Could Bad SEO Bring Down Your Business?

This article was written by Sonia Simone.
We’ve been telling you for awhile now that the old-fashioned “black hat” SEO doesn’t work.

The evolution of SEO means that keyword stuffing, buying links, content spinning, and other shady practices just don’t pay off the way they used to.

But Marie Haynes wrote a terrific piece over on SEOMoz about how the wrong kind of SEO isn’t just useless … it’s actively dangerous.

Dangerous enough to destroy a small business, and maybe even a business that’s not-so-small.

Go read the article here, then come back.

Marie’s central point is that a certain stye of “cheap and quick” SEO — the style, in fact, that small businesses were often likely to choose — has now become actively dangerous.

In the past year, Google rolled out powerful updates that have destroyed the rankings for a huge number of small businesses. Those updates are called Penguin and Panda — and they were specifically designed to kill the rankings for sites that went for “cheap and quick.”

Why did SEOs do this stuff in the first place?

Well, it worked. Buying massive numbers of dodgy links worked. Adding hundreds or thousands of pages of thin, lame content worked if it had the right keyword structure. Directory submissions. Automated social media bookmarking. Spamming blog comments. (I have a particular hatred of the last one, as you might imagine.)

But here’s the problem. Some of these techniques aren’t reversible.

In particular, buying a bunch of unnatural links back to your site isn’t just useless … it’s now actively harmful. And try getting 1000 paid links taken off of the offending websites. It’s a lot easier to buy them than it is to get them taken away.

It’s time for small business to grow up

Owners of small businesses never wanted to become search engine experts. Most of us don’t. SEO looks complicated, it changes all the time, and from the outside it kind of seems like rocket science.

But if we want traffic from search engines, we need to grow up and face the new search reality — not the “Just trust us and we’ll build you 500 backlinks a month” message businesses are getting from some SEOs.

First and foremost, your site needs to be meeting the needs of your readers and customers.

You know that when you “stuff” your search keywords into a one-page article 52 times, that’s no good for your customers.

You know that putting 1000 pages of crap on your site isn’t good for your customers.

You know that “spinning” content from someone else’s blog isn’t good for customers.

And now Google knows that too. So quit playing silly games. Cheats and shortcuts won’t work, and over time they will hurt your business … possibly fatally.

Read the rest of this article here, at


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