Thanks to our friends at Arment Dietrich‘s Spin Sucks blog (follow them on Twitter!) and Andy Crestodina‘s book Content Chemistry for bringing us this story of terrible PR practices. In summary: A PR firm did the worst thing it possibly could have done in terms of Internet publicity, getting its own client’s website blacklisted from Google‘s search results by copying and pasting content from the client’s page into a press release and sending it out to thousands through online newswires.
The problem? Google’s search algorithm really hates duplicate content and looks to punish those who distribute it (for good reason) because, while providing your own spin on someone else’s content is acceptable, passing their work off as your own is not. So Google marked the company’s homepage as spam and removed it from all relevant search results. This story ended well only because the client’s web firm was able to file a request with Google explaining the PR team’s mistake.
The lesson here? Use SEO guidelines and write your own damn content! Don’t fall into this unnamed firm’s “do as little work as possible” stereotype!