Why Businesses Need To Educate Themselves on SEO!

By: Daniel Imbellino
Dec 12, 2015

It's a familiar story we hear all the time, another online retailer dumped from Google's search index for violating their webmaster guidelines. A green, red, and orange, SEO symbol with a bulls eye and arrowsA recent story I read regarding the penalization of the online retailer Yellow Octopus should be reason enough for other business entities across the web to realize they need to do more to educate themselves on SEO. For the average online business, most of these entities often don't have the skills or expertise to make their businesses thrive in the organic search realm, so the typical approach to finding visibility on the web has long been to hire an SEO specialist to handle the job of ranking for them. As you're about to see, for some entities on the web, the cost of their ignorance is the cost of their business, and ultimately for some it means years of financial losses, and many times complete failure.

For starters, if you rely on ranking in organic search engines like Google in order to make your business function, then you rely on SEO, and this is where SEO itself now becomes an integral part of making your business function. As with any business, any part of your daily operations you are unable to comprehend yourself, gives your competitors an edge to take you over! Simply put, what a business owner doesn't know about their own business can and will hurt them in the long term.

For instance, regarding the online retailer I mentioned above, Yellow Octopus, the owner stated himself he not only had no knowledge of SEO, but he relied on the SEO's he hired to make informed decisions as to how to make his site and business perform on the web. Obviously this was a bad decision, as it caused his site to be completely indexed for a period of time, in which he mentioned how such devastating consequences can destroy a business permanently!

It's not just Yellow Octopus that's ignorant to the many aspects of SEO, but often major online retailers and e-commerce sites who often outsource their SEO efforts to major firms, who often perform one black hat trick after another to make it seem as if the results they're providing for their clients are not only effective, but totally legit, when in fact they're not.

Take for instance the major e-commerce platform Ebay, who in recent years has lost a large portion of their visibility in Google search, in which their ex CEO John Donahoe blamed Google for all their financial troubles, when in fact he should have been blaming himself. You see, despite several years of continued drops in ranking and ultimately ebay's visibility, John and his administrative staff were unable to figure out why they were losing so much rank, and why they were unable to get it back. Yet, the real cause of ebay's demise was their lack of knowledge regarding SEO.

At the time of this writing, ebay still has page after page of merchants offering to sell back links that pass page rank for a fee! This is not only a huge violation of Google's guidelines, but despite the fact such problems are beyond obvious, ebay continues to scratch their heads in confusion as to why they aren't getting their rank back. At present, if you go to ebay and search for the keyword terms "Back Links", and or "Page Rank", you will find literally page after page of merchants continuing to offer the sale of dofollow links for a fee.

Being an ebay merchant myself, and a long time customer of the platform, I went as far as to contact ebay directly and warn their customer service representative of the penalties they will continue to harbor for allowing such activities to continue on their platform. I was quickly met with an argument that those listings I mentioned were not in violation of Google's webmaster guidelines, until I sent him a link to Google's documentation that clearly stated they in fact were in full violation, and the representative I spoke to then agreed! He stated he would notify their SEO team of the issue so they could take action.

Fast forward 6 months, and not only are those listings that violate Google's guidelines still in place, but there's even more of them today. In fact, ebay's incapable SEO team has apparently done nothing but scratch their heads along with the company's executives. Simply put, there's a whole lot a scratching going on at ebay these days!

The point here, regardless of the size and scope of your business, if you rely on search engines to make your business function, then you need to learn at least the basics of SEO yourself; even if you are like ebay and have an in house SEO team, or you plan on outsourcing your SEO needs to a firm or specialist. In ebay's case, I think it's pretty obvious the SEO team they have in place isn't doing them any favors. My findings not only outline ebay's SEO shortfalls, but the fact that those who run this massive e-commerce platform are apparently totally oblivious to the serious problems that continue to hamper their profitability and future as a major online retailer. That being said, because ebay's top executives have no knowledge of SEO, the platform itself continues to struggle, when really it didn't have too.

All being said, in the case of Yellow Octupus' story, the owner realized his shortfalls in SEO knowledge and that he needed to get up to speed and learn the basics, even if he planned to continue to hire SEO's for help. while others like ebay continue to scratch their heads in a multi-year pattern of consistent confusion because they're too ignorant to learn SEO themselves. The point is, if you own a business and you rely on Google and the internet itself in order to make your business operations function, then SEO itself is now a primary function of your business, and if you refuse to learn the ropes of it, your demise will likely be similar to that of ebay's.

A Note Regarding Ebay: Who knows, maybe their new leadership with Devin Wenig can turn things around. It's truly a shame to see ebay fall so low. I still remain a merchant their today with 100% positive feedback, but I have to admit I've listed nothing for sale in the last 2 months, and don't have much of an appetite to continue to focus on a platform where buyers seem nonexistent. I only hope for the best for them, and if they ever need help getting back on track in Google, they're welcome to contact me.

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