the original posting

Above is a screenshot of the original post which has since been used again in a different forum.  In the screenshots below you’ll also see other parts of the original posting from the Warrior forum. Although this has now changed, the original thread remains very active.

12

11

14 15 16 10 13

One of the first points in the updated post on the Warrior forum, it is stated that all content is written by native English writers which is not true.  Whilst promoting my company for six months, well over two hundred comments were posted in various discussion forums which linked back to my website using the keywords that had been agreed.  None of these were quality links nor were they written by people who could string a sentence together in English.

Original posting recently updated

Original posting recently updated

3

 Below are just three examples the links using my keywords which were sent to me by Dave Adamson in my monthly report.  Sadly I never checked each and every link that was built for me at the time.

5 4 3 Forum Posting 1

These are the so called high quality links that are promised by SEO Juice, in fact they’re nothing more than low quality, rubbish, black hat spammy links, a perfect recipe to get you penalized by Google which is exactly what happened to my website.  The other thing that SEO Juice did was to copy a snippet of text from the home page of the Stone Mania website and paste it hundreds and hundreds of times into more discussion forums.  Once again all the links to these threads were sent to me in my monthly report but I never went through each one to check it.

Excerpt from Stone Mania homepage

This caused furhter problems as Google hates duplicate content and has issued updates to tackle it hence traffic to my site quickly started to fall.  Despite complaining to Dave Adamson regularly about the fall in traffic and business, he assured me he was doing everything that could be done to promote my website and stated on many occasions that he could find no reason for the drop in traffic.  The comments from his emails can be seen in my previous post.

So back to the promotional post in the Warrior Forum.  Below is another screen shot of what they promise but the this is yet another lie.  After six months of working with SEO Juice and my website almost falling out of the top 100 of Google listings for all of my keywords, Dave Adamson admitted defeat and his response to my email can also be seen below.

Guarantees from SEO Juice

Guarantees from SEO Juice

Response from Dave Adamson

Response from Dave Adamson

I certainly wasn’t offered any refund on the $2000 that I had paid for their services and in fact when I queried this was told that I wasn’t eligible as I hadn’t signed up through the Warrior Forum.  In fact, what I had done is click on the link in the forum posting which took me directly to his website and from there, I emailed Dave directly to set up the original agreement.  I have never received one single penny back for the work they did on my website.  

What he did point out to me in one of his replies was his Terms & Conditions and in that they state:

2a

Interestingly since updating his promotional ad in this thread, his prices have increased as have the reduced prices that he is offering and the packages themselves have also changed.  He continues to offer guarantees of page one ranking!  Furthermore in the customer reviews lower down the page, the one submitted by Ally Church who is the Operations Manager at SEO Juice has now been removed.  Her review can be seen in my  previous post.

In Dave’s most recent response to an enquiry, he once again confirms that his company can achieve wonderful things.  My experience with him was catastrophic for my online business and Google rankings and I would warn anyone looking for an SEO company to avoid SEO Juice at ALL costs.

I’m very pleased to say that Stone Mania is in a much better position once again on Google and myself and the team can now get back to doing what we love most, which is selling beautiful crystals, rocks and minerals!

4

I posted a comment in response to the above

SEO Juice Australia

Continuing from my previous article about the damage that a search engine optimization company can cause to your online business, in this posting I’ll demonstrate how SEO Juice based in West Sydney Australia did just that and brought my online gemstone jewellery business to its knees.  I hope anyone out there who’s looking to promote their website so that its ranking in Google improves, reads this article carefully and doesn’t get stung in the way that I was despite being extremely knowledgeable in this field.

I initially came across SEO Juice (seo juice . net) in September 2012 whilst reading a forum in the hope of finding a company who could promote the visibility of my website online.  Ranking well in Google is vital if you want to become successful as an online trader and it’s something that I’ve worked extremely hard for during the ten years that I’ve had my gemstone jewellery business Stone Mania.  Although I’m definitely no expert even after all this time, I do have a pretty good knowledge about what it entails.  I’ve also used several SEO companies over the last few years and am well aware that not all can be trusted with achieving good results so you need to be very careful who you choose.  Having read their extremely long posting in which they made all sorts of promises and guarantees, I initially decided not to use them as companies like this should always be treated with caution as nobody really knows exactly what it is that Google looks for in order to achieve top place ranking hence such guarantees are extremely difficult to fulfill and even more so for the relatively low fee that this company was asking.

Screen Shot from SEO Juice's website

Screenshot of one of the rotating banners at SEO Juice . net

Having found an alternative company, I quickly became concerned over some of their work because although they were achieving pretty good results, they were not native English speakers hence some of the articles they were posting online to promote Stone Mania were written in poor English and I felt this may go against me so ceased using them and started looking around once again.  By chance, SEO Juice were then recommended to me by a reputable source and this time I decided to give them go but sadly, that would be a decision I would live to regret.  Having contacted them through their website seojuice . net, I soon received a reply from Dave Adamson, the owner and operator of the company.  Having advised him of the reason for me leaving the previous company, he replied and I quote from his email:

I am sure we can help you when the time comes that you need to switch to an English speaking and writing firm.  The main thing that troubles me with non-English SEO firms is that SEO requires a lot of content generation, it is not enough to simply put links out there, these links need to be backed by and often incorporating topic related content. If results are achieved without doing this properly it just isn’t a good foundation for your SEO because when the search algorithms catch on to the websites with poor grammar and little traffic the links are diluted and thus your rankings could slip.

