I was reading a copy of the Inc. 500 issue on my flight back from Dallas this weekend and came across an article about a seasonal online retailer that was “penalized” right before the Holidays for paid links. He estimated the revenue loss due to plummeting organic search visibility at $4 million in sales. Now he’s “thanking” Google for the spanking because he’s mended his ways and is reborn as a social media enthusiast.
I’m not sure I buy the “social media has turned things around” story exactly, but I do wonder how many companies and consultants roll the dice and take shortcuts and loopholes to get ahead only to find out later it’s worthless? The notion of paid links is an old story (Paid Links Evil? Dec 2005) but many of the tactics used to shortcut results for SEO will always be a fresh topic of discussion.