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Category: SEO

SEO IF DONE WRONG CAN KILL YOUR BUSINESS.

If you have a business, and you run a website for that purpose, you already have a great idea about the importance of SEO. Yes, SEO when used in a proper way can turn your business upside down, for good. Your website gets a lot of visibility and thus referrals, which leads to profit at the end of the day. But, have you ever thought that what would happen to your business, if there is any wrong step is incorporated in the SEO process? I am pretty sure that you think it won’t matter that much. That is where you are wrong! SEO if done in the wrong way, can kill your website. Something exactly like this happened with JC Penney. Let us talk about the JC Penney Black Hat case today.

JC Penney was a departmental store company, and it was not just any departmental store, but had a big set-up! With more than 1,000 stores and $17.8 billion in total revenue in 2010, Penney was certainly a major player in American retailing. The departmental stores had a great location and they used to be the middle-income family’s favorite, especially for men’s and women’s apparel, children’s clothing and household goods and commodities. Once, a family went there and shopped for men’s and women’s apparel and JC Penney made a profit from that, accounting nearly for half of their sales! Thus, we can easily draw the point that it was a big name in the American market at a point of time. But, then what actually went wrong? Let’s now talk about that, shall we?

Okay, now if someone types “dresses”, “bedding”, “area rugs”, “home decor”, or “furniture”, what will be the very first result? You could imagine multiple contenders for each of these searches. But, throughout the 2010 holiday season, JC Penney was suspiciously at the top of Google’s organic search rankings for nearly every product imaginable! Seems quite unbelievable right? Let’s see how that happened. 

Link Building SEO Strategy is one of the best ways to improve a site’s online performance is to get other websites to link to it. Therefore, the more backlinks that your site can get, the better it will rank. Now, let us dig deeper to find out JC Penney’s Link Building Scheme. Keeping in mind the importance of linking on website ranking, they can be bought and sold. This is exactly what JC Penney was doing! 

Everything was going smooth, until the New York Times got to know about this. The New York Times found out that around 2,015 other websites linked to the portion of JC Penney’s website dedicated to dresses. The vast majority of these links came from websites that had nothing else (Dummy Sites). Further investigations found out that the owners of these sites were being paid to host these links. Finally JC Penney was exposed by the New York Times. This is where everything started to go downhill!

In 2020, JC Penney filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection and announced the closure of many stores across the country. This is how such a business mafia-like JC Penney had gone down. JC Penney was even successful to overpass the Depression phase in the business cycle, but ultimately a factor like SEO ruined them. That is why it is said, you should never take anything lightly. Incorporating SEO in your business is a great step to take it forward and is definitely a great leap to grow your business, but if you are using it the wrong way, it can cost you even the last of your penny!

At this point, Google intervened. Google came down hard on JC Penney for their black hat link building scheme. JC Penney’s online ranking, for some keywords, fell from number one to well past the fifth page. 

JC Penney’s response to the penalty was, of course, to let go of its online marketing firm and claim ignorance of their practices. Google and other search engines caught up with the practice and honed their algorithms. Now, backlinks from sites of disrepute can actually penalize the website getting the backlink. 

So, we see that incorporating and implementing a proper SEO strategy is important. Excessive greed for anything can result in a huge loss, so it is always better to go slow but steady! After all, our ancestors who wrote such valuable quotes knew the adversity that was going to fall on the whole of mankind, in one way or another!

TOP 6 SEO TOOLS THAT YOU NEED IN 2021

SEO used to be more of a hidden process, a few decades back. The makers of a website did not let the idea of SEO come out just like that. Just to mention, SEO used to be quite a simple process back then, but with the advancement of technology, a lot of common people got involved in online marketing tactics and they got to know about all the hidden jewels! SEO was the most important of them all. Now, to talk about the methods involved in SEO, it has developed to be a little complex for the common people. This has primarily happened due to the fierce competition in the same niche. SEO requires a lot of patience and expertise, but what really can help you with that would be a concrete SEO strategy and some great SEO tools available in the market.

