Despite years of experience and a vast wealth of resources at their disposal, Google can still miss the odd spam site that ranks really well.
This is addressed in Matt Cutts Webmaster video today. The question he was asked is as follows:
Matt, Does the good guys still stand a chance? We’re a small company that hired an SEO firm that we thought was legit, but destroyed our rankings w/ spam backlinks. We’ve tried everything but nothing helps. What can a company with good intentions do?
Daniel, Miami, FL
Poor Daniel. He’s hired an SEO firm who’ve pulled the wool over his eyes and spammed his website. As Daniel sees himself as a good guy then he wants to know how to remedy his site and whether you can get results without spamming.
The answer is, yes! Of course. Google is hell bent on getting rid of all spammy results in their search engine. Unfortunately there can be some techniques that are still very much “Quick win”. An SEO firm will get your website ranked, however they will achieve this using black hat techniques. Google will find out that the wrong techniques have been used and will apply a manual action against the offending site.
However Matt does say that the more people using black hat techniques, the more likely they are to get penalised, leading to more space above for white hat sites to move into. See the full video below: