Motivational Speakers Discuss Industrial Espionage in Cyber Space
I am one of the motivational speakers who depends on search engine optimization, to earn a good ranking on Google, so that I can market my services to my prospective clients? If you also depend on this as a marketing tool, then you will find this article of great value to you and your business. I hope after reading this article, that you will be equipped to better protect your business against Cyber thugs, who attack innocent websites, causing them to lose their ranking on Google and in turn hundreds of thousands of rands in revenue, as a result. How safe do you think your website is, from attack by cyber thugs?
The Attack on my Website
I am sure you can imagine my surprise, when I woke up as, I do every day, at 4 am, on a cold June morning, to find that my website, which had ranked either as number one, two or three, within Google, for the search term motivational speakers, for over four years, was no where to be found. I immediately contacted my IT Guru Thumiso, who in turn contacted Google, first via email, which proved very slow and frustrating. So he finally, managed to source a contact telephone number and in desperation called their offices in the US directly.
I had miraculously created over six thousand backlinks to my website from malware and porn sites. According to the technicians at Google, I had done this a few days prior to them banning my site. As a result of these unsuitable backlinks, Google had now found my website unsuitable to rank any longer and so they had banned my site.
To better understand, just how crazy this is and to put things into a clearer perspective, imagine someone, who had worked tirelessly for over four years to get their site properly optimized, so that it would rank prominently on Google, for the search terms Motivational Speakers and Sales Training. To Out of the blue, wake up one day and create over six thousand backlinks to their site that would get their site banned, by Google. Clearly a ludicrous and crazy irrational act, no one in his or her right mind would ever consider. Not according to Google though, guilty until proven innocent, they say.
My argument to Google, which fell on deaf ears, was simple. Why on earth would I, out of the blue, break with the white hat strategy, I had been following for the past four years. Where I had carefully built up selected good quality backlinks to my site from reputable websites and directories and all of a sudden make a 360 degree about face, where I would overnight build over 6000 backlinks from porn and malware sites, to my website. Links, I know, Google despises and thereby get my site banned?
Despite the pleadings from Thumiso, Google offered only one solution, we would have to sort through all my backlinks, both the good ones I had spent years creating legitimately and the ones, someone else with evil intent, had created overnight using a robot. Once we had completed this mammoth task, we would then have to submit the list of bad backlinks to Google, to have them disavowed.
This entire process, where Google disavows bad backlinks takes, a really long time I think the reason this process is so slow, must be because Google is inundated with requests from people with similar challenges. Thousands of other website owners, whose sites have been attacked in a similar way. There must be a better way Google can respond to this challenge.
As a side note
The disavow process from Google is a pretty new addition. Previously, when similar attacks were made against a legitimate website. The owner of the site under attack would have, had to write to each website owner, where the backlinks were placed, and ask him or her, to remove the backlinks. Imagine writing to the owner of a malware or porn site and asking them to help, you remove an illegal backlink? Could anything be more difficult or impossible?
As this sort of attack has become more and more prevalent, Google has been forced to create the disavow process. In my opinion, a very limited response to this huge challenge, which can cost businesses hundreds of thousands, or even millions of rands in lost revenue.
The Challenge for all of us
Industrial espionage can and does come from many different and unexpected places. The challenge we all face though is that, even though the links, created by people, who want to damage your dominant position on Google, will eventually be disavowed. You remain guilty in the eyes of Google even after the links have been removed.
Your website has to start from scratch after the attack, re-earning its rightful place within the Google search algorithm. i.e You need to once again earn your stripes, before Google will rank your site, putting you back in the same place you were before the attack. My main website site is currently on page three and slowly working its way back onto page one.
Lessons Learned by one of the most inspiring motivational speakers around
Action Idea: If search engine optimization, is a key marketing strategy for your business. Ensure that you have more than one website ranking on Google, for each search term that you want to optimize. Having only one site ranking, can be a very dangerous strategy. Any unscrupulous person, who decides to attack your site, can cause your business to suffer huge losses. This loss in revenue can damage any business and in extreme cases, may even cause your business to close down altogether.
What Google should do?
I believe that Google needs to put a far better system in place to both prevent these sort of attacks from happening in the first place and when they do, they should have a better system in place to protect those innocent websites, which are attacked by cyber thugs, in this way in the future.
As one of the top motivational speakers in South Africa, I hope this article has served as a warning to people out there who rely on their optimized website, to serve as part of their marketing strategy, to be more vigilant. Should your website be attacked in a similar way, I hope the advice offered here, will help you to resolve the issue far sooner than was possible for me to do.
As a result of the attack on my website I have built a new web strategy and now have more than one site per search term. My goal is to have at least two of my websites within the top five search results within Google, for each search term I have chosen to market my business. I am currently ranking in position two and three for the search term Sales Training and am in position eleven and twenty-three for the search term Motivational Speakers.
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