SEO tools? Did you not know about that? Well, they do exist and make your work 10 times more easy. You may wonder, why even go for SEO tools when you can do everything in the organic way, if you dedicate proper time and attention? Well, not everything can be done that way! There are definitely some reasons as to why you should use SEO tools. Let’s get going with those:

  • You can keep a track on your competitors, without crossing the ethical border
  • You can easily backlink your profile, which is established as a hectic job to do.
  • Keyword research and analyzation results are more accurate
  • You can save a lot of time and money on Manual SEO Audits
  • Finding high-yielding and converting keywords for content marketing becomes easier
  • You can track your own SEO progress and KPIs.
  • You can easily visualize and conceptualize the data, which makes it even more interesting
  • Client communication becomes easier.

Now, you know how important it is to use SEO tools. Still, exploring your way through SEO is hard, especially when you are just starting! Don’t worry! I have collated a list of SEO tools that will make your job easier and ease down your task; you just have to figure out which one works the best for your business. Lets not keep you waiting any longer and bring out to you the best SEO tools that can change the dynamics of your business!

  1. Ahrefs: SEO Keyword Tool
  • This digital marketing tool provides valuable information about backlinks and SEO.
  • It offers SEO features like ranking monitoring and keyword tools.
  • Ahrefs backlink checker has one of the largest databases of live links.
  • Free Learning materials and a passionate Community and support.
  1. Google Search Console

A PR DISASTER: UNITED BREAKS GUITAR

Have you ever faced bad customer service? I am sure that most of us, in our lifetimes have faced a rude attendant at the customer care! But, have you ever thought that a small music video can make them realize their mistake and change their marketing tactics? Seems a little unbelievable right? Well, something like that happened back in 2008 with the United Airlines, which literally made them change their whole marketing tactics and hire some well-mannered attendants and employees! Let’s get going with this interesting story.

In 2008, Dave Carroll, a Canadian guitarist and songwriter, flew with United Airlines from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Omaha, Nebraska. During the layover at O’Hare airport, a fellow passenger shouted “My God! They are throwing guitar out of there!”. The passenger saw that the baggage handlers were throwing baggage including Carroll’s precious guitar. At this point, Carroll and his other band members looked out where the baggages were being unloaded, they immediately recognized the guitar. They were literally shook by this incident, they were terrified, as to why would someone behave in that manner! 

When they arrived in Omaha, the singer found that his $3500 Taylor guitar was broken. But, it was not a small incident that Carroll could just let go. The United Airlines were unaware of the fact that a customer service nightmare was about to barge in like a tsunami wave! For the next nine months, Carroll tried every avenue he could at United, but his claim was rejected at every turn. Everytime, the response was a “No” or “Sorry, we can’t help regarding this matter”. They came up with excuses like Carroll waited more than 24 hours to launch the complaint, so nothing can be done. Carroll tirelessly tried everything he could, like phone calls, emails, written letters, but nothing really helped. He even suggested that the Airlines gave him $1200 flight vouchers instead of the money for the guitar, to compensate for his loss, but they did not pay any heed to any of Carroll’s requests. 

In this situation, helpless Carroll wrote a song, being a songwriter really helped him get through this. Carroll, along with his band, made a humorous video to go with the song and posted it on Youtube on July 6, 2009. The song was titled “United Breaks Guitar”. The video went viral. Now, all the people mouthed the song “United Breaks Guitar”. The video has more than 100 million views on Youtube as of now! 

After 15 lakh plus views on Youtube, of this video, within a day, United Airlines did realise their mistake and they were ready to compensate. They contacted Dave Carroll and offered payments to make the video go away. But Dave was not ready to do that. He even suggested that they could donate the money to charity. It was not about the money anymore. 

A Tsunami of bad public relations blew them out. Very soon the newspapers and news broadcast media, across North America were doing stories about the song. They were quick to pick up on the news and the song got a lot of exposure and publicity. There were thousands of copy and dedicated v videos made on the song and it helped to spread out the negativity even further. Now everyone got to know about this and United Airlines were regretting the blunder they made! The negativity spread so much so that a huge percentage of the population boycotted the services of the United Airlines and those who continued, did that half heartedly. Had United Airlines accepted the offer of Dave for the $1200 free flight vouchers, it wouldn’t have cost them such a huge loss!   

The BBC reported that United’s stock price dropped by 10% within three to four weeks of the release of the video- a decrease in the valuation of $180 million. Clearly, Dave won this battle and United Airlines was the loser!

