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September 24, 2010

The Importance Of Being Earnest, Err… Honest

Whilst “The Importance of Being Ernest” was a trivial comedy, the importance of being honest is a little lesson that anyone looking to benefit from SEO could learn from. Google’s commitment to each and every searcher is to provide the most relevant and trustworthy result for their specific request. It is therefore safe to assume that if we, as SEO’s and marketers want to rank well in Google, we need to commit to a similar philosophy, isn’t it?

The answer is of course yes – quality content wins the day, and theoretically, the more quality content you provide your website visitors with, the more you should be rewarded by Google with traffic. Yet, time after time, we see newcomers to the SEO scene filling their websites with garbage (content that is either poor quality, makes no sense, or both!), buying dodgy, powerless links and expecting their site to draw a flood of traffic from Google and co. The reality is that whatever success might be achieved using this methodology will certainly be short-lasted. Here’s a (perhaps overly) simple equation to SEO success:

Quality Content (in whatever format) + Decent Promotion Thereof = Backlinks & Therefore Ranking

The problem that most “legitimate” internet marketers face is simple: they create the super-duper content, but nothing happens thereafter, leaving them feeling disheartened and tempted to follow a more sinister route…

The missing link in the equation is promotion. Quality content, be it a free ebook, report, tool, information, whatever – will NOT promote itself. It is your job to make sure that it gets promoted so that people start talking about it, following which, the traffic and links begin to flow… A few simple ways to promote your content include:

1. Signature links in relevant forums (“Get This Free XYZ By Visiting ABC Now!)
2. Soft promotion in blogs and comments
3. Email Marketing (if you have a database of relevant prospects)
4. A careful selection of banner ads (if your budget allows for this)
5. An even more careful selection of Adwords keywords (get a stack of cheap keywords and promote)
6. Facebook Ads (once again, only if your budget allows it)

The options are endless, and all it requires is a little thinking on your part. Where do the people that would like what you’re offering (the target market) hang out? How can you most cost-effectively reach them?

Once you get that initial flood of visitors, be sure to implement simple sharing tools, like a “refer a friend” script and the like. You might also want to provide an incentive to get people linking to your site, such as a free eBook or similar.

However you go about it, remember that quality content alone is not enough – you need to promote it. Imagine if YouTube never told anyone about their site when they started, and just expected people to type in their web address by mistake.

So this brings us back to the beginning – the importance of being honest… What did that have to do with anything? Well, it’s quite simple – provide a quality, honest product or service that provides value, promote it, and you will naturally have more and more people linking to you over time. No need to employ dodgy link builders in India, or try implement strange “black hat” tactics. Just provide value, promote it, and the world is your oyster…

Derek Jansen is an SEO Consultant & Teacher – Download