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In the rush to get every consumer eyeball on their site, we are starting to see more instances of companies that are willing to align themselves with not so great people/vapid stars in order to boost their own Web presence/SEO. I won’t go into too many specifics here because we all know of some company that has done this, but I’ll be frank here: An attempt by companies to align/partner with wanna-be celebrities that have terrible reputations or utilize shady social media marketing opportunism practices purely to build Web traffic and SEO for their company is NOT a strategy.
It’s just awful marketing practices, and something all of us need to take a long, hard look at and work to stop.
Here’s the problem that I see with this in terms of SEO: Does YourCompany.com really want every linkback and blog post written about it to be a negative reference to its association with this vapid wanna-be celeb or terrible tragedy? Or a nasty call out from Mediaite, PR Newser and other media news and gossip sites?? Yeah, these tie-ins with pseudo celebs boost those companies’ SEO, but in the long run, these shady practices and links sticks around . . . forever. And it will take a massive amount of good ink and good links to make up for the very negative stuff that has subsequently been written about your company.
How exactly does that enhance your company’s brand?
And when the negative blog posts, tweets and online rumor mills do heat up about your company’s shady SEO efforts—which, make no mistake, they will—you have now allowed the AdAge’s, Mediaite’s and others to control consumer awareness and the public’s sentiment/perception of your company. And that is most definitely not a wise social media or PR 2.0 strategy.
Building SEO is a tremendous objective to achieve, but there is a very good reason that many smart minds within the PR/marketing/social media space believe SEO should be built organically: It’s because if you don’t take a long-term outlook to this and try to build good SEO—based on your company’s own merits—you are left with negative links that stick around forever, negative blog posts about your company that do drive traffic to your site—just not the kind you were looking for—and you give consumers a negative preconceived notion of your company’s value.
Not exactly the type of quality SEO anyone should be seeking. Bottom line: Even with the conveniences and immediacy of the Web, you still have to do right for everyone and be a moral company. That, my friends, will never go away, no matter how Web-centered our lives become.
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