In the past it made perfect sense to market your business any way you could. Any publicity was good publicity and even if people were saying bad things about you, at least they were talking about you. As more entrepreneurs moved their business ventures onto the Internet, they brought with them that same marketing philosophy – who cares what they’re saying, as long as we’re getting the page views. That attitude won’t fly these days, though. These days, you can literally kill your blog with bad marketing practices.
Bad marketing practices are when you use good techniques in ways they aren’t meant to be used in order to get a better page rank or a higher placement on the search engine indexes. These techniques not only mislead the search engines but they mislead the readers as well and they’re a huge obstacle that we all have to overcome. Each time a search engine picks up on these techniques, and each time a reader feels cheated, the reputation of all bloggers is at stake and we all have to work that much harder to earn respect.
When you use bad marketing practices to cheat the system, you’re not only jeopardizing your own reputation, you’re effecting the reputation of every other blogger on the Internet. So pay attention. Here’s how you can kill your blog – and maim all the others in the process – with bad marketing practices.
Keyword abuse: Some bloggers make this mistake inadvertently, but more often than you’d suspect it’s intentional abuse. It’s like opening up the door on your van and offering candy to a kid. Bloggers using keywords to lure unsuspecting readers to their blog is just wrong and every time a reader lands on a page because of it it makes them, and the search engines, that much more suspicious of bloggers.
To make sure you’re not inadvertently guilty of keyword abuse, check your Google Analytics and look at the keywords people are using when they land on the different pages of your blog. It’s possible you mentioned Justin Bieber’s name for some odd reason and even something as simple as that will turn up on the index. One or two mis-used keywords are natural, but flagrant misuse is just plain wrong.
Link spamming: Link spamming has become such a wide-spread tactic that even most bloggers don’t trust other bloggers anymore. Just try to leave a legitimate link in a blog comment and watch your comment get automatically deleted – even if you’re linking to someone else’s blog. The same thing happens in forums. Bloggers using bad marketing tactics join hundreds of forums just so they can pop in on a thread or two, drop a link and run.
When you do this, if you do manage to make your links stick, nobody is going to click on them and you’re jeopardizing the reputation of that blog or forum. You’re making it appear like that blog or forum approves of your spammy link when they probably don’t even realize it’s there. What you don’t realize though is that the search engines can also see all of your irrelevant links. Leave enough of them lying around and you’ll be the one responsible for killing your own blog when the search engines de-index your site.
Email abuse: The number of spammy emails I get each day far outnumbers the number of good emails and it gets worse every day. And bloggers are getting sneakier by the minute. Subject lines that start with “re: your request for…” or “Just wanted to make sure you received this link…” or even “Hey, about that last email you sent me…” are worse than misleading, their out-and-out fraud. Let’s not even talk about the damage you’re doing to your blog’s credibility. Let’s look at how you can literally kill your blog with this bad marketing practice, and potentially shut down an entire industry.
Each time you send one of these mis-leading, spammy emails the reader has 3 choices: They can delete it, they can register a complain with your ESP, or they can report you for spam. If the delete it, that means they won’t be opening any more of your emails. The email service providers are rated by the search engines on the quality of the service they provide, which means they have to monitor their clients’ usage. When they start seeing a lot of unopened emails on your account, red flags go up. When they start seeing a lot of complaints, they’re going to start watching you very closely. And when those spam reports start flying, they’re going to shut down your entire account and report you to the search engines. At that time, you whole site will be under scrutiny and if it’s not up to snuff you’ll be shut down. Not just de-indexed. Your blog will be killed.
Your email service provider will then have to answer to the search engines and they, too, could be in some deep doo-doo if this happens often enough. And do you know what happens to every blog on the planet when Aweber gets shut down? It wouldn’t be a pretty ‘site.’
Bad marketing practices might gain you a few search engine points for the moment, but over the long-haul, what you’re doing is dangerous. You’re undermining the integrity of an entire industry. It’s your choice. But if you want to kill your blog with bad marketing, I’d prefer you find a way to keep mine out of the mix.