SEO Doesn’t Have to Be Ugly - Marketing related words in tag cloud

 

Do you hate the thought of getting better at SEO?

I totally understand where you’re coming from.

For so many years, SEO seemed either a) impossibly technical, or b) really gross and spammy.

Or both.

Early SEO was a pretty brute force kind of deal. Jam a bunch of keywords into your copy (no matter how nasty it looked). Play a lot of lame tricks on the search engines, like cramming your keywords into hidden tags, or white text on a white background. Pour a ton of money into paid links.

Creepy.

But that kind of SEO just flat out doesn’t work any more, and the pages that went with those tactics got slapped — hard — by Google.

The pages that didn’t get slapped were using a quality-first approach.

It’s more enjoyable to create. It’s (a lot) more enjoyable for your audience to consume. And it’s an area where you, as a Copyblogger reader, have a massive head start.

Is Google a bad guy?

Google’s corporate motto is “Don’t be evil,” but they’re challenging that pretty hard these days.

Moves like killing Google Reader and the Google Promotions tab nonsense have been bad news for pure content creators (like bloggers) and ethical content marketers. (Kind of ironic, given that Google is the biggest and most profitable direct marketer on the planet.)

So an argument could be made that they’ve gone to the dark side.

But here’s the thing: That doesn’t matter.

Whether Google is Chaotic Good, Neutral, or Lawful Evil — Google is the search engine people use right now.

(And always keep in mind — that could change. Don’t pin your business’s future to any outside force, including Google.)

Just like Facebook or Amazon — they’re too big to really think much about you and me. So it’s our job to take care of ourselves. Just like it always has been.

Most of us small businesses find that we get the best experience with Google when we stop trying to cater to Google.

Cater to your audience. Spoil them. Nurture them. Show them a ton of love.

That tends to be what works best for Google … but if Google gets taken out by a meteor tomorrow, your relationship with your audience is still in place. Put that first and you’ll always succeed over the long haul.

Isn’t Google really hard to predict?

Some people refuse to learn anything about SEO because it changes all the time.

Which it does … sort of.

For the most part, what changes is the way that Google chases down and weeds out spam.

This is going to be slightly politically incorrect to say, but … If you don’t publish spam, Google doesn’t change as much as you think it does.

Do some non-spam pages get caught in algorithm changes? Yes. But more than 9 times out of 10, when I look at a page that’s crying foul … the quality just isn’t there. They might follow the letter of the law, but they’re not following the spirit.

The site lacks Awesome.

Matt Cutts is head of the Google webspam team. (He also runs his blog on Genesis. Not that, you know, we’re boasting or anything. OK, yes we are.)

His pronouncements get pored over by SEOs looking for hidden meanings and secret codes.

You want to know what Cutts says every time he opens his mouth?

Don’t publish crappy, low-quality content that no one wants to read in your effort to rank well in the search engines.

(I’m paraphrasing.)

That’s why the audience-first approach works so well, and why it endures.

What works long term

The Copyblogger blog has always done nicely with SEO. It currently ranks for some very competitive terms.

People often think we have an unfair advantage — but Copyblogger started out just like everyone else’s blog does. It had two subscribers, Brian Clark and his mom. And you know his mom wasn’t actually reading it.

Brian wrote about interesting topics in a way that his audience hadn’t seen before. He’d studied copywriting, and he noticed that putting a great, benefit-rich headline on a blog post worked just as well as a great, benefit-rich headline works for a sales page.

He also cultivated relationships with other web publishers, and he was exceedingly careful with his reputation.

Copyblogger has never bought a link. We’ve never run pop-ups to boost our email subscriptions. While others were chasing “tricks,” Brian earned all of the attention the site now receives, by being more than a little obsessed with serving the Copyblogger audience.

Content that’s both useful and interesting. Paying close attention to the audience and what they’re asking for. Sticking to high editorial standards. Evolving and updating the site to keep up with our audience and what they need.

If all of this sounds like a lot of work … it’s true, some days it is. But we’d rather do this than run around being chased by Google’s (or anyone else’s) spam team. It’s just more satisfying work.

It’s more profitable, too. (Nice when those two go together.)

Article Provided By CopyBlogger

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