Digital marketing is an industry that is evolving at a very swift pace. As a result, even some of the biggest and most high profile brands end up in hot water. Given the unforgiving search engine response to household names that don’t get their digital marketing right it’s becoming even more important for every business, large or small, to ensure that the existing approach is up to date and risks are carefully managed, something that a skilled digital agency can help you to do. Otherwise your brand could end up like these six major names that made some very high profile mistakes.

Basing your strategy on buying backlinks ( was basically caught by Google trying to manipulate the rankings. Their strategy was to offer colleges and universities the opportunities to place their links on the Overstock website in return for a merchandise discount. Although this wasn’t the most traditional way to buy backlinks it still didn’t sit well with Google, which chose to penalise the company for it – we don’t know the exact figure of the penalty but, in the same year that it all happened, the company’s revenue figures dropped by $1.05 billion.

A bit of bad code (iFly)

It’s essential to ensure that the code on your website has been created by people who understand what search engines want to promote and index. Otherwise you’ll end up like iFly, which dropped significantly down the results due to a single line of bad code that told search engines to ignore the pages the code appeared on.

Fake web pages (BMW)

If there is one brand that you’d think wouldn’t have to engage in low quality marketing tactics it’s BMW. And yet that’s exactly what the auto giant did when its marketers decided to use doorway pages to improve results. The purpose of these fake web pages is to direct users to a specific single website – something that Google considers manipulation because users don’t get the expected results when they click on a specific link. BMW was penalised and dropped way down in the results listings as a result.

Inadequate digital marketing support (Trolling Motors)

High quality digital marketing gives your business resilience even if environments shift. Trolling Motors found that you just don’t get this with a cheap, inadequate digital marketing service. When Google changed its algorithm the business disappeared from search results because the agency it had partnered with was using black hat techniques, too many keywords, poor content etc that Google would no longer accept.

Unnatural links (BBC)

Google found that the BBC had ‘unnatural’ links going into one of its articles and punished the institution as a result. An unnatural link is one that might be paid for because it wouldn’t naturally connect to your content and the originator wouldn’t normally see value in it. Although the penalty for the BBC was minor, the worst-case scenario for any business making this mistake is that Google delivers a manual penalty that means pulling the website from the rankings entirely.

A lack of website moderation (Mozilla)

User generated content is a big digital marketing trend today but it needs to be properly managed. Mozilla found this out to its detriment when it failed to manage the content that users had posted on its sites. As a result of this oversight there were pages of bot comments and spammy attempts at link building that Google punished with a manual penalty.

Give your digital marketing the best chance of success and avoid these basic mistakes made by big brands. Get in touch with our team for bespoke advice about your digital marketing strategy today.