A great post on SEOMOZ today about how to investigate if the website/domain/company you are working for has been engaging in “black hat” SEO games. SEOMOZ is calling this SEO forensics and it’s an apropriate designation as it involves data gathering, investigation, experimentation, and documentation. I’ve been extremely fortunate in working at companies for the last 10+ years that were just getting their websites off the ground when I became a part of the team and then knew whether or not they were being legit in their web presence.
It does raise the spectre of moving to a new company as either a web analyst or consultant and then being responsible for a domain that has been using circumspect tactics. It was only a couple years ago that BMW.de was banned by Google for practices that they frowned upon.
Can you imagine starting up a job somewhere and being faced with the task of salvaging a company’s reputation without knowing that’s what you were in for? SEOMOZ provides a forensic methodology to see how deep the problem might be before you sign off on the responsibility. You can find out fairly quickly if you are in for trouble.