Like it or not, digital marketing is here to stay. And if you aren’t prepared to build your own digital marketing strategy, you could quickly fall behind your competition—or lose your business entirely. In today’s financial landscape, you can’t afford to forget about internet marketing, and search engine optimization remains the holy grail of marketing efforts.
Of course, every strategy has a darker, more complicated side. If digital marketing was easy, everyone would win. But the truth is, digital marketing takes work, and consistency is key. Although there are “bad” sides of search engine optimization, there are always answers that help you come out on top. However, not everyone is patient enough to wait for results. Here’s what’s happening on the darker side of digital marketing and how you can avoid falling down a rabbit hole of black hat tactics:
Chances are you’ve seen a spam comment suddenly appear on your blog post before (or perhaps you’ve seen it on other blog posts). The purpose of these spammy comments is to generate backlinks to a particular website. Backlinks are important to Google: they help search crawlers identify the importance and relevance of a particular website or webpage. The more backlinks a page has, the more likely you are to be indexed higher on search engine results pages.
To boost their backlinks, some marketers purchase spam comments in bulk—by the thousands. But this is a useless strategy for multiple reasons. First and foremost, today’s spam filters can eliminate around 99.8% of spam comments, which means you’d be paying for nothing. According to Exults Digital Marketing Agency, link relevancy plays a huge role in how Google categorizes backlinks. If you own a sneaker selling site and a backlink is coming from a comment on a women’s cosmetics site, Google’s algorithms are advanced enough to understand something’s not quite right there. Ultimately, you could end up getting penalized by Google.
Instead of purchasing spam comments, create a user profile on forum websites in your category and niche and take the time to answer questions in your industry. This is a genuine way to build a connection with your audience and get backlinks from relevant sources.
Trademark Infringement in PPC
Digital advertising through paid search has continued to remain an effective strategy for many marketers. Pay-per-click advertising can increase traffic to your website and increase sales. Best of all, you’re able to monitor ad performance in real-time and have complete control over your budget. However, it’s not uncommon to get frustrated when you’re spending money on digital marketing efforts and not getting that ROI you hoped for.
This is where things might get tricky. Some business owners have chosen to focus on slandering competition to detract from their sales, rather than focus on their own. For example, they might create a PPC ad with a microsite that details why their product is superior to the competitor product. However, Google AdWords clearly states in their terms that trademark infringement is unacceptable.
In other cases, the person using shady PPC practices might mention the competitor brand name in the campaign, while directing traffic to their own website. This is exactly what happened to Tipsy Elves, a well-known seller of “ugly” Christmas apparel. Tipsy Elves filed a lawsuit against UglyChristmasSweater.com after the latter company used the “Tipsy Elves” brand name in their campaign, yet sent traffic to their own product pages.
Instead of going against the rules and potentially getting into trouble with Google, consider increasing your PPC budget to get more leads. Of course, throwing more money into your budget wouldn’t work without thorough paid search research, defined goals, and extensive targeting.
There’s no doubt that content is the foundation of your SEO efforts. And SEO is necessary for your business to reach the first page of Google (the majority of people will not go beyond the first page of Google results). Yet, marketers in a rush to reach their SEO goals use dark-side content strategies to help them get there. One of those tactics is article spinning.
Article spinning is the process of taking an existing article and running it through article spinning software to generate a “new” article that isn’t classified as duplicate content to Google. Many bloggers and webmasters use this strategy simply to appeal to Google, and don’t care much for the user experience.
The majority of article spinning programs don’t do a good job of creating new content. Even paid “premium” software can fail. This is largely because these programs cannot discern natural language, and words are often replaced with synonyms that aren’t logical. For example, here’s the former (bolded) sentence run through an article spinner:
“This is to a great extent in light of the fact that these projects can’t perceive characteristic language, and words are frequently supplanted with equivalent words that aren’t consistent.”
As you can see, this text isn’t natural, and certainly doesn’t make sense to the average reader. A person visiting your site would find this content useless, creating a sky-high bounce rate and very low engagement rates. Instead of using article spinner, if you don’t enjoy writing content, turn to affordable freelancing sites like UpWork to hire great writers within your budget.