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bad_seo

Before I get started, I want to reiterate a point I’ve made quite a few times over the past few years:

SEO Matters

In fact, SEO will matter until this little thing called “Google” doesn’t exist and people like you and me don’t use the phrase “Just Google It” an longer.

But until then, it matters. And when I say it matters, I mean it can be the difference in a business keeping it’s doors open and closing them, which is exactly why I feel the need to tell you the following story…

Uhmmm, Why Isn’t the Traffic Going Up?

Not too long ago our company here at The Sales Lion was engaged by a national business to assist them with their content marketing efforts. The goals of the project were simple: Increase traffic, leads, and sales from their website—metrics that had been extremely stagnant for well over a year without any growth whatsoever– despite the fact they’d been producing content regularly.

Feeling incredibly confident we could make a massive difference if they’d follow our proven methods “Search Content Marketing” — I couldn’t wait to watch the website get rewarded by search engines and readers alike.

After 4 weeks of steady work and a very high level of great content added to the site, there was one problem: Almost no traffic growth…nor leads…nor sales.

Same thing after 6 weeks.

And then the same thing after 8 weeks.

Paying the Price of Previous SEO Companies

By this point, I was banging my head against a wall. I knew we were doing everything right. I knew this company’s content was way better than what was currently ranking ahead of them in search engine results pages.

I also knew we were following every “best practice” you could possibly read with respect to SEO combined with content marketing.

Notwithstanding, the Google Gods paid us no mind.

Amid my frustration and perplexity, I had the good fortune one evening of speaking in Arizona. While there, I was able to catch up to a friend and SEO expert, Arnie Kuenn of Vertical Measures.

After explaining to Arnie my dilemma, he kindly volunteered to have his team take a look at the site and see what might be the problem.

Well, to make a long story short, his team found the site had been penalized by Google.

Why?

The answer is simple, and sadly all too common: 2 year previous an SEO company had added a bunch of “bad” inbound links pointing back to the site. Once Penguin hit last year and Google started to punish sites with junk links, my client became a victim…and they had no idea until now.

Disavowing Bad Links

Upon hearing this news I experienced an odd mix of relief and frustration. I was relieved because I could finally understand why we hadn’t been building the momentum we were used to seeing with clients. At the same time, I was frustrated because this great organization with an outstanding product had their growth stunted by another foolish SEO company dancing with the digital devil.

Now that the old links have been disavowed (thanks to Arnie’s team identifying the problem), my client’s website metrics have more than doubled over the past few months, but the lesson here is one that all companies need to be aware of:

If you’ve ever worked with an SEO company in the past and they did any type of bad link-building (or other shady practice), you should do whatever is necessary to “make it right” as quickly as possible. The worst thing that can happen to many businesses is to be punished by search engines, especially when they have no idea they’re at fault in the first place.

 

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