The Downside of Overly Aggressive SEO Strategies


You’re probably already familiar with the words “Penguin” and “Panda“. Not because you’re a zoologist, but because you’re a small business marketer with a finger on Google’s algorithmic pulse.

Whenever Google (see Matt Cutts) put out any changes to their algorithms, you know exactly what they mean and how they affect your website. You’re not worried because you’ve been doing things the right way. Writing and curating content, publishing it, promoting it, etc. Good stuff.

A lot of small business marketers and other marketing professionals experience the exact opposite. They go into a tizzy because they’re websites have been directly affected in a detrimental way (i.e. lower rankings, less traffic) by these changes. They shouldn’t be too surprised. After all, these algorithm changes have everything to do with rewarding relevancy and penalizing those who take advantage of best practices by abusing them or using them maliciously, a.k.a. black-hat optimization.

I recently read an article on UpStart Business Journal detailing the extreme downside to having an overly aggressive link-building strategy. In the article, Vladimir Gendelman, the founder and CEO of Company Folders describes how he put all of his SEO strategy eggs into one basket by building a massive cache of irrelevant inbound links to his website using a link farm.

Vladimir was seeing great results in the form of high rankings and traffic, yet he knew he had built a house of cards. In the blink of an eye, Google released Penguin and his organic traffic numbers from Google dropped by 76% and his overall site traffic dropped by 64%.

SEO Strategy Lessons Learned

In the end, Vladimir admitted his mistake. This was a good business move on his part because every good CEO/CMO make mistakes, but the great ones learn from them and make their strategies better, more air-tight, avoiding future issues.

Vladimir demonstrated this by doing more of what Google is looking for: content marketing using ethical, white-hat SEO techniques:

“In expanding our marketing plan, we created the Company Folders blog, which provides our audience with helpful facts, tips and tutorials. We also began writing articles for other publications and increasing our outreach on forums and external blogs.”

Atta boy Vladimir! Now you’re building relevant, inbound links the right way – writing stellar content that is useful, valuable, and unique. This content has a high viral coefficient, meaning it can be shared easily, creating more and more inbound social links (which Google loves). A new page of content on a small business website receives on average 55 new unique website visitors each month (Source: Also, companies with blogs get 55% more website traffic, and that number goes up exponentially whether you post once a week, twice a week, and then up to several times a day – wherein you become a thought leader in your field (HubSpot eBook).

Looking back, Vladimir said, “These changes led to a vast improvement across all fronts. Last May was our most successful month to date in terms of revenue. Our clients are happier with the products and service they receive (and refer us to others), while our employees are proud to be a part of a more stable, successful company. We’ve even gotten an increase in our traffic from Google! Not the same levels of traffic as before, mind you, but it’s steadily growing.

Long-Term SEO Strategies Using BoostSuite Pay Off

BoostSuite only uses SEO strategies that are long-term and safe for reliable traffic growth.

In fact, small business marketers who adjusted their websites to comply with basic search engine guidelines using BoostSuite increased website visitors on average by 214% and purchases on average by 146%. (Source:


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