Google continues their strict crackdown on illegitimate SEO tactics; “Content farms” is the new target. In a recent announcement on Google’s official Blog, they are adding an extension to their Chrome web browser that allows people to block out certain websites from showing on their search results. Not only does the end-user get the chance to block out these spammy websites, Google gets a list of which sites people are blocking.

This is another way the search engine titan continues to get firmer on their recent values of cracking down on black hat and illegitimate SEO tactics. Content farms are websites that generate a lot of text that satisfy search engine algorithms so the website appears higher in rank. Then, these websites are sold for millions of dollars because their value is so high on search engines. Many people, however, criticize these sites as actually having poor, useless information.

Also, Google most recently found Forbes.com guilty of providing paid links on its site. A practice frowned upon as “outside of Google’s Quality Guidelines”. Not the first time Forbes has been caught in this situation by SE’s but this accusation has Forbes top SEO scrambling to find his own paid links on his own site.

It is becoming more and more evident that the search leader is pioneering a crusade against practices outside of its guidelines and for the foreseeable future it is recommended to pay close attention to its headline efforts. TechCrunch.com recommends a great tool to monitor links gotten by your SEO and can shed some light on practices outside a firms control.

“The SEO industry has unfortunately been an industry that has gotten somewhat of a bad name because of unscrupulous firms that utilize questionable techniques to help improve the online visibility of their clients”

Kenneth C. Wisnefski, Founder and CEO of WebiMax

“The notion that all search engine optimization firms utilize these sorts of tactics is simply untrue. Do your due diligence on the potential SEO vendor you are interested in working with and ask them to provide transparency in to the strategy they are going to utilize to increase your natural search rankings. If they can’t provide a detailed strategy, my suggestion would be to avoid them”.

This is where SEO ethics come in to play. Unfortunately, there is not exactly strict regulation on SEO and companies are continuously trying to navigate the system to make their clients populate high on search engines. As Wisnefski describes, it is absolutely vital for companies to be fully aware of the track record that an SEO company has before they contract with them.

Take, for example the recent news that retailer JC Penney’s was flagged by Google when their SEO firm used Link farms to increase their rankings. Don’t let this happen to your company. Make sure your SEO firm has an established Code of Ethics and has a proven track record. SEO is becoming a game of survival of the honest.