Organic Search Marketing or Blackhat SEO? The choice is yours to make.

Published April 17th, 2014 by Michael Farin

Many people have been calling in lately and asking for cheap "SEO" services. What these people are really looking for is "Search Engine Manipulation" - something we don't offer here.

SEO is a thing of the past. You want to come up on the 1st page of Google? Think about your customers. Engage them. Offer them insightful information that they will want to share with their friends. Make an impact. Don't spam, and forget about "SEO" all together. It's black or white, because anything gray may help you now, but will certainly hurt you in the long run.  

Here are some key tips to help your business practice organic search marketing vs. search engine manipulation (a.k.a. "Black Hat" SEO).

  1. Forget about SEO. Rather, spend your time focusing on your customers. What do they want to see when they visit your homepage? Is it a bunch of keyword-stuffed text that provides them with little or no explanation as to what it is your company offers? What makes you different than your competitors? Do you understand your customer's pain points? Explain the benefits of your service in a clear and concise manner (bullet points are great), and make sure your site navigation is very clear and easy to navigate.
  2. Strive to become an "authority" in your industry. To become an authority, you have to be the most educational, inspirational, motivational, engaging, and creative business in your category! If you're really the best at what you do then you should have no problem letting people know WHY. Do this by creating engaging and media-rich content that educates people on all the different aspects of your business.
    1. Own an e-commerce website that sells strollers? Teach your customers everything there is to know about strollers. Back it up with real data (facts) and engage your customers by asking for their feedback and then enhance your content and message accordingly.
    2. Own a dental practice and and have a website? Take the opportunity to share insightful information, interesting statistics, photos, case studies, research experiments and any other information you feel your customers would find valuable.
  3. Make sure that the content you're putting out can be easily shared across all of the major social networks. If the information you're publishing is truly valuable (and not produced for the sole purpose of fooling Google into ranking your website higher), people are going to want to share it! This is how content goes viral, so do not forget to include social sharing widgets throughout your content, whether a blog post, photo gallery, or video.
  4. Partner with other organizations in your industry to help spread your message and share your content. Many websites invite "guest bloggers" to submit interesting & high quality content which they will then post on their website for all of their viewers to see. These popular sites don't accept "Advertorials" (a.k.a. articles created for the sole purpose of promoting your company), rather they want content that is informative and engaging for their readers.
    1. But how do I find websites willing to accept my content? Monitor free press sites such as HARO (Help a Reporter Out) for article and interview opportunities on various topics within your industry. If you know what you're talking about, you'll have no problem answering key questions that reporters want to know about different topics in your space.
  5. Don't spam the internet with your website. Free Article Directories and website Directories SUCK. These directories provide little-to-no value to the end-user since they are usually filled with spammy links from companies trying to "get a link" back to their website. Again, QUALITY over QUANTITY.
  6. Do you have satisfied customers? If so, spend time gathering reviews and testimonials and encourage your customers to post their feedback on your Google + profile, popular review sites like Yelp or Yahoo! or even on their own website. People want to feel comfortable, and showing them that you already have a satisfied client base is definitely going to make them feel more comfortable about doing business with you.
  7. Stay on top of your Google Webmaster Tools data. If you don't know what Google Webmaster Tools is, that's your first problem. Google Webmaster Tools is a free service by Google, built for webmasters to check indexing status and optimize the visibility of their websites. By using this tool, you are able to determine any HTML improvements you can make to your website (Duplicate titles, descriptions, or page content) and then make any adjustments you need to make. You will also be able to see how the GoogleBot sees your site, and you can focus your content efforts across the different aspects of your business for which you want to become more visible. This tool should be your best friend, and with a little research you're sure to be an expert at analyzing the performance of your site across Google using this tool.
  8. Stay away from "free link exchange" opportunities, and don't buy paid links for the benefit of your search marketing efforts. If you buy a paid link, it should be because you feel that the audience of the site on which your link is published is relevant to your industry.
  9. Content is King, BUT don't waste your time writing it if the sole purpose of writing it is for better Google rankings. The content has to be powerful. It should provide useful information, references, and should be backed by research. The goal is for that content or rich-media to be so damn interesting that anyone who reads it will want to share it with their friends. To accomplish this, take the time to do thorough research so that you can provide facts and insight into the unique  aspects of your business or relevant news/information that you feel your readers will find interesting.
  10. Forget about "SEO". Think about your customers. Engage them. Offer them insightful information that they will want to share with their friends. Make an impact. Don't spam, and watch your website soar to new heights!

If you found this article helpful in any way, please don't hesitate to share it with your friends. You can also leave your comments or questions in the comment box, and we'd be happy to answer them for you.

Good luck and welcome to the new world of Organic Search Marketing!

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