One SEO Technique to Avoid Like the Bubonic Plague – Link Building Scams

You may not be old enough to remember references to the Bubonic Plague, but it was awful! It swept through Asia, Europe and Africa in the 14th Century and killed something like 50 million people. It was spread by the Oriental rat flea that lived on mice and rats.

If you knew the Bubonic Plague was going around and that it was caused by mice and rats, you’d want to avoid it, right? We would!

So here’s an SEO technique that some people are still trying that you should run from, no matter how hard somebody tries to sell you on it. It is the antiquated and unethical creation of tons and tons of websites that you control, that all point back to your target website in the hope that you will drive people to your main site and fool Google into thinking that you are more important that you really are. Here’s an article we posted about a few years back:

The Worst of Black Hat SEO

Excellent websites are like imported cars.

Your website carries your message. It’s the beautiful exterior that draws people in and drives them to your business.  SEO, or search engine optimization, operates on the inside of your website, and ensures that it runs smoothly. 

You wouldn’t put a cheap engine in an expensive car. That could ruin the car.

In the same manner, SEO techniques can be split into two different categories:

White Hat SEO

These techniques are generally more expensive and time consuming.

Black Hat SEO

These techniques are cheap, but can often do more harm than good.

Black hat techniques are like cheap engines in imported cars. Outsourced or cookie-cutter firms may promise a lower price, but use spammy techniques. Google’s algorithms penalize these behaviors, which can mean losing your search engine placement.

No company is exempt from these rules. Consider the story of how J.C. Penny lost millions of dollars after using black hat SEO techniques.

The J.C. Penny SEO Scandal

 During the spring of 2011, the New York Times published an article on the SEO work of J.C. Penny. J.C. Penny had incredible organic search results on every product they sold. The writers consulted an SEO management firm, which lead to a quiet investigation on J.C. Penny’s marketing work. They uncovered a huge link-building scheme.

Google caught wind of the scheme. The search algorithm raked through J.C. Penny’s links and penalized the website.

J.C. Penny disappeared from the listings on the Internet. SearchDex, the SEO firm they were using, was immediately fired.

Instead of saving money by hiring the cheapest firm they could find, they ended up losing a lot of money. 

  • A lot of their marketing was situated in Internet platforms, which meant a loss in potential revenue. That’s a loss of about 350,000 customers per day.
  • They had to spend money to get every bad link manually removed. Until each bad link was removed, Google would not lift its penalty.
  • The J.C. Penny site was devalued by Google’s algorithm. That means that the influence they had on the Internet was severely reduced.

High-quality SEO work is an investment. Choosing to do cheap SEO work now might mean having to spend even more money later.

Michigan SEO Group Works Tirelessly to Employ the Best SEO Techniques

We’ve been in the game a long time. We’ve seen many website design and SEO companies come and go. We’ve had a few failures and a lot of successes, and along the way we’ve learned that ethical, abundant hard work is the path to success. Trying to game the system may help a bit in the short term, but to get long lasting results for our clients, there’s no way around attention to detail and focusing on the best SEO techniques that actually make a difference. 

At the same time, we’ve found that we can’t do it without help from our clients. After all, you do what you do very well, and we need your guidance and input to get what we say on your behalf right. That’s why our best clients think of us as their marketing team ... experts who they can talk with, bounce ideas off, consults with, and who they can trust to tell them if a certain approach would be likely to work or would just be a waste of time and money. When there’s an open dialogue and a willingness to dig in together, great things happen!

And our clients have also found that our work can actually save the money! Yes, if all goes right we build an online presence that generates more awareness, leads, and sales, but on top of that, many clients find they can either decrease the size of their marketing team or eliminate it altogether. When they rely on us, they know what they’re getting and what they have to pay for it, and it’s almost always significantly less than they’d pay one full time employee. Imagine not having to hire someone, even at $15 per hour (which works out to roughly $30,000 per year). No salary, no unemployment, no computer, no desk, no HR costs. You could spend a little over half that to get a powerful online program with a company like ours, or about the annual cost of single employee to truly ROCK your message out to the world!

Sometimes Success is Just Around the Corner!

One of our clients called us about three months into our program. The owner of the business was in a panic. She had committed funds to too many places – rent, utilities, consultants, staff, and yes, marketing. She was worried that she wouldn’t be able to meet the bills in coming months. Her first impulse was to pull the plug on her marketing!

Now, we get it. We’re in business too, and over the life of our work we’ve had a few payless months. But we had just launched the new website for this business, and we believed that a month or two of optimization would make a huge difference. We were able to sort through some of the business owner’s worries, prioritize the work we were doing (we agreed to front load some of the longer term work to try to get results even more quickly). Lo and behold, two months later their calls from potential new customers had almost doubled!

They are still a client of ours today, and they are contemplating almost doubling the size of their facility. There have been ups and downs and we’ve had to stay on top of things to keep them as busy as they’d like to be, but the point is, we were there for them as their marketing team. The fact that the owner was able to get perspective and work with us to prioritize and refocus was a big help. We all worked as a team and as a result their business is thriving!

How to Get Started

Remember your dream of a healthy, growing business and an abundant life? Has that dream gotten more complicated as you struggle to not only do what you do very well, but also try to get enough awareness and leads to keep your sales team busy?

You don’t have to give up on the dream! You may just have to work on allocating resources in a way that makes practical and economic sense. For a lot of businesses, that means finding a way to make sure the best SEO techniques are part of what you do, day in and day out, without fail, and that you never, ever quit. If that means finding a team of experts who do online marketing every day and who are committed to ethical, abundant hard work, then it may make sense to have a conversation with us.

Not every company is a good fit for us. As we’ve mentioned several times, we’re all about doing online marketing the right way ... which is not always the easy way. Sometimes that means a commitment of time and effort from you. Sometimes that mean you may have to learn a bit about best practices so you understand the reasons why we’re asking to do something. Sometimes it means part of a day together mapping out strategies to grow a particular segment of your business. In short, we’re looking for business owners and managers who truly want to grow, who are willing to put in a bit of work with us, and who are helpful and pleasant to interact with.

With our current workload, we have the bandwidth for one or two new clients. More than that would compromise our ability to deliver the kind of work we love to provide. Are you the next success story with Michigan SEO Group? We hope so!

Remember, there are a few things you can do right now to start getting ahead of your competitors on the internet! The first thing we mentioned was doing your keyword research. If you want to dig deeper, you can request our handy guide that includes the three tasks we’ve shared in this article, as well as four others. It’s called Seven Essential SEO Tasks You Can Do RIGHT NOW!  Request it here.

If that’s not enough info for you, you could buy our book SEO and Beyond: Rocket Your Website to Page One of Google!

If THAT’s not enough, we’re happy to help. Give us a call at (734) 619-0736, chat about your needs and goals online, and we’ll send you a copy of the book absolutely free. If you’ve had enough of struggling to get the word out about what you do so well and you’re ready to put a team of experts to work on your behalf, ask for a time to meet at our offfice. We’ll show you around, get to know you and your business needs, and work through what you need to thrive online. If it turns out that we can help, we’d be glad to explain how that would look.

Don’t wait, every day that goes by is a day that you may be losing business to one of your online competitors! Contact us today!