Bad SEO Does Harm Your Rankings
Putting my MBA business hat on, I find the SEO world quite unique in many ways. It is a large industry selling services to organisations in general, to help promote their on-line marketing and pull in more customers. However the ‘rules of engagement or SEO’ are critical and if applied incorrectly will do long term harm to any website – bad SEO does harm your rankings.
What makes this unique in many ways is two-fold. Firstly there is no published methodology from the Search engines on how the SEO should be done to completely avoid penalties AND to get the best possible rankings. Secondly the industry is completely ‘non governed or certified’ so anyone can start offering SEO services, good or bad.
With the world becoming more and more reliant on doing business over the web it is increasingly important to maximise the performance of your web site to compete effectively against your competitors. Many businesses are now almost exclusively web based. If they lose their visibility in the Search Engines then it is like boarding up the shop front and locking the door of a high street business.
Many people still don’t quite ‘get’ this and continue to buy cheap ‘quick fix’ services. This is a great real life case study of such a situation that was published in the Telegraph newspaper yesterday –
Google Penguin nearly killed my business
Google’s algorithms can make an online business – and break it too. Once blacklisted, it’s hard to make it back to the top of the search giant’s ranking. Here is one entrepreneur’s cautionary tale
‘With 90pc of the UK’s internet searches Google can get away with behaving like an Old-Testament-style God’ Photo: AFP
By Pete Walter 3:17PM GMT 01 Dec 2014
Earlier this year Google put up a strong fight against allowing individuals to have potentially damaging online articles removed from search results: dubbed as the “right to be forgotten”. But Google has actually been enthusiastically blacklisting sites from its search results for some time.
Unfortunately mine is one of them, and it almost killed my business.
Two years ago I took over my father’s media training business, and quickly sought to do something about our small to non-existent online presence. I’d heard of search engine optimisation (SEO) and its potentially transformative effect. Our company had an excellent reputation amongst our clients, and with a bit of a push online I was convinced we could attract more business.
I found a SEO firm online with good references and hired them to begin working on our website.
Sure enough after a few months we began to rank much better and received enquiries on a pleasingly regular basis.
But then the phone stopped ringing. As it coincided with summer (usually a fallow period for media training) I thought nothing of it. It was only when a friend tried Googling my website and couldn’t find it that alarm bells started ringing.
I immediately typed in a few of the search terms that we’d been doing so well on only a few weeks before and couldn’t see any mention of our company, not even in the top 100 search results. Even typing the exact name of my company into Google didn’t list my site. It had completely vanished.
A panicked call to the SEO company revealed that they suspected the site had been hit by a Penguin penalty.
SEO is an ongoing complicated task and not one that can be learned in a few days, weeks or even months. Engage someone who does not fully understand the methodologies behind the search engines or who takes short cuts and you could well be faced with a similar situation as above. If I look at how I use my own time I spend probably in the region of 30% doing analysis and comparison work across different websites in different sectors and talking to others in the industry to compare notes.
The industry is populated with ‘quick fix’ merchants peadling the latest idea to rank a website in 24 hours on page one in Google which has no content and no links!!! A web site is an integral part of any business and has to be built gradually the same as has always happened in marketing of any type, online or offline. You do not build a business overnight just because it has a website.