Here is a mantra you should live by: search engine optimization (SEO) is not an easy fix! Some SEO experts view it as a game where they try to outwit the search engine algorithms in order to improve rankings. Referred to as “spamdexers”, these guys spam the indexes with garbage content in order to manipulate rankings. These so called “black hat” tactics often lead to blacklisting.
“Black hat” SEO and why you should avoid it
Some examples of “black hat” SEO tactics include:
- Keyword stuffing, where there is calculate placement of a keyword in order to increase the keyword count and density on a page
- Including invisible keywords in tags, links, images
- Repeating text for location pages by adding city names to headlines, sub-headers etc
- Including links to “magnet” sites such as Wikipedia
- Article spinning and submitting articles on various directories to produce back links and guest posts
The list above is by no means exhaustive. It is important to note that not all of the above actions are necessarily bad. Some of these approaches can yield good results whereas other may ultimately lead to a blacklisting by Google. If your SEO expert is leading with some or all of these tactics, it can be a red flag that your SEO is not being managed well.
As search engine algorithms become more complex and sophisticated, they are better able to detect SEO gimmicks that are meant to be easy fixes. Often, this means garbage content that has zero value for visitors but are employed solely for rankings. The sophistication of the search engine algorithms has made some SEO gimmicks obsolete, but don’t be fooled: SEO does matter! Now more than ever, good SEO is what makes the difference in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Our advice: don’t go the easy SEO fix and invest in high quality content instead. Don’t focus merely on improving your SERP; instead, focus on producing great content that engages and informs your visitors. Content is the bridge between customers and your business, and building that relationship through providing useful information is great way to approach content marketing.
The better approach to SEO: create high quality content
Imagine a spamdexed page on your website that is overstuffed with keywords, but doesn’t provide relevant content. A visitor to your website would be turned off by such a page and would likely leave immediately. Instead, consider developing a group of articles that focus on your keyword while balancing great information that is useful to customers (high quality content). Then consider disseminating some of your content through different sources other than your website to attract a bigger audience.
So how can you create quality content?
- Create relevant content based on your service or product
Let’s imagine that you are a yoga studio owner. One way to create great content is to develop individual pages for each type of yoga that is offered at your studio. You could highlight the differences between the different styles of yoga, describe the benefits of each style, and include recommendations which style is best for different fitness levels. Let each page be about 500 – 700 words, with a balance of keywords and useful information for the visitor.Depending on the nature of your business, there are various other options available for creating relevant content. You could curate content related to your subject matter (“5 Yogis You Should Follow on Instagram”), provide tips (“3 Items That Can Help Your Yoga Practice”) or comment on the new trends in your field (“Should You Try Aerial Yoga?”). The possibilities are endless!
Visitors to your website are looking for information. Providing in-depth knowledge on your subject matter improves their perception of your business and helps to build trust.
- Talk about your company
Other than expanding the information on your services or products, you could also add more content to your company profile or information. Move beyond the typical write-up on the history and beginnings of your company; consider introducing a more personal element. You can feature interviews with management and staff to bring a human face to your business, making it easier for customers to connect with you.
Talking about your company may seem like a self-centered move but what it really does is provide customers with insight on what makes you different from your competitors, why you are good in your field and how you can meet their needs.
- Develop content that brings value to customers
You could also introduce more customer-centric elements on your website to build content. Features such as customer testimonials, anecdotes, or even a regular column where you answer customer queries can be an excellent way to better engage customers by building trust and demonstrating your expertise on the subject.
How-To guides are a fantastic way to showcase authority and educate your customers at the same time. Nothing beats the feeling of learning something new from an expert at zero cost! Once customers view you as an expert, they are more likely to seek you out again in future.
- Add visual content
Another way to develop good content: consider using images, photos, infographics or videos in your articles. Infographics, for instance, can be a great way to “recycle” your existing content into something that is shareable on social networks.
Adding visual content is a way to add more interest to your website and signals your commitment of providing content to your visitors. Because you have invested the effort into creating quality content, customers will tend to view you more favorably.
At the end of the day, SEO practices should not be an easy fix. It is not about gaming the system and manipulating search engine rankings. Your ultimate aim should not just be improving your search engine rankings, but rather building an audience that is interested in your service or product and wants more information on it. And to build an audience, you need to create high quality content that keeps them coming back for more. This is the secret of good SEO.