A Charles Darwin Quote Explains Why Most Big Companies Fail

This post is more of an observation than a data driven SEO article as we usually post on Linchpin SEO, but I think it holds some weight when it comes to SEO in general for big companies.

The Quote

The post will be centered around the following quote by Charles Darwin, which in my opinion speaks volumes to when large companies not only fail when it comes to doing SEO but also why most big brands might not want to take the time to invest in it.

The following is based on my experience working with large companies and brands in the SEO space and is just a fun way to think about the ever-changing landscape of SEO.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change – Darwin

The 3 Parts

The first is “It is not the strongest of the species that survives”.
As we have seen, Google takes very little mercy on large brands. It does not matter how big of a company you are, how much money you have if you don’t follow Google’s rules you will get caught. Most recently JCPenny was called out by the NY Times and was punished by getting their rankings dropped off the first page, but over the years others such as BMW, Overstock.com, and other large brands have circum to the same fate (of a loss in rankings) for not following the rules.

The second is “nor the most intelligent”.
Many of the top companies and even SEO’s have tried to outsmart Google by taking part in gray or black hat practices such as buying links, creating link schemes, or creating a mass amount of low quality content to take advantage of the loopholes in the algorithm (such as the content farm boom of 2007-2011). What we have found, is that these high rewards, high risk, and short-lived tactics do not align themselves with an ethical, long-term approach to building a business. They offer the website utilizing these tactics little comfort that the next update won’t be the one that takes them out.

Finally “It is the one that is the most adaptable to change”.
As we know Google has made upwards of 400 updates each year to their algorithm to combat spam (most are small tweaks to the weights of the variables that we don’t hear about, but some make quite a bit of noise). The spam that Google is trying to eliminate can be in the form of content spam, link spam, and soon will be in the form of social spam. Below are some of the well-known updates over the last nine years and the type of spam they intended to help combat.

Why It Matters

With the consistent updates by Google over the last 15 years, it imperative that companies can adapt to the ever-changing landscape of SEO. What I have found in my travels down SEO lane over the last 10+ years is that most large companies have a hard time turning on a dime due to politics, release cycles, and lack of resources.

On a side note, there is also a great book called How The Mighty Fall by Jim Collins that I suggest every business person read.