Whether you are a business owner, a freelancer, a SEO specialist or simply a keen learner with an interest for digital marketing, you will have your own convictions about SEO. What do you value the most in your optimisation practise? Maybe it’s your ranking in the SERPs or the hope of gaining a larger client base.
While SEO is a process that aims to get you the best ratings on Google, if your focus is just on results, you may want to rethink your priorities. Above all else, your SEO decisions should be based on the authenticity you have for your your customers; Uberflip takes it a step further and refers to genuine SEO as ‘REO’, or ‘Reader Engagement Optimisation’, and they have benefited from this authenticity for SEO.
With each update that Google brings out, many SEO professionals get into cold sweats or sigh out of annoyance (or both), but your customers are nonchalant. Why? Because the updates are working in their favour.
Google cares about customers, you should too. If you serve your customers honestly and practise authenticity in SEO, Google updates don’t need to shake the walls of your professional life and put you in a state of panic.
Transparency In SEO Strategy
With many scammers out there, it does not come as a shock that some people find it hard to trust SEO providers. This is why as a professional, it is essential to ensure that every task conducted is recorded and presented to your client in a report.
Something to keep in mind if you are new to SEO is that it takes time to see results and this a service that you can’t make crazy promises with – we are dealing with a pretty unpredictable landscape here (hello search engines). To spare you from cons that are out there, some things that you as a site owner should avoid when sourcing a SEO provider are professionals who:
- Promise a fast turnaround
- Guarantee first page rankings
- Claim to have insider knowledge about the Google algorithms
- Are intending to give you paid advertising instead organic SEO services
- Are offering free trials
- Want to take ownership of your content
- Refer to undisclosed, secretive or ‘black-hat’ strategies
White-Hat Vs Black-Hat SEO
In essence, white-hat SEO is ethical. A white-hat search optimiser has positive intentions and aspire for organic results based on adjusting website features and content to be more valuable for both users and search engines. There is no deception.
On the other hand, black-hat SEO abuses strategies, techniques and tactics in a way that only focuses on search engines, disregarding the actual users of your site. With search engines prioritising users, this approach is hardly effective and is, in fact, against search engine guidelines.
Not only do excessive links, keyword stuffing and spammy content deter users, these sorts of techniques can get your site banned from Google. Yes, keyword research is absolutely necessary, but there is a wrong way to do it and there are other vital components that are also needed for great SEO.
Importance Of Meaningful Content
While it is common knowledge that fresh content is great for SEO, it is also critical not to get carried away with spammy optimisation, once again keeping in the mind that content should be focused first and foremost on your reader (say it louder for the people in the back!) – not search engines, not your product, not your service.
Now that we have clarified that once more, your content needs to be relevant and engaging for your audience, so make sure you know your niche and know who your audience actually is.
Consider treating your content as dialogue, so that you include your audience in what you are saying; this means you are not only informing or entertaining (or whatever your purpose is), but also anticipating questions and objections and providing answers for them.
Another important thing to consider is your voice and perspective: feel free to write from your own point of view – it adds personality to what you are saying (and also helps your writing sound more like dialogue – very few people sound like a OHS manual in person).
A tactic some people use is to have a large quantity of content as opposed to focusing on quality; new content is great for SEO, but if it is not valuable, you are only hurting your ranking. If you can push out high quality content regularly, that is ideal, but don’t just post meaningless stuff for the sake of posting – hold off until you have something meaningful.
Another problem area with SEO that takes away from authentic content is spam, which basically means exploiting the vulnerabilities of search engine algorithms. Neil Patel goes into depth about how this can range from business names, to customer reviews, to backlinks (we will get more into that shortly), to testimonials, to keywords, to internal linking and to long-form content. He also talks about how to challenge spammy competition by using keywords to your advantage in a genuine, user-friendly way.
Link Building VS Link Earning
Link building is crucial to strengthen positive SEO, however it should be done honestly. While many people pay to exchange links with other websites in an attempt for relevance and credibility, others propose that the concept of link earning is much stronger than simply link building.
What that means is that instead of focusing too much on link building for the sake of SEO, it would be a better use of your time and energy to, instead, create content of value that others can pick up on, and let the backlinks come naturally. Dejan Marketing came up with a list of different reasons to link to another site:
To become a proficient link earner, you can start focusing on meaningful and relevant content that will interest your audience, and feel free to use some appropriate links that will also benefit your readers.
Mind you, great natural links aren’t only tied to posting content on your website. Quality content is absolutely your primary tool here, but also think about different types of outreach and marketing techniques to give that content some more visibility. Consider:
- Public relations
- Social media
Marketing Island says, “one of the fundamental ways brands fail at coming across as authentic on social media is that they try too hard”, and we would argue that this is the same with your website and blog posts.
Allow us to reiterate our pithy piece of advice on the issue of authenticity in SEO: when you prioritise your customers above rankings, positive SEO will follow naturally.
Best said by Alistair Lattimore, ‘you don’t want to appear to be popular – you want to BE popular.’
At SEO Company Melbourne, we pride ourselves on our creative and ethical approach to ranking strategies, and the SEO strategies we implement reflect this ideology. If you are looking for a SEO provider, contact us to find out how we can help you improve your authenticity for SEO.