Nightmare on SEO Street

Gather ‘round the campfire, dear reader, and prepare yourself for tales that will make your bones shudder and your hair stand on end. In honor of Halloween, Energy Circle will be sharing spooky online marketing stories that will frighten you into never making these mistakes. So step into your costumes, prepare your candy bowl, and get ready for the fright of the Halloween season.

Backlinks from Mars

Results had been minimal. Work had been maximum. There was nowhere left to run.

It was the night of a full moon when a young marketer decided it was time to research her client’s domain authority. She had pulled out every trick and treat in her bag to achieve more traffic and had eerily seen a decrease in past months. With her stress at an all-time high, she checked Open Site Explorer. Everything appeared to be in order — domain authority was still the same and the number of pages on site was accurate... but what was this, 30,000 backlinks?!

Where did they come from? Who built them? Were they spam?

Frantically she looked at the source of the links. After wandering around the dark web for a bit, she saw something terrifying. The links were purchased in 2005 and all pointed to a Russian link farm!

White with fear, the young marketer realized that she would be trapped in the world of the Google Disavow tool for the rest of her days....

The Spelling

A business owner had a grand idea. October had been a bit slow so he wanted to run a special:

Free Pet Tarantula with Purchase of a Service Agreement!

This was sure to get the phone ringing and an extra stream of revenue coming in. Proud of his new idea, he made a new landing page for his website, made a postcard to send to the locals, bought a few tarantulas, and on the night before the deal began, he made a Facebook post promoting the offer. The business owner slept well that night, dreaming of all the happy customers who would be receiving a fuzzy tarantula for Halloween.

When he awoke the next morning, his phone showed a notification, 23 new comments on your post! Overjoyed, the business owner unlocked his phone to see the outpouring of people interested in a service agreement, only to get an unexpected fright.

In his hastiness, the business owner had accidentally used the wrong “your,” a careless mistake that none of his Facebook fans had let slide. To his horror he saw that people were too focused on the spelling error to even notice the incredible deal.

That morning, the phones were still eerily quiet — the only thing that had changed was the number of tarantulas in the office...


I have come here to chew bubblegum and send emails…and I’m all out of bubblegum

Fresh off his promotion into the role of marketing manager for the local insulation company, Dracula was constantly researching new ways to reach customers. One way that he was excited to try was email marketing. It seemed so easy:

  1. Make an email

  2. Send it to a list of customers

  3. Profit

So Dracula made an attractive HTML email and went searching for the company's email list. To his dismay, he found that the company had switched CRMs last year and the new list only contained 41 emails.

A minor setback. Dracula is an optimist and is always quick to think of a new solution. After some Googling, he found a company that would sell him a list of emails of local homeowners. This sounded great! New customers who potentially would have been unreachable would now know about his company!

The transaction was a bit pricey, but Dracula was now in possession of a list containing the email addresses of 8,000 local homeowners. With a quick push of a button, the email was deployed. Dracula strolled confidently over to the reception desk and waited for the phone to start ringing.

After a few minutes of nothing, Dracula checked back in on his email campaign.
JUMP SCARE! The abuse rate was 30%!

What Dracula didn’t know was that if you send emails to people who did not agree to receive emails, you can be penalized — not to mention lose the favor of the people who you emailed. This would no doubt lead to his sending address being blacklisted by the major email providers and would continue to haunt his email marketing campaigns for years to come!

Now that your nightmares have become a reality, we hope you will join us next time on... Nightmare on SEO Street.

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