This week, the SEO world was rocked when Google slapped a penalty on MyBlogGuest, a guest blogging network. The news shocked many who felt that MyBlogGuest was running a reputable content marketing and sharing service. I’ve been acquainted with Ann Smarty, the owner of MyBlogGuest, for years, and have followed her in social media. Everything she was doing seemed above-board – until the penalty brought that into question. (I still think she did nothing wrong, but Google begs to differ.)
Then yesterday, Google put the beatdown on Portent, a SEM firm based in Seattle. This news was even more surprising – I’ve been acquainted with Portent’s work for some time, and I count their PPC director, Elizabeth Marsten, as a friend. Their company does much more than SEO, and yet they were penalized. Mind-boggling.
I’m confident that both of these organizations will emerge from the fray stronger than before. Still, it’s a lesson we should all take to heart:
Don’t put all your eggs in the Google basket.
I’ve talked to several business owners over the years who were getting 90% or more of their business from Google, often from organic listings. Then suddenly, a Google update hits, and their business vanishes. Or they were using Adwords and doing fine, and then their sales tanked. While I never enjoy hearing these stories, I always wonder about the soundness of counting on one entity for most of your business leads.
In investing, the rule of thumb is to diversify your portfolio. Smart investment advisors will tell you that it’s never a good idea to invest all your savings in one place (Enron, anyone?).
PPC and SEM are no different. At a minimum, I recommend using both Google and Bing for PPC. Performance often varies widely, and Bing is frequently cheaper than Google. So if your Google results tank, hopefully Bing can keep you going until you figure out what’s wrong.
And that’s why businesses should use an integrated approach to marketing. Advertising in multiple channels, investing in landing page optimization, and measuring success are crucial components to long-term success in online marketing.
What do you think about the recent Google penalties? Too harsh, too soft, just right? What baskets do you put your online marketing dollars in? Share in the comments!