Robert Allen | Smart Insights | Tue, 18 Oct 2016 14:00:00 +0000

Don’t mess with Google

The competition for a top spot in the Google search results is as competitive as ever. Companies spend millions of dollars annually to try and rank at the top spot for competitive keywords. There is good reason for that type of spending. Ranking first in Google results in 33% of all traffic from that keyword. Many high profile companies have taken a rank-at-all-cost mentality to clawing their way up to the top of the Google search rankings. These companies have tried, and failed, to gain an unfair advantage and have paid the price with a Google Penalty on their website.

Major companies like The Washington Post, WordPress, BBC, BMW, Mozilla, Genius, eBay, The Home Depot and even Google itself have been penalized by Google for violations of their guidelines. Digital Third Coast, a digital marketing agency located in Chicago, has compiled a list of high profile companies have received penalties from Google. The goal was to create a resource for marketers and SEO managers to be able to learn from the past mistakes made my other major companies.

Even though some of those penalties were only short-lived, the traffic loss associated with the penalties was substantial. For example WordPress was penalized in March of 2005 and resulted in the site’s home page not ranking for its name and their PageRank was reduced to zero. If that same 2-day penalty were to happen in 2016, the loss of traffic would be over 10.08 million users. That traffic loss is truly staggering even for such a short time window.
Car manufacturer BMW manipulated the search results to ensure top rankings when users search for “used car†by redirecting the user to a regular BMW page when they clicked on the search results links. Because of this they were hit with a cloaking penalty that resulted in their site being completed removed the search results for 3 days. If that type of penalty were to happen today, that would result in traffic loss of over 71,000 users.

Car manufacturer BMW manipulated the search results to ensure top rankings when users search for “used car†by redirecting the user to a regular BMW page when they clicked on the search results links. Because of this they were hit with a cloaking penalty that resulted in their site being completed removed the search results for 3 days. If that type of penalty were to happen today, that would result in traffic loss of over 71,000 users.
The end lesson here is pretty obvious. For SEO, it pays to play by the rules. Google has a very clear defined list of quality guidelines that if ignored can lead to severe penalties.

SEO, Links, Penalty, Blackhat,

Thanks to digitalthirdcoast for publishing this infographic.