It looks like Milanoo, a Sequoia-backed start-up, just got outed for using paid links to scam Google’s rankings.  I have done a fair amount of SEO work for venture-backed start-ups and this event has convinced me more than ever that smart VCs should be conducting SEO due diligence on potential portfolio companies both pre- and post-investing to make sure they are not buying a potential lemon.  Just as you would never invest in a company before you got some references for the CEO, you probably shouldn’t invest in a company that relies on organic search traffic before getting a reference from Google.  And since Google won’t take your calls (unless perhaps you are Mike Moritz or Roelof Botha), the next best thing is to work with an experienced SEO.

With that in mind I am proud to announce that LocalSEOGuide is now open for pre-investment SEO due diligence consulting.  And to start things off with a bang, the first five VCs that contact me get the first one free!

Contact me here.

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3 Response Comments

  • Jim Rudnick  May 3, 2011 at 6:38 am

    great catch here, Andrew! you’d’a thought that the firm itself, i.e. Milanoo would have known that they’d get outed on such tactics…never mind Sequoia and their lack of diligence…but it’s all karma, eh!



  • enigma1  May 4, 2011 at 3:50 am

    Maybe Google identifies some high profile sites gaming its algo but overall medium size companies with paid links go under the radar.

    One of the problems is the internals of SEs giving high importance towards backlinks instead of using authoritative content as one of the top factors for ranking.

    That of course extends into the ecommerce area. Just because someone distributes products, doesn’t mean he cannot create original content and has to just copy the manufacturer’s description.

    The google news about high profile sites getting penalized because of shady backlink techniques, only tells others it is possible to game its algorithm.

  • Steve  May 10, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Good point. If the company you’re about to invest in relies heavily on organic SEO makes sense to ensure there are no ticking time bombs.