He agreed the Small Biz package at $350 (US dollars) per month would be the best choice and I subsequently signed up.  Little did I know at the time that had I signed up through the link on the Warrior forum, it would have been significantly cheaper.

Screenshot taken from Warrior Forum ad'

Screenshot taken from Warrior Forum ad’

After almost three months I started to become concerned when I did not see any significant improvements in my ranking despite this usually being the time frame that improvements start to become noticeable.  Once again I emailed Dave and received the following reply:

Regarding the 3 month projection, that is a globally recognised time frame to judge how an SEO campaign is progressing.  Traffic and rankings typically start improving from the 2nd month onwards but in some cases this will vary depending on a number of factors out of our control.  From what I can see so far in your rankings some keywords have moved up and some down, so we are yet to see a strong and consistent rise in your rankings.  As I can see that our links are now being picked up by the search engines and indexed I would anticipate that you will start to see some strong improvements over the next couple of weeks at the most.

Satisfied with his reply, I sat back and waited in anticipation for the following month’s report but when it arrived, I was once again shocked to see that out of the six keywords that were being promoted, one had climbed very slightly and the other four had fallen yet again.  Upon sending another email expressing my disappointment, he replied with the following:

That is a good sign that traffic flow has steadied out a little, however the fact that the rankings have not made significant improvements over the last few months is a little disappointing so I understand where you’re coming from.  The good thing is that all the links are permenant and will continue to build upon the new links we are creating to grow the link popularity and quality of Stone Mania, which in turn will improve rankings, traffic, and sales over the next few months.  Sometimes it can take some time for the search engines to make significant progress on rankings, we will be monitoring the movements closely this month as I anticipate things are set to skyrocket anytime now. If the results have not improved significantly this month we will provide additional links to give the site a boost in the search engines.

Normally by this time I would have left and found an alternate company but as I had been well recommended, I decided to stick with it and trust what I was being told.  I’m far from naive in this field and was already very worried but decided to hold out for a few more months.  April’s report was just as disappointing with Gemstone Jewellery slipping down yet again, two other keywords remaining unchanged and three moving up by just one place.  It was time for a stronger email and below is what I wrote:

I have given you access to my Google analytics account which you should be able to access through your own Google Analytics log in.  My reason for doing this is because I’d like you to look at the impact that the your SEO work has had on my website.  If you set the date span to start at the 15th December and finish at the end of March, you’ll see that bounce rate, time spent on site and overall traffic has remained relatively unchanged during this time period.  Although I’ve mentioned this a few times now, I am now beginning to get rather concerned as all the SEO companies with whom I’ve worked with in the past have been able to show results after three months and on the 15th April, you would have been working for me for four months and still there is virtually no improvement at all let alone any significant changes.

Five days later, I received the following which was part of a longer response:

Sorry for the late response, I wanted to review your progress thoroughly before responding.  After reviewing your Google analytics I can see the rather steady traffic flow with not too much improvement so I am definitely keen to improve this for you before June.  What we will do to boost your rankings throughout April is create an additional layer of backlinks for you which should create some potency in the search engines and have you getting first page rankings for the majority of your keywords by June.

SEO Juice had so far not had any success at all in promoting any of the six keywords that we had both agreed on and Gemstone Jewellery had always been in the top ten listings for as long as Stone Mania had been online, yet it too continued to slip down the rankings.  Dave suggested this was down to the nature of my keywords and said he wanted to promote a range of different keywords which in his words ‘should rank quite quickly and hopefully give you a significant boost in traffic within the next month or so.’  Needless to say, they did neither!

In mid April I received my monthly report from Ally Church, Operations Manager at SEOJuice . net.  This was interesting because after I stopped using the company and referred back to their posting in the Warrior forum, I found a sparkling review which highly praised the company.  I think the article and the author speak for themselves.  I’m very pleased to see that since reporting this post, the author has been banned.

Screen Shot from Warrior Forum

In the next email to Dave in which I yet again complain that there has still been no significant improvement in ranking for Stone Mania on Google, he replied:

You may have heard about Googles next major update “Penguin 2.0” which is just around the corner. I am very excited to see the results from this on your campaign as we have been travelling in the same direction as Google in terms of link quality for some time now.

In reply to yet another concerned email, he stated:

I can see the drop for “gemstone jewellery” which seems quite concerning, as well as a few other drops so I can definitely understand your concern.

