In an unprecedented move yesterday, Google deindexed iAcquire and all of the affiliated sites they control, for buying links on behalf of large clients. The large SEO agency iAcquire works with very large companies and two days ago they were outed for their sophisticated (and expensive) link-buying tactics by Llsocial (in what was a brilliant bit of linkbait itself).
It seems they inadvertently sent a link buying request (or three) to Llsocial under the name of one of their affiliated sites. Llsocial then did a well-documented investigation, including speaking with several people at iAcquire, and publicly outed their link buying tactics, which are against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Danny Sullivan did a good job of showing the connection between all of the affiliated sites and the linkbuying with some additional information here.
The client they were buying links for in this case, Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Report, quickly threw iAcquire under the bus: they turned over all information about iAcquire & affiliates to Google and the press. By the next day Google swung the banhammer and had completely deindexed all of their sites. In a statement iAcquire said that they offer a broad spectrum of services and are not a paid link company; however, they notably did not deny buying links or owning a large link buying operation.
This is the first time that Google has taken action against a company for violating their guidelines on behalf of someone else, and is a move that is perfectly in line with their recent surge of actions against paid linkbuilding.
It’s yet another reminder of the dangers of engaging in these tactics. Google is on the warpath against paid linkbuilding in all its forms and even an algorithmically undetectable link buying tactic like iAcquire employed can blow up in your face in a moment’s notice.
[Update: on 5/29 iAcquire made a post admitting to paying for links and stating that they would begin transitioning out of linkbuying.]