You heard it here first folks. It appears that Vivint, a solar and home automation company located in Provo Utah, has been delisted by Google. This is a major blow to Todd Pedersen’s group. Being delisted by Google means that it is impossible for your website to show up in Google searches by normal means.
For a company with so much going right for it, this is a serious black eye. As early as last year, Vivint was voted by Forbes magazine as one of America’s Most Promising Companies.
Also, less than two years ago, Vivint had announced that it was being acquired by Blackstone Group for over 2 billion dollars.
While this probably won’t impact their sales or revenues (much of their sales comes from telemarketing and door to door salespeople), the delisting could cause some major PR issues for Vivint.
As we saw a few months back, Rap Genius, a darling of Silicon Valley, was delisted for black hat SEO tactics. After much haranguing and hair pulling, they were able to get back into Google’s good graces and be re-included into the Google index.
Rap Genius was re-included into the Google index in an unusually short period, leading me to speculate that there might have been some backroom dealings between the VC’s that backed Rap Genius and Google. I’m not sure if Vivint has those same back channels to rely on, but they certainly need to call in all of the favors they can get their hands on.
It’s quite common for smaller companies and websites to receive a Google penalty and be delisted. Many SEO firms use sub-par techniques and rely on antiquated systems. Due to this, smaller companies, who don’t have unlimited budgets, can have their online reputation damaged by shoddy SEO work. However, a billion dollar company like Vivint usually vets their SEO firms and pays tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars per month to ensure that their digital marketing is only of the highest quality.
Therefore, it’s always surprising when a giant like this makes such a big misstep.
As we saw with Rap Genius, being delisted caused them to experience huge drops in traffic to their website. While Vivint doesn’t rely on traffic to their site for revenue like Rap Genius does, this will have a significant impact on them.
In doing some analysis as to why this may have happened, I’ve looked into Vivint’s link profile and discovered that they have had a large increase in spammy links from low quality sites. Normally, this would signal that they’ve actually been attacked by a competitor or hacker attempting to hurt their digital presence. But in this case, these links are mostly tied to their charity and affiliate program. Meaning, they were most likely created by Vivint.
These types of links usually won’t hurt a link profile if they’re built properly, but in this case, they did not make the links “nofollow”. This means the links pass link juice from one page to the other. The reason you want nofollow links on affiliates and banner ads is that you, as the company, have no control over where a lot of these links are placed. Oftentimes they’re put on low quality websites. When this happens with “followed” links, it looks to Google as if you are attempting to purchase links.
I haven’t done extensive research into their link profile yet, but after a cursory scan, this is what I was able to ascertain. I’ll do some more investigating and post a follow up to this piece.
To test the Google index, simply search “vivint” and you will notice a lack of any corporate website. You will find numerous social pages, review pages, and their subsidiaries, like vivintsolar.com, but Vivint.com is gone.
And as the old adage goes in digital marketing, “If you’re not on Google, you don’t exist.” So, unfortunately, it appears that Vivint does not currently exist.
Okay, from what I can tell it is their banner and affiliate links that are killing them right now. As you can see from this screenshot, they’ve experienced a 19% increase in links in the last 30 days. (in internet speak, that’s a crapload!).
Most of those links are coming from blog sites and other such affiliate haunts. So, this might not be a case of blackhat SEO for the sake of rankings increase (I can’t confirm nor deny that), it could just be some sloppy digital marketing.
This is why I tell my customers:
“If you think it’s expensive to pay for good work, wait until you pay for sloppy work.”
And right now, they’re paying for sloppy work.
Maybe Vivint is able to pull a Rap Genius style turnaround and be re-indexed within a few weeks, but if not, this will undoubtedly cost the company millions of dollars.
Don’t cut corners folks!
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