Even the Taylor guitarist protested. When they got to know about this, they gave Dave a new Taylor guitar and they did spread the fire on their Youtube channel as well. This only agitated the public even more and penalised the United Airlines even better. The United Airlines was clearly the loser and they could do nothing about it.


The world that we currently reside in has the power which can break everything and that is the power of social media. It should not only be about the fear, but also about your own moral and ethical reasoning. What is wrong, is wrong and you can’t get away with that. 

For all the service providers, the lesson is clear- treat complaining customers with respect. Being rude and ignorant can cost you much more than you think. Carroll produced and posted two more songs in a “United Breaks Guitars” trilogy.

For all the marketers, the lesson is that the viral video is a potent opportunity and a potent threat. Remember, that in communication, humor and ridicule are formidable tools. Take a lesson from this particular incident and incorporate the needed strategies in your business.

DOMINO’S SOCIAL MEDIA CRISIS

With the highly advanced digital marketing strategies in today’s world, social media has been interpreted and established as the most important aspect of the marketing strategies. But, social being such a vast platform, has a lot of branches and diverse users and it basically is an encompassing platform. Due to this, a crisis may often arise when branding and advertising processes are taken into consideration and the companies are well prepared to combat the crisis that may arise. But, it was not all the same scenario when we rewind back to the past few decades. Social media crisis has been there even before you think it was, such a crisis arose for our all time favorite, Domino’s Pizza! Seems hard to believe right? Well, it is true! Let’s dive straight into the story!

In 2009, before Domino’s Pizza even had a presence on most of the social media platforms, they found themselves in a situation that launched them into a viral attack. But, what really landed them into such a problem? Well, two Domino’s Pizza employees in North Carolina, filmed a “prank” video in the restaurant’s kitchen and decided to post it online. In the video posted on the social media platforms, a Domino’s employee prepared sandwiches for delivery while putting cheese up in his nose, which violated health-code standards. The video went viral, almost instantly and a huge social media crisis was the result. It was such a big deal back then, you can’t even imagine! 

The employees told the executives that they never actually delivered the tainted food, still Domino’s fired the two employees. But, it was such a big crisis and it seemed far from being over or resolved.

We, the customers are the constant factor in all the businesses. A lot has changed, with the advancement of ages and technologies, but we are the constant factor and we will be the constant one. To please us is a tough job to do, but to offend us, it is as easy as cutting a piece of paper with a pair of scissors! People really don’t change, the ideas, mode of advertising, trending topics, and everything else may change but the nature and characteristics of human beings doesn’t change. We are quick to act to the negative things and we take time to absorb in the positive ones. Taking all these psychological factors into consideration is important before developing a social media crisis plan, but back in 2009, Domino’s was not well-acquainted with these factors so they landed in a huge problem and it took a lot of time to resolve this issue. Now, let’s see how Domino’s responded to this problem.

Initially there was a response by Domino’s regarding this problem. They issued a Press Release, denying distribution of contaminated food. But, unfortunately, this was an ineffective response, catered towards the wrong audience, since the crisis emerged from social media. 

But, Domino’s didn’t just give up! They took into consideration such factors that literally changed the dynamics and made Domino’s what it is today! Domino’s is a popular favorite of the youth, and it became so by developing some special strategies. Let’s take a peek into that.

Domino’s ultimately addressed the crisis situation via social media. Let’s see what they did:

  • Patrick Doyle, the President of Domino’s USA, read an apologetic response.
  • He also reassured that the North Carolina kitchen was closed and thoroughly disinfected.
  • Domino’s also created a Twitter account, @dpzinfo, to address the comments.

But, that was not it! They incorporated certain strategies as well that helped them to regain the trust and build the brand name. 

Domino’s Pizza learned that it is very important to keep in touch with the media web community at all times. They started a Pizza Turnaround campaign to acknowledge the problems they were facing and reinvent their pizza, along with extensive media coverage, documentaries, promotions, advertising, etc. 

So, from this incident and crisis of Domino’s back in 2009, we get to learn that we should be well prepared for any unforeseen danger and such attacks! But, how to deal with it? How to plan a work of action in case of any such crisis? Luckily, there are a few concrete steps that the companies can take to defend against the unprovoked attacks.

