SEO’s Dark Side

Can inept use of SEO actually damage your product image? It absolutely can. While SEO is an important tool in digital marketing, it is like a power saw or drill. In the wrong hands it can wreak havoc with your site or ad. 

Digital marketing makes it possible to reach millions of people with your product, whether it is a service, a tangible or just your own professional resume. The cost of digital marketing makes it vital to use the media effectively. Many people are turning to companies like Reputation.com, Inc. and to people like Brent Franson, who is one of the professionals at its helm, for their guidance in navigating the waters of digital marketing. 

What can an advertising professional offer you that you can’t do yourself? SEO, like “The Force,” has a dark side. Advertisers may find themselves stumbling through the pitfalls of SEO usage while professionals will pass with ease. 

One of the mistakes advertising novices often make is stuffing keywords. Ten years ago, that was a common practice. The search engines crawled through the ad or the site and, seeing the seemingly relevant words, ranked the ad higher. That resulted in some misrepresentation and the devaluation of good sites. In 2011, however, Google came up with “Panda” which is a new crawler that recognizes worthless and non-relevant SEO and “dings” the site or ad for it. Within a short time, the new algorithm resulted in ranking changes of nearly 12 percent of sites. The offending ad loses its ranking in the Google queue, and there are other substantial penalties. While an ad may represent a valuable service or good product, it is viewed as low-value because of the obviously “stuffed” SEO. Currently the formula for ideal SEO keeps the use of keywords at five percent, but search engines are evolving and becoming smarter every day. It becomes vital to remain updated about new recommendations for their use. 

Another mistake that SEO novices often make is not building any kind of analytical tool into their ads. That means advertisers don’t have any idea of who is seeing their advertising and if they are getting a reasonable return, or any return at all, on their investments. Professionals understand the workings of site trafficking systems and can analyze data to see if ads are having the desired effect. 

Of course, just utilizing a professional company does not guarantee SEO success. You have to find one you trust. A glance at Franson’s page, for instance, shows an early and emphatic use of the word “ethics.” There are basically two types of SEO usage: black hat and white hat. Black hat techniques include keyword stuffing and cloaking, among other practices. Cloaking is when an advertiser uses optimal words to show the crawler a different page than the one the user is directed to. Black hat practices may result in lower costs initially, but stiff penalties from search engines and lower ratings make them more expensive in the long run. White hat, or ethical, SEO results in high ranking and value. 

Novices often make mistakes when using SEO that damages the image they are trying to promote. Trusted professionals like Franson at Reputation.com, Inc. can ethically build cost-effective and valuable ads that will reap the benefits they were created to bring.