Over there last 15 years or so there have been many SEO companies who got their clients results by building links. Although this was against Google’s quality guidelines, it is almost hard to blame them because it was a very effective SEO practices. There are of course white hat and black hat ways to build links. White hat being the way the search engines recommend and black hat being against the guidelines. Over the years, I have always been white hat and Ignite Visibility is a white hat company.
Recently, in a Google hangout someone recommended that Google penalize SEO companies who have used black hat techniques to get their clients rankings. In most cases, the websites who used these tactics now have a penalty of their own. When the person made this recommendation in the Google hangout, Jon Mueller, an engineer on the Google search team, felt like it was a great idea. He stated that it is something they would consider.
Outside of this, basically any website that was buying links in bulk, or using an SEO company to do this, is now loosing rankings. We have been doing so much clean up in this area. Recently, I have even seen a few SEO companies switching domain names and starting fresh, just to get away from those old bad links.
It will be interesting to see how these black hat SEO companies respond to these clear issues.