Everybody in the world of marketing wants to go viral. Ea-sy money. “More video upload contests. More Fothcbook programs. More Twitter followers.” Well, as web marketing gets more social, people are finding out big hits are not so easy. My first big viral memory was of the guys in white coats putting aspirin into hundreds of Diet Coke bottles and watching them spew in syncopation. That type of magnetic content, though, is few and far between. That’s viral marketing. Virus marketing is different and it can be found today in many SEO programs.
It started with black hat cheating and has migrated to white hat bleating. Either way the SEO practitioners doing the dirty deed promise they can get you in the top 5 search results on Google for as little as $5-10,000 a month.
And they can do it.
How? By ghost writing content and using off site partners to link to that content. Scores and scores of them. Some call it link baiting. I call it a virus. Welcome to the machine. It doesn’t sound that onerous to some…everybody’s doing it. But to a brand nerd, it’s disastrous. Rampant content writing and serving — on behalf of your brand — handled by onshore, off-shore, unsure? People who don’t know the brand culture, the brand idiom, the brand plan? If this isn’t a brand virus, what is? It will take years to clean up this mess. Plus, as Google gets wiser to the practice and makes algo changes (as they did recently), baiters will lose key word rankings and ecomm revenue can tank in an instant. This practice will spawn a new industry of SEO companies called “no hat search.” Peace.