WeightWorld’s woeful SEO work

WeightWorld might not be calling me names or threatening to sue but they certainly have a strange approach to search engine optimisation.

I’ve just found this in my Inbox:

Dear Webmaster, We have just found our link on your https://josephinejones.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/this-weeks-asa-adjudications-three-complaints-upheld-about-misleading-healthcare-claims/ with different anchor text which is pointing to our website WeightWorld.co.uk There are many of the links coming from your website to ours and we feel that it will harm our SERP and SEO efforts as well as your domains too. So I request you to remove that anchor text and link from your website as soon as possible and inform me back. Your kind help will be much appreciated. Many Thanks, Webmaster

If you are a quack who has been caught out for misleading advertising then writing to me and reminding me of this is not a good idea. Telling me I might be harming your SERP and SEO efforts will only encourage me to harm them even more.

So, who are WeightWorld.co.uk?

The briefest glimpse at their site reveals they are in the business of selling a vast range of fitness related supplements and similar quack products, such as slimming pills and patches, “detox” foot spas and colon cleansers.

And a search on the ASA website under the actual company name “Comfort Click” reveals that they are serial offenders, with three adjudications and two informally resolved complaints against WeightWorld.co.uk, and a fourth adjudication against ShytoBuy.co.uk.

The ShytoBuy.co.uk adjudication, dating from July 2012, was particularly interesting, relating to Wartrol, a homeopathic spray which Comfort Click claimed was an effective treatment for genital warts. The product is not registered with the MHRA and Comfort Click assured the ASA that they had removed it from their ShytoBuy website.

The product is currently for sale on that very site, right here and I think the ASA’s compliance teams ought to be informed.

Many Thanks, Webmaster.

17 responses to “WeightWorld’s woeful SEO work

  1. Ha! I have a sneaking suspicion the shytobuy one might have been me, I certainly shopped that product and site last year.

  2. Marc Stephens Is Insane

    As if I would really take a company selling “health equipment” seriously that doesn’t know the difference between “pours” and “pores”.

    The first thing I saw when I clicked through to their site was the foot detox box claiming the body has “2000 pours” in the soles of the feet.

    They should spend less time worrying about SEO and more time on spelling.

  3. Apparently, Comfort Click have a dedicated team of SEO experts.

    http://www.comfortclick.co.uk/what-we-do.html

  4. Just a thought, but is it possible they’re being a bit smarter than you’re giving them credit for?

    If you include lots of links to their site, won’t that increase the ranking of their site? I don’t know enough about SEO to know for sure, but might be worth considering.

    • I don’t know how it works, particularly with respect to links – though I do know they specifically asked me to remove a link. Certainly, blogging them and mentioning them a lot could mean their potential customers might find my blog. That’s worked very well in the past when I’ve mentioned other companies, but if you Google WeightWorld, there are a hell of a lot of links. It seems their SEO people have been busy.

  5. The claim for Wartrol may now have changed – they make no reference to it being an effective cure only the vague ‘relief’.
    But hang on – isn’t Alli (advertised on WeightWorld) a Pharmacy medicine? Neither WeightWorld nor ComfortClick are registered pharmacies.
    I have taken the liberty of mentioning this post on my blog: http://scepticalpharmacist.blogspot.co.uk/

    • You’re right. According to the Alli website, it’s “only available over the counter from pharmacies: on the high street, at in-store pharmacies in supermarkets, from your local community pharmacy or from registered online pharmacies.”

      http://www.alli.co.uk/Where-to-Buy-alli/

      I’ve had a quick look for WeightWorld and Comfort Click on the GPhC search but found nothing. It looks like they aren’t registered.

      • Peter Swanson

        Perhaps this product Alli is marketed on this site but sent from a registered pharmacy once the order/consult has been completed. A number of retailers in the UK follow the same procedure when it comes to medicinal products/pharmacy only products.

        It would explain why this company doesn’t appear on the GPHC registry.

  6. I don’t quite get this either – surely linking from your site, which is quite prominent on Google, would only increase their rank, but for the fact that you’ve taken steps to prohibit that (nofollow). I should stress that I’m absolutely not an expert in this, and have just tried to make sense of what’s going on by glimpses at the seemingly inexplicable behaviour of affiliate marketers and people who try and sneak links onto my blog.

    As I understand it, lots of other sites pointing to site X tell Google that site X is important – I think Google’s algorithms are a bit more subtle than that (I don’t know if they do sentiment analysis to pick out skeptic snark!) but that seems to be the general idea, and presumably why there are so many attempts by spammers to get guest posts / link swaps / links in comments etc. Though it’s entirely possible that the spammers haven’t kept up with the times / Google’s changing serp algorithms and are still operating under what used to be an effective strategy but isn’t now!

    But you use nofollow so presumably this overrides the above – your site is telling Google that the link is important but the nofollow says ‘hang back, it’s actually not’. So it would seem that the issue of links is irrelevant, but the content about the company that they don’t like.

    Rob’s Burzynski post was interesting about effective use of links and how to embed them in text – I’ve not really examined it in depth or checked if it’s true, but it certainly feels about right.

  7. Also, they took a year to notice?

  8. This does seem rather odd…how did their link get onto your site? its true that backlinks will help their SEO, but the backlinks should be relevant. sounds like they’re are on a major cleanup.

  9. Ah I see! Thanks for replying🙂

  10. They have most likely spammed their links all over the net and gotten themselves penalized by google (see google penguin algo) for more on that. Now they are scrambling to get their back links removed and hope they can recover their previous rankings.

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