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Ashley Zeckman

Be Afraid: 33 Scary Online Marketing Tales of SEO, Social Media & Content Marketing

By Ashley Zeckman     Content Marketing, Online Marketing, SEO, Social Media

Scary Online MarketingHappy Halloween to all the online marketing ghosts, ghouls, and goblins out there.

Have you ever heard or received a really bad piece of online marketing advice?  Maybe the recommendation was founded on total hearsay, completely out of date or you discovered that the suggestions actually hurt, rather than helped? Scary! At one time or another we’ve all received the trick and not the treat in our internet marketing candy basket.

In this post you’ll find 20 scary SEO, social media and content marketing tales from the team at TopRank Online Marketing and from our friends on Twitter @TopRank, fans on Lee’s Facebook page and the TopRank Facebook page.

BOO! Scary Stories From the Crypt

1 – Classic scary: “Build great content and it will attract visitors all on it’s own. SEO isn’t necessary for good content to stand out.”

As Lee likes to say, “Great content isn’t great until it gets discovered, consumed and shared.” Competition for attention online is tough and unless efforts are made to promote great content or build social promotion into the content creation itself, there’s a chance it won’t be able to attract the audience it deserves. Great content + smart and relevant promotion = WIN!

2 – Marketing Bandwagon: As people in the SEO community jump on the content marketing bandwagon, many seek advice on how to incorporate content in their search engine centric online marketing mix.  One of the scarier pieces of SEO / Content Marketing advice is: “Content Marketing’s Goal Is Not To Convert Customers Directly, To Acquire Leads Directly, or To Make Sales Directly.”

Sure, you don’t execute a financial transaction for a product within the text of an article, but the “buy this” button is only one click a way. The “contact us” for a lead form is just one click away. Content Marketing is designed specifically create the information customers need to become aware, interested and to consider products and services. Further, content marketing is also designed to specifically influence customer leads, sales and conversion actions. That’s called optimizing across the sales cycle and it’s been around for a very long time.

3 – Keyword Density: “To increase the ranking of web pages in Google, optimize the keyword density of meta description tags.” from a SEO professional.

While meta descriptions are often used in the search snippet displayed in search results, they content of meta descriptions are not a ranking factor according to Google.  Meta descriptions could influence clicks on search results which could lead to other signals affecting ranking, but as a driver of ranking on it’s own? The not so scary advice from Google:  “Even though we sometimes use the description meta tag for the snippets we show, we still don’t use the description meta tag in our ranking.” Matt Cutts, Distinguished Engineer at Google.

SEO Horror Stories From The TopRank Team

halloween scary pumpkins

4 – Lee Odden - The competition is doing (tactic XYZ) so we need to do that too.

5 – Brian Larson – Brand is not important – I’ve heard from several SEO ‘experts’ that there’s no need use your brand name in your onpage copy and meta fields, since people will always be able to find your site if they know your name.

6 – Rob Bayne – The SEO process is complete! It’s finished! There’s no more work necessary.

7 – Shawna Kenyon - Stuff your content full of keywords. This is not only a bad user experience but Google doesn’t really fancy it either.

8 – Sara Duane-Gladden – Why would you need to write keyword optimized webpage content when you can hide keywords in HTML? Just make text the same color as the background or set it to such a tiny size no one can see it. Search engines will love it and people won’t notice it at all.

9 – Thom Craver – Reciprocal linking is where it’s at. I link to you, you link back to me and we’ll both succeed! More links is always better, right?

Terrifying Online Marketing Stories From Fans of @TopRank & our Facebook Fans:

trick or treat

10 – Lisa Barone – Good content doesn’t need to be promoted.

11 – Brian Crouch – Be needlessly controversial! Say things you don’t mean just to get a rise out of people.  Curse-filled comments on a post gets links!

12 – Tammy Emineth – Hey!  You can get 3,000 backlinks for just $9.99.

13 – Josh Peters – There is not such thing as black hat.  Google can’t tell the difference.

14 – Krista Neher – You don’t have to track ROI trust me, engagement just “works”.

15 – Jordan Kasteler – Play hide and seek with keywords for search engines.

16 – Steve Farnsworth – You should tie your content marketing into hot memes to drive tons of (unqualified) traffic to your website.

17 – Amanda Maksymiw – We should just do whatever we did last year.

18 – Phil Gomes – Social media is just another channel.

19 – Carolyn Shelby - We dont’ need a website.  We have a Facebook Page.

20 – Dave Roher - So we had the designer put all of the content in the image.  Doesn’t that page look great?

21 – Wendy Bauer Piersall – Don’t worry about (Not Provided) because it will only be 5% or so of your search engine traffic.

22 – Patricia Skinner – Ah, that would be the advice to use link building software. Hands down the scariest SEO advice ever.

23 – Lydia Fabry Mazorol – “We think it would be well advised for us to get the link building [spammers] we’ve been paying to add us to directories and random sites for years and now pay them to clean up that mess!” #pay?!!!

24 – Andrea Sodergren Vahl – “Just add a whole bunch of keywords in white lettering” :)

25 – Robyn Green Tippins – Just keep tweeting the sale link. People like that.

26 – Becky Ryan – “Oh we tried to do that Social Media, and we were doing great until Matt Cutts said Google hates. My boss stopped all of us and after that my phone crashed, so I have been on twitter for months”

27 – Carri Bugbee – You can get 10k Twitter followers for just $5! [BTW, you actually can. They just happen to be fake.]

28 – Brian Crouch – “Be needlessly controversial! Say things you don’t mean just to get a rise out of people! Curse-filled comments on a post gets links! ”

29 – Tammy Emineth – “Hey! I can get 3000 backlinks for just $9.99!”

30 – Ross Dunn – Most recently it was an affiliate “Guru” posting to all of his followers delight that it is a good idea to buy comment link building services through Fiverr. I nearly lost my lunch.

31 – Josh Peters – “There is no such thing as black hat. Google can’t tell the difference.”

32 – Patrick Garmoe – Our yellow pages company said they could handle all our online marketing for far less than you charge.

33 – Jayme Westervelt – “It’s too risky to optimize your site by adding Title Tags and descriptions. Google will penalize you, so instead we concentrate on inbound links via a network of sites my friend owns.”

A lot of people that are learning about SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing may find it difficult to tell the difference between scary and smart when it comes to online marketing advice. Our advice is to connect with a trusted and experienced resource or better a network of resources that you can bounce ideas off of. Test things for yourself and be involved with the industry and you’ll soon be able to see how many zombie marketers there really are.

Those are some pretty dark online marketing tales.  What are yours?

Image credits via Shutterstock: Scary StoryPumpkinTrick or Treat.


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