I'm using attracta.com as an SEO tool to try and improve my SEO. They say that I should use an SEO badge to improve my ranking but I don't really understand what it is or what it does (a quick Google search didn't provide too much information). I was just wondering if any of you guys here at stackoverflow had any information they would be able to impart to me. Thanks for your help!
The badges they refer to are simply image links for your site. A lot of sites have these sort of images that they offer visitors for linking back to them. A more common name for them is a button ("button image", "link button", etc.).
If you have a nice badge and ask your visitors nicely, and you also provide good content/a useful service, then, sure, a badge could probably increase the number of links to your site a little, and thus increase your search ranking.
That said, however, badges alone aren't going to make a huge difference on most sites. I mean, how many webmasters want to put a free banner/button ad to another website on their own website? It might be a good tactic if you have the right brand for it (e.g. a snowboard company, a clothing company, or other "hip" brands), but if your website is for a travel agency/law firm/hardware store/etc. then I don't see it being much help. And, to be honest, Attracta's auto-generated badges are pretty ugly; if you're looking for a good badge maker, I'd try this site: 80x15.
Lastly, I also found some anomalies while searching Attracta's website. If you do a Google search for "badges site:attracta.com" you get a lot of results that are redirects to GetSatisfaction questions for Foursquare. I don't know if there's some kind of relationship between the companies but it seems pretty weird. It looks like it's a 302 temporary redirect, causing Google to treat Attracta's page as the GetSatisfaction page. Now, maybe there's an innocent explanation for this that I'm missing, but this is a common technique used by blackhat SEOs to hijack the PR of another site. Supposedly it's been fixed by Google, but maybe it hasn't, or Attracta simply forget to take these redirects down.
Attracta engages in questionable tactics to market themselves. In particular they create fear, uncertainty and doubt in poorly informed siteowners concerning indexing, ranking and sitemaps.
By signing in to Attracta you are unknowingly giving them permission to replace your Webmaster Tools verification file. Once this is done you have given over a source of considerable information about your site for an indefinite period of time.
First erroneous implication by Attracta: the number of indexed pages directly relates to improved ranking - it DOES NOT. Website size is one of many, many factors that are judged by Google when ranking sites, and is clearly NOT the decisive one as a short look at a few online competitive keyword markets easily shows.
Second erroneous implication by ATTRACTA: Uploading a sitemap and repeatedly "pinging" your site to causes "indexing" of pages and an improvement in your site's rank. Indexing is done automatically by Google as pages and posts are added, viewed, or linked to. If content pages and posts on a mature website are not in Google's index that is due to them being inactive, substantially duplicates of other pages, or to structural issues in the website design which prevent the pages being found. ATTRACTA does nothing to correct any of these issues; Google will simply evaluate the content then continue to exclude it from the their deep index if it remains inactive, remains duplicate copy or remains hard to access.
In effect Attracta hijacks Webmaster Tools over an irrelevancy - indexing - and does so in a deceptive manner.
How beneficial to you as a client do you think a relationship beginning in deception will ever be?