As digital marketing experts, we’ve heard countless stories of SEO gone wrong—and why some have sworn off search engine optimization altogether.
With Halloween upon us, Hennessey Digital presents our real SEO horror stories to terrify, shock, and entertain.
Scary Story 1: The SEO Ghost
“At conferences, I get the chance to talk with people and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard them say they’ve worked with an SEO agency, only to have invested in a plan to build out a website and then they never hear from the vendor again! It’s horrifying that companies would treat people like this.”
–Brian Mossman, Director of Sales
Scary Story 2: The Nefarious Links
“In a previous job, I learned a lot the hard way when our digital marketing agency kept building questionable links from private blog networks to our website. We were happy with our improving rankings and traffic, until one day Google hit us with a manual action and completely removed our website from their search results! We then spent the next 3 weeks undoing those links and filing disavows with Google until the penalty was removed, all with almost no help from our agency.”
–Scott Shrum, President & COO
Scary Story 3: The Hostage Situation
“A friend of mine owns his own business and got tied in with an agency to build his website and Google My Business page, handle Google reviews, and generate leads. He was happy with the results until he realized one day that he couldn’t access anything. In talking with the agency, he discovered they had essentially held everything hostage, stating that they owned everything, even the reviews. The agency demanded to be bought out or my friend would have to walk away and start completely over.”
–Rob Coleman, Director of Business Development
Scary Story 4: The Phantom Expert
“When talking with potential clients, the most uncomfortable conversation is when they say they’ve read SEO advice on a blog … somewhere. There are too many non-professionals giving poor advice out there on the internet. Be careful who you trust! It can definitely lead to nightmares with many so-called “SEO experts” saying things without context or experience.”
–Matt McLean, VP of Operations
Scary Story 5: The Fatal Error
“One of the things that makes me cringe is when people accidentally have their staging environment indexed on Google. This can create a lot of cannibalization and duplicate content problems and can really tank a website if left indexed too long. I can do a Google search right now and see that there are almost 5 million results indexed on Google for a randomly selected site that probably shouldn’t be. And this example is just by quickly diagnosing one hosting company!”
–Jason Hennessey, Founder & CEO
SEO doesn’t have to be scary
We hope you enjoyed these spooky stories, and rest assured that even though it sounds scary (and these stories are proof), SEO doesn’t have to be a nightmare.
Our team at Hennessey Digital doesn’t take shortcuts with SEO. In fact, we actually look forward to Google algorithm updates. We’re passionate about what we do and are determined to achieve clients’ goals with SEO and digital marketing services that make sense, in plain English. (No scary language here!)
What scares you about SEO? Have any SEO horror stories to tell us? Share it on social using #ScarySEOStories and tag Hennessey Digital!