5 SEO Scary Stories Gone Wrong

Social Media Agency

Online marketing for companies of all sizes revolves around search engine optimization (SEO) services. Because web marketing is such a dynamic field, rankings rise and fall regularly. All your efforts for your brand are on one side, and SEO is on the other side. If something goes wrong with your SEO, your entire brand name will be affected. Therefore, it is best to hire SEO professionals or digital marketing agencies to take care of your brand’s SEO.

Even a tiny misspelling can ruin your website’s reputation and drive away potential customers. For better understanding, we have complied SEO horror stories of 5 such brands that faced the after-effects of a faulty SEO strategy.

5 SEO Scary Stories Gone Wrong

1. Melissa Agnes’ Entrepreneur

Melissa Agnes remembers an entrepreneur’s encounter with a black hat SEO firm. Black hat SEO is the negative side of SEO which is known for its cheap services.

People who don’t recognize the difference between white and black hat SEO are at risk of being cheated!

Where White Hat SEO is excellent and just what you need, Black hat SEO = Google hates it and will penalize you for sure. Black hat SEO can quickly destroy a company, but it is still attractive because of the low price that it offers.

Agnes’ anonymous entrepreneur had been using a dubious SEO firm. This SEO firm contacted the entrepreneur and requested to take care of the entrepreneur’s online presence out of nowhere.

The entrepreneur, however, was brilliant and hence, identified the company’s black hat methods. In an instant, he told them to undo everything. They refused to do so, resulting in the entrepreneur submitting reviews warning other websites about the SEO firm’s unscrupulous practices. His bad luck was that he chose the incorrect opponent.

As soon as the reviews went live, the entrepreneur started getting threatening calls and messages to remove the reviews. The entrepreneur denied and this caused the SEO firm to ruin the entrepreneur’s business. The SEO firm then posted general negative reviews on the entrepreneur’s website, significantly harming his brand’s reputation!

2. Brad Gerlach

Brad is a website developer who wanted to do his SEO due to a lack of funds to hire a professional. Brad just knew a couple of things about SEO. First, SEO can increase his website traffic, and second, SEO can raise his brand’s awareness online. What Brad didn’t know was about white hat and black hat SEO and their consequences.

What was his worst blunder?

Wasn’t The Tortoise and the Hare a good lesson? White hat SEO takes time. Months. What Brad wanted were quick results. He scoured black hat SEO blogs that focus on how a few people did black hat SEO and never got reprimanded for the same. He learned to spin articles and build paid links. The results were terrific for a while.

Google’s Penguin algorithm update sank all paid-link sites. Gerlach’s website vanished from search results. He was Google-less. His previously profitable methods were now his ruin.

The scariest part of this story is that this can happen to anybody. SEO takes time, and in today’s times, everybody wants to see quick results and progress. 

It is always better to hire a digital marketing agency that can professionally take care of all your SEO needs!

3. Trolling Motors

Andrew Youderian, an eCommerce site builder, has one of the best dirty SEO stories we’ve heard. His first site, which he launched in 2008, was a hit, so he decided to try it again in 2009.

However, this time he hired a third-party company to handle the SEO. But as his business took off, he became less concerned about keeping a tight check on them to ensure they behaved nicely.

Doesn’t that sound wonderful to you? He forgot to keep an eye on his SEO staff because the website was snowballing.

That is not the case. The SEO agency went a little over-the-board without Youderian’s careful eye to keep them in check. As a result, there was a lot of duplicated anchor text throughout the site. Links were also purchased and spammed. Google’s Penguin update was the icing on the cake, as far as search engine optimization was concerned.

Google’s ranking for “trolling motors” had dropped from #2 to #10 during the Penguin update. The man was startled and disgusted, and he was enraged.

Even after all these years, Youderian is still dealing with the fallout from hiring that shady SEO service. Because of his previous success, he was confident in his abilities this time around. He warns other business owners about the hazards of outsourcing SEO based on his own experience. If you want anything done correctly, you may have to take on the task on your own.

This narrative has a different meaning for us. Not everyone will learn SEO as quickly as Youderian, and attempting it on your own might be just as damaging as hiring a dodgy firm to handle it for you.

A professional SEO service will be far more advantageous in the long run if you have any worries about your ability to optimize your site (and comprehend the difference between optimized and OVERoptimized).

4. BMW

BMW, a well-known car manufacturer, was taking advantage of doorway pages and other black-hat strategies. It is common practice to optimize doorway pages so that they rank well in Google. By using keywords and flashy phrases, these pages are optimized for search engines. They contain fast meta refreshes that send users back to the original web page they were initially looking for.

As soon as Google learned about the issue, it penalized the site by reducing its domain authority (“DA”) to zero. The penalty was immediate. It helped BMW get higher rankings for popular queries like “used car” because of this strategy.

In the long run, using unethical SEO practices will harm your site. They are not only dishonest; they will also end up costing you in the long run. Every day, Google engineers are hard at work tweaking their search algorithm and keeping an eye out for unethical tactics. You’ll need months to recover if your website is compromised.

5. Overstock

That’s correct; you did hear correctly. For two months in 2011, Overstock was barred from ranking for its brand name even though it was an excellent site to buy Halloween lights and imitation pumpkins. Because of the severity of their penalty, they were unable to appear in the search results for their brand name for two complete months. 

Wow, this is a real-life horror show in terms of SEO! In exchange for backlinks with very particular anchor texts, they started offering discounts to schools! Was there something wrong with them that they did to deserve this?

Aren’t these stories scary and surprising at the same time? Had a professional SEO agency been in place, all those complications could have been avoided. Hence, SEO can be overwhelming when you have to do it by yourself. Therefore, it is always recommended to hire a professional to do your SEO.


Get actionable insights and ideas every week.

Learn how to reach new audiences, showcase your brand’s expertise, retain clients, and boost overall sales.

Recent Posts

Need a help? Don’t
worry just contact us


Get actionable insights and ideas every week.

Learn how to reach new audiences, showcase your brand’s expertise, retain clients, and boost overall sales.