In the past SEO has been pure chaos as the birth of the industry spawned many different types of providers. Out of those techniques the label "Black Hat" and White Hat" has been born. These techniques are not distinct lines and the boundaries tend to cross over. Following Google webmaster guidelines is the only way to develop safe and effective SEO.
Short term optimization is not consider White Hat by Google
For years our approach has been to provide good on-site optimization and custom link building. In the early days it was an easy shortcut to buy links to get the SEO juice boost to see amazing results fast. We've always felt that was a short term approach and it was just a matter of time until Google would find a way to stop the effectiveness. Well with the release of Google Panda on April 26th that day has finally come.
What is Google Panda? It is a new algorithm that will punish your inbound links if they are coming from a link farm or known spamming servers. This is where your links got built if you bought 20,000 backlinks for $20 (I just ran across this ad lately). In the past Google would just not count the links but now they are counted against you.
So a good question is "How is Panda going to affect my rankings?". Well first you'll need some sort of ranking report to determine where you currently rank for your targeted keywords. Once the analysis is done to determine if you've been affected by Panda we can start fixing the problems if they exist.
The next step is to develop a long term strategy for search engine optimization. Your provider should be giving you ongoing ranking reports and strategic marketing plans for your online marketing efforts. It's common for SEO companies to keep you in the dark about what they do and those days are (should be) over.