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If a business in my home town decides to give away 50 samples of a product, to advertise an upcoming trade show, or perhaps a celebration of so many years in business, and as a result of this giveaway they receive numerous social media mentions, via Twitter, Facebook, etc. – they will likely obtain a number of backlinks to their website.

Does Google view this as a “bad thing” for the site?

It all depends, apparently, on whether the business in question is just a normal run of the mill entity, or is an SEO professional or agency.

Because it clearly seems that if an SEO does this, it’s clearly viewed by Google as a “bad thing.”

Google Openly Profiles SEOs As Criminals