So, learn from the mistake that Domino’s made and try to incorporate the good things and strategies that they put into action. Your social media crisis plan is a very important strategy, that each and every company should take into consideration. Such dangers do not come with a flash warning but we can definitely do things and combat all the red flags and hurdles. So, make sure to learn from Domino’s and make your company a better one and be well-prepared!

SHOULD GOOGLE PAY NEWS PUBLISHERS?

Google has made our lives a lot easier. To be brutally honest, one just can’t function with Google nowadays, it literally has answers to all your problems. Looking for the perfect restaurant for your date? Google it! Looking for a tailor? Just Google it! But, can you imagine your life without Google? Seems like a joke right? After all, Google can never go anywhere!   That is the inquisitive reality Australians have been anticipating since Google threatened to shut its universal search engine in their country last month.Even, recently Google temporarily blocked certain Australian media content to some users in the country. Google, though, announced it as a test run but it was definitely a show of force. Let us now dive deep into this matter and get to know the root cause behind it.

Australia is all set to introduce a law that would force companies like Google and Facebook to pay media companies for their news content. On July 31, 2020, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or ACCC released its draft News Media Bargaining Code. It has been two years since the Australian Government is working to incorporate the News Media Bargaining Code. 

Now, let’s talk about the News Media Bargaining Code in detail. This Code will be applicable to Google and Facebook only for the time being, other companies will be added later. Google and Facebook now would have to pay news websites whose links are showing up in their platforms, including Facebook News Feed, Instagram, Facebook News Tab, Google Search, Google News and Google Discover. The aim behind this was to regulate negotiations, mostly between the digital and e-commerce companies and the new start-ups. After a lot of negotiations, The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission passed the code which was a compulsion to be followed by all the digital and tech companies. Now, these companies needed to inform the publishers or sources of these content about any changes in the search feeds. They needed to pay these companies for the content. 

But, How do you think Google would have reacted? Let’s get to know that as well. 

Google said that, while it supports the idea, the way the Government is trying to achieve this goal would break the way Google Search works. Google argued that the News Media Bargaining Code would “force” the company to give an unfair advantage to news media business. In a parliamentary meeting,  on January 22, 2021, Google said that “no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia.” The law could “put our free services at risk” should bigger news companies start to make onerous demands. 

Google now threatened to remove its search engine from Australia if the new digital news code, that makes tech giants pay for content, comes into action and is enforced as a law by the Government. Facebook too has threatened to remove news from its feed for all Australians. Google also blocked 1% of the Australian users from viewing local news, stories in their searches. 

However, all of these have not deterred the Australian Government which has said it does not respond well to threats. Australia is still firmly standing with its code and is hoping to soon turn that into a law. 

Can all this really set a global precedent? Australian Senator told Google :”It’s going to go worldwide. Are you going to pull out of every market, are you?” But, Google and Facebook are based in the US and the US government has urged Australia not to “rush” the new law, warning that it is “extraordinary” and may have “long-lasting negative consequences”. This may now even lead to a digital crisis and strained relations between the US and Australia. 

But, will Google really leave Australia? Google has left a country before due to local laws. In 2014, the company shut down Google news in Spain in response to a law forcing Google to pay to the publishers and source of the media and content. Google has been largely unavailable in mainland China since a row in 2010 over alleged Chinese hacking. There is also a difference- but similar-row happening in Europe. 

But in France the scenario was different. Google agreed to pay the French Publishers for their news after the country’s competition regulator issued a ruling required to do so last year. Google said it would negotiate individual licenses with members of a media lobby group after months of negotiations.

If Google really removes it’s facilities from the worldwide market, how would the world function? The Youtubers, influencers and all the digital workers would literally lose their jobs! Besides that, our lives would be difficult. When searching for anything, we would have to refer to boring books. It won’t be as simple as Googling it!

But honestly, it’s a wait and watch game. Google has a near-monopoly status in the search market, and that the government’s main reason for the law is that it wants Google and Facebook to do “satisfactory commercial agreements” with australian news media businesses. Analytics say that the law in Australia could set the precedence for regulators in other countries in dealing with Big Tech. What do you think? Should Australia go ahead with this code?