What If Your Company Could Go Viral Tomorrow?

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What if your company could go viral tomorrow? What if you could earn dozens, possibly hundreds of precious inbound links from major websites, while becoming a trending topic on social media at the same time? It sounds like every digital marketing agency’s wildest SEO dreams come true, and it is.

But Be Careful What You Wish For...

If going viral like that sounds too good to be true, remember:

Your viral SEO fantasy is virtually identical to your worst digital nightmares. And thanks in large part to social media, it 's never been easier to step on a landmine and go viral for all the wrong reasons.

And once the digital mob mentality kicks in, the results can be devastating. How bad can it get?

Ask Walter Palmer of Minneapolis, aka
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Second, Google autocomplete and suggestions would likely include negative keywords, like ‘scam’ or ‘lawsuit’ or ‘scandal.’ Third, the company may find that it is also ranking on Page 1 for search terms related to the negative news story.”

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Such viral incidents usually follow a similar pattern. A person or business says or does something bad. The statement, video, or Tweet goes viral; a mob forms. Under intense pressure, they issue a public apology. They may even start receiving death threats. Then... someone else goes viral, and the fire dies as quickly as it started.

So what happens next? Can a business survive a brush with social media vigilantes? We can only look to anecdotal evidence.

In September 2014, Hot Springs, Arkansas gun range owner Jan Morgan went viral after she publicly declared her indoor shooting range a "Muslim Free Zone." After her 15 minutes of fame were up, business was booming. Not only that, but Morgan 's gun range dominates keywords like "Arkansas gun range." Plus, the websites she used to communicate with the press, a personal website and the range 's Facebook page, also show up on page one.

Then there 's the famous case of Epicurious, a cooking and recipe site that in 2013 decided the Boston Marathon bombings were the right time for some brand marketing.

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The company apologized, profusely, but the mea culpa didn 't undo the damage they caused to
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