He then started to blame the poor results on the platform that my website runs on which is not only one of the largest but it also hosts hundreds of thousands of eCommerce sites all around the world.  The platform which he subsequently recommended I change to is totally unsuitable for any eCommerce site:

I honestly think that in order to save your online business the last straw would be to convert your website to…………This will dramatically improve loading speed, the ease of the search engine bots to crawl the website, plus many more benefits.  Another idea is if we move your budget from the consistent monthly backlinks to a higher level of content concentration for just a month or two we should see some decent improvements which could potentially save your online business.

By this time my patience was running very thin and I was already looking for someone else.  When my search engine ranking report for June arrived, Gemstone Jewellery was sitting in 48th place (it was in second when I first went to SEO juice) and Gemstone Rings was at 69.  This was after six months work.  At the beginning of August I advised Dave Adamson that I no longer wanted to do business with his company to which he replied:

Although it is disapointing, I definitely see your point of view in terminating the SEO plan due to the results just not picking up despite our efforts and extra work.

In my next posting I’ll detail the guarantees this company make and what they claim they’ll do to keep your business.

Thankfully my gemstone jewellery business Stone Mania is slowly recovering from the immense damage this company caused and it is my intention to try and warn others to stay very well clear of them.

Dangerous SEO

Stone Mania is a London based business who sells crystals, rocks and minerals online.  The company was formed in 2002 and the website followed soon after.  Having spent many, many hours over the last ten years learning about search engine optimization so that my website would appear in the first few pages of Google, I can honestly say that I’m no stranger to the way things work or what Google expects from those hoping to promote their website.  What I do know without a shadow of a doubt is that the success of an online business is largely dependent on how easy it can be found in Google’s rankings using the most relevant keywords.  Get this right and you’re well on your way to having a successful business, get it wrong and it could be a disaster.

Selling crystals, rocks and minerals online is extremely competitive and there are many websites all of whom want to be on page one for the most relevant keywords for their type of products.  So for example if someone searches Google using the term Rocks and Minerals and a website appears on page one or possibly two, the chances of attracting new business will be significantly higher than if it appears on page three or beyond.  However for a keyword to be successful it needs to be promoted well and for those who don’t have the time to do this themselves, one of the alternatives is to consider using a company who specializes in SEO or search engine optimization.  Statistics clearly demonstrate that very few internet users go beyond page one when looking at search results, if they cannot find what they’re looking for within a few seconds, they’ll search again using different words.

The primary aim of any search engine is to offer their users as enjoyable an experience as possible and most of all they want to ensure only the very best websites appear in their results.  From an online trader’s point of view, the most important thing is to rank as highly as possible hence people are prepared to spend huge sums of money to try and ensure they achieve page one or two ranking.  The combination of exactly what is needed to be a top ranking website in Google remains a well guarded secret and they intend to keep it that way but they do make it very well known how you can generally achieve this.  Whilst there are many tips and recommendations online about how a website can improve, some things are never shared and this leads to a great deal of speculation.  Google also releases updates online which address specific problems that arise for example the Panda update of 2011 addressed the issue of low quality webpages filled with duplicate and uninteresting content and subsequently Penguin released in 2012 addressed the issue of artificially manipulating the number of inbound links.  Links have always been considered an important contributing factor to the success of a website however these need to be genuine and carefully accumulated as opposed to just having a mass of low quality, irrelevant or spammy links.

SEO JUICE

Screenshot of one of the rotating banners at SEO Juice . net

The business of SEO deals with the promotion of a website in a variety of ways with the ultimate aim being to improve search engine ranking.  It goes without saying that there are many companies out there who make promises and guarantees they cannot keep simply to attract new business and anyone with any knowledge in this field, will be well aware that it’s just not feasible to offer a guarantee of page one ranking with highly competitive keywords.  Whilst trying to promote Stone Mania over the last ten years, I’ve met my fair share of time wasters in this field so understandably am extremely cautious with regards to who I give my business to, however what I do have on my side now is a comprehensive understanding of SEO hence I am much more savvy than I used to be.  That said, it makes it even more frustrating when I look back and see the mistakes that I made with SEO Juice, an Australian based company run by Dave Adamson who I used to try and promote my website for six months.  They farmed work on my website out to a company in India who in turn used ‘black hat’ SEO techniques which severely damaged the reputation of my website causing it to be penalized by Google.  As a result not only did Stone Mania tumble almost into oblivion on all search engine rankings but I also lost out on many months of revenue because I received virtually no new business at all during that time.

When I first went to SEO Juice I explained to Dave Adamson that I currently appeared in the top ten pages of Google for most of my relevant keywords including crystals, rocks and minerals but I would like to have a stronger presence on page one.  After six months of working with them, six of my strongest keywords showed up outside of the top one hundred pages of Google.

I paid SEO Juice almost $3000 over six months and in return I almost lost my business as a result of the work they carried out.  They make very clear statements on their website and in their adverts yet it’s all lies and I  hope writing about my experience with them will prevent others from falling victim.

SEO Juice

Screenshot of one of the rotating banners at SEO Juice . net