So, how did this happen? Have you ever heard the term "Black Hat SEO?"
It's the practice of using unethical means to either obtain a higher search engine page rank or to trick people into coming to your website using deceptive means. It can be a common practice among the types of companies that send you emails promising you first page placement on Google, for a fee.
One of the Black Hat tricks that irks me is when people use a string of keywords (a type of keyword stuffing) when leaving a comment on my blog instead of their real, user or business name. Why? Because using a keyword string says in an overly obvious way that you are using my blog to try to increase your own search engine ranking. I even blogged about it before.
An example of what I mean is when I leave a comment on someone's blog I use one of the following names: Stacie Tamaki, The Flirty Girl (my Twitter handle) or The Flirty Blog or The Flirty Guide because that's my real name, online usernames and business name. My rule of thumb is how would I introduce myself to someone in a face to face meeting? If I wouldn't say it, I shouldn't post it.
I would say I'm the Flirty Blog or Guide because that's how some people know me.
If I was going to be spammy I would post my name on other people's sites as one of the following strings of keywords with the name being a link back to my own website:
SF Bay Area Blogger
Custom Website Design and Development
Volunteer National Bone Marrow Donor Recruiter
Halloween Dog Costume Designer
So it's something that can be considered bad form to use a keyword string in place of your name. I'll often delete these comments if they're off topic but sometimes I let them slide if it's obvious the person at least read the post.
The moral of this story is when someone contacts you and says they can improve your search engine ranking for a fee, make sure what they're going to do isn't going to get you in trouble with Google. Black Hat SEO is a short-sighted solution (gaming the search engines for a higher page rank) to a long term problem, getting banned by the search engines so that your site isn't indexed at all. It's like that old saying "If something sounds too good to be true. . ." The way I look at it, they're sending out the email they sent to you to thousands of other website owners. So how can they promise thousands of people they can place all of them in the top ten on Google? Only ten people can be in the top ten.
Some of these pitches may be legit but the buzz words raised red flags for me.
The best way to increase your page rank is to create useful, informative content and update your website or blog on a regular basis. If you really want to hire someone make sure they are using only White Hat SEO (ethical techniques) to achieve your higher page rank. It will be you, not them, who pays the price for any shady games a Black Hat SEO company uses to damage your online page rank and reputation for their own monetary gain.