Chief Marketing Officers should connect the dots on three recent Search Engine Optimization (SEO) articles. The first being the NY Times article on how JC Penney’s SEO link building scheme collapsed and the resulting SEO performance drop. Soon after, Overstock.com’s paid link building scheme also unraveled. Then on Friday, Google announced changes to its search engine algorithm to fight against low value content sites such as eHow.
Chief Marketing Officers should be noting that years of SEO investment by these companies were literally wiped away in hours. If SEO investment were an asset on these companies balance sheet, they would be disclosing huge earnings write downs. In addition to the SEO drop, these companies also receive a brand hit as they have been called out as cheaters and spammers.
The bottom line is that Google is trying to connect people to outstanding, original and relevant content. The SEO link building schemes and low value content approaches were working on the premise that they could disguise their flimsy content from Google. Sooner or later, these schemes inevitably have to collapse like Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme.
On the other hand, if these companies had invested in great content over the past few years, they would benefit from not only an improved SEO position but also from a more positive interaction with prospective customers. In the end, all efforts to trick Google or a prospective customer are going to end badly. If you haven’t been caught yet, you will be. However, it is not too late to start focusing on a sustainable SEO strategy built upon great content.