Recently New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman settled with 19 different SEO companies over a lawsuit brought against them by Yelp, a local search website that allows readers to leave reviews about the companies listed:
"NEW YORK -- Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that 19 companies had agreed to cease their practice of writing fake online reviews for businesses and to pay more than $350,000 in penalties. "Operation Clean Turf," a year-long undercover investigation into the reputation management industry, the manipulation of consumer-review websites, and the practice of astroturfing, found that companies had flooded the Internet with fake consumer reviews on websites such as Yelp, Google Local, and CitySearch. In the course of the investigation, the Attorney General's office found that many of these companies used techniques to hide their identities, such as creating fake online profiles on consumer review websites and paying freelance writers from as far away as the Philippines, Bangladesh and Eastern Europe for $1 to $10 per review. By producing fake reviews, these companies violated multiple state laws against false advertising and engaged in illegal and deceptive business practices."
The Internet is filled with countless web pages, each vying for a spot at the top of the most popular search engines: Google, Yahoo! and Bing, to name a few. In order to properly optimize the search engine ranking of a business, keywords and metadata must be used. Producing quality updates and content on a regular basis is also very important to being placed high, particularly on Google. Most people want to place high on Google's search pages because it is the most used search engine on the Internet, by far. But Google changes its search algorithms on a regular basis now and instead of informing businesses of the changes like it used to, the Internet giant has decided to make its modifications on a more covert level. According to experts, this is giving users a better experience because many companies would use SEO to have themselves show up on searches that were not relevant to them.