As we all know, Charlie Sheen has officially lost his mind. His downward spiral in the public eye began a few weeks ago with bizarre television and media interviews. It seemed like everybody was talking about Charlie Sheen, which is exactly what he wanted. When his tirades first began, it was interesting and humorous to watch. He was throwing out random lines like “I’m tired of pretending I’m not a total bitchin’ rock star from Mars” and “You can’t process me with a normal brain.” Let’s not forget about his “tiger blood” and “goddesses”. The media and the public were eating it up. T-shirts with these “Charlie-isms” were quickly being distributed and Sheen set a Guinness World Record for fastest Twitter account to reach one million followers. It was the Charlie Sheen show. At that point, Charlie definitely was “winning”. Charlie’s goal was to get attention, and he certainly achieved that goal, but what now? Most times, a quick rise to popularity also results in a quick downfall. That’s where Charlie Sheen can teach us a little bit about SEO.
I would compare Sheen’s approach to a black hat SEO strategy. Charlie wanted the world to know how he felt about the fact that his hit sitcom, “Two and a Half Men” had been canceled for the remainder of the season. He went on a full force media blitz to get the attention that he wanted. While it certainly got him noticed and sparked lots of interest in the beginning, his bizarre behavior has quickly just become annoying and sad. Black hat SEO tactics like buying links or being involved in link exchanges might look appealing because they could result in some quick search engine results page rankings, but much like Charlie Sheen’s popularity, those rankings will not last long. Black hat tactics only create rankings for the short term.
Another similarity between Charlie Sheen’s behavior and black hat SEO is that they both result in penalties. CBS fired Charlie Sheen from his gig at “Two and a Half Men” for his crazy antics. The search engines punish black hat spammers by taking away a good search engine ranking. What is Charlie Sheen without “Two and a Half Men”? Similarly, what is a website without a good search engine results page ranking? Not much. SEO should be a slow, steady process, not an all out media blitz. It’s all about establishing trust with the search engines and building quality links over time. If it’s all done at once, it’s considered spammy. It might take awhile to find success, but it’s certainly worth the wait.
Websites that engage in black hat tactics sometimes receive penalties so large that they have to start an entirely new website to try and build up a search engine presence again. If Charlie Sheen has any sense left, he’d be wise to try and rebuild his image as well. However, no matter how hard he tries, his antics will never be forgotten. Rebuilding isn’t easy. Sometimes it’s nearly impossible. Think about the image of other stars that have gone “crazy” like Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson. They will never be viewed the same way ever again. The moral of the story is this: if you engage in bad SEO you will never be “winning”.