2 Noteworthy SEO Fails by Big Brands and What You Can Learn From Then

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There are two kinds of brands on this planet.

The first group is busy improving their search engine optimization (SEO) tactics and boosting organic traffic to their website.

The second group is likely living under a rock.

That’s right.

If you wish to build a successful business in 2022, there’s no alternative to using the right SEO tactics. You can’t build brand awareness and authority without improving your website’s search engine ranking. Nor can you attract qualified traffic and drive conversions on your website.

But a recent case study reveals that even the biggest organizations are vulnerable to SEO mistakes.

Most Inc 5000 companies get less than 10,000 organic website visitors every month and have less than 1,000 unique linking domains to their website.

It goes to show that SEO is a complex subject, and even established organizations struggle to keep up with its changing landscape. That is why it is better to hire professionals instead of trying to DIY when it comes to SEO. If you are unsure, you can find out more about how SEO experts can help your company rank better on search engines. 

This blog will explore how two leading brands messed up their SEO strategies. Also, we’ll outline effective ways to avoid such mistakes. Let’s jump right in.

LinkedIn Gets Deindexed by Google

LinkedIn is one of the largest social networking sites on the internet. Owned by Microsoft, it’s the go-to platform for building long-standing professional connections. Also, it’s considered one of the most effective B2B marketing platforms.

If you think that a professional networking site of that stature would’ve got a firm grip on their SEO strategy, you’re about to be proven wrong.

What Happened?

In May 2020, LinkedIn’s website experienced what can only be called an SEO specialist’s worst nightmare. 

A bunch of web pages from LinkedIn disappeared from Google search results overnight. The command ‘site:www.linkedin.com’ returned zero results.

Image via Search Engine Roundtable

Also, LinkedIn profiles of famous US personalities didn’t show up in the knowledge panels of their respective Google search results.

The incident resulted in a massive drop in LinkedIn’s organic search traffic.

Why Did It Happen?

The precise reason why LinkedIn’s web pages were removed from the Google index still remains a mystery. The networking site didn’t issue an official statement to explain how it happened.

However, there’s been plenty of speculation among SEO experts about what could’ve gone wrong. The most plausible explanation is that it was the result of LinkedIn’s attempt to canonicalize the “http://” version of their website to “https://.”

That would’ve required LinkedIn to use the Removals tool from Google Search Console to remove their website’s “HTTP” version.

But it would’ve removed other existing variations of the website, including “HTTPS,” “WWW,” etc. 

That’s precisely what Google’s John Mueller emphasized in one of his tweets shortly after the incident.

Image via Twitter

How It Could’ve Been Avoided

The purpose of the Removal tool is to help website owners prevent search engine spiders from indexing inappropriate or old content. It shouldn’t be used for the purpose of canonicalization.

If you’re migrating your website from “HTTP” to “HTTPS,” set up proper 301 redirects to drive traffic to the new version of your website.

Warner Bros. Loses Revenue Because of Failed Keyword Research

LinkedIn wasn’t the only company that landed in SEO troubles in 2020. Warner Bros., one of the world’s largest media conglomerates, suffered the ramifications of messed-up keyword research in the same year.

What Happened?

When Warner Bros. started the production of a new film based on the eccentric Harley Quinn, it was destined to be a blockbuster.

The only catch was that the movie was named “Bird of Prey (The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).

If you’re familiar with SEO fundamentals, you can already understand how that title would’ve taken a toll on the film’s search engine rankings.

Harley Quinn – the main keyword – was located at the far end of the title. That meant Google was ranking it way below in search results related to the character. Consequently, fans had a hard time finding the movie and purchasing tickets online.

It caused Warner Bros. to lose nearly $16 million in box office earnings.

Why Did It Happen?

Chances are Warner Bros. neglected the importance of keyword research and other SEO tactics while planning the film’s marketing campaign. 

If they’d invested adequate time and resources in keyword research and competitor analysis, the company would’ve had a better understanding of their target keywords. 

How It Could’ve Been Avoided

The best way to prevent such goof-ups is to do what Warner Bros. eventually did. The production company changed the title of the film to “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.”

Moving the main character’s name to the beginning of the title meant more online visibility for the film.

If you’re launching something new, be it a product, service, or movie, make sure you identify and incorporate the right target keywords.

Closing Thoughts

No one wants their business to be a part of a case study of companies who suck at SEO. But even the most prominent companies are vulnerable to simple and avoidable SEO mistakes.

The important thing is to learn from those mistakes and take proactive steps to correct them. Whether you’re migrating your website, introducing a new product, or expanding your business, make sure you never ignore the rules of SEO.