It’s time to fish out the face paint and pumpkin carving set, because the spookiest time of year is almost upon us once again.
The winds are becoming sharper and colder, while the trees have been stripped of their branches and the skies remain permanently overcast. More importantly, black hat SEO companies continue to lurk in the shadows, waiting for the opportune moment to insidiously strike out and become your own living nightmare.
That’s right- when SEO isn’t done right, you can feel as though you’ve come face to face with a real-life Freddy Kruger. There is no escape… and the results can be absolutely catastrophic.
These SEO horror stories are not for the faint-hearted. You have been warned.
Night of the Missing Redirects
Listen closely, children, and gather round to hear a story full of woe, disaster and regret. More specifically, to hear a story that ended up costing Toys R Us a cool £3.5 million.
It all started out just like any other day, until the retail giants decided to purchase the domain “Toys.com” in an attempt to tighten their grip on the search engines. Of course, this was a fantastic opportunity for them to establish a stranglehold on toy related search terms, but sadly disaster was lurking just around the corner.
When finally launching the new site, they forgot to add 301 redirects for all of their existing URLs, meaning that years of search engine authority were suddenly scattered to the winds, and Toys R Us suddenly found themselves in the deepest, darkest depths of the SERPs. After losing years of hard work, it’s fair to say this mistake will haunt those responsible for years to come.
We all know how the Toys R Us story ended. And we all know it wasn’t pretty.
The Poltergeist Pages
Sometimes the most frightening things can come in the smallest sizes.
This particularly horrifying tale revolves around Mark Monroe, an SEO expert trying to figure out why his friend’s web traffic had taken such a dramatic dip. The website in question was for a company called iFly, and they’d seen an unbelievable drop in traffic in just a matter of days.
What could have caused such a disaster? What sort of evil forces were at play here? Well, it turns out that a tiny, almost imperceptible line of code was responsible. This code had been entered on every single page of the website, and made the pages invisible to the search engines.
This line of code essentially turned the pages into phantoms and ghouls, making it impossible for Google to index them and ultimately sabotaging all of iFly’s SEO progress. Living proof that even the smallest mistake can have massive consequences, and this particular issue took months to repair. The stuff of nightmares.
Let The Right One’s In…
When you’re outsourcing your SEO, you need to make sure you’re dealing with an honest, reputable company you can rely on. You don’t just trust them to improve your rankings and web traffic, you always want to know they’re going about their work in the right way. Obviously, this means you have to be careful of who you let into the back-end of your site.
Andrew Youderian found this out the hard way, after he entrusted an SEO agency to take care of his brand-new website, Trolling Motors. He endeavoured to keep an eye on them and to make sure they did everything by the book, but business was soon booming, and he inevitably became distracted by other responsibilities.
Eventually, the Penguin update arrived, and all of the SEO company’s outdated practises were laid bare for all to see. After using spammy links and anchor text, Trolling Motors soon found itself on a rankings descent, crashing down from position 2 to 10 in no time at all.
The result was an 80% loss of traffic and one very angry business owner.
Make sure you don’t endure a nightmare this Halloween, and get in touch with the best SEO agency Manchester has to offer. Anything other than the best can turn into a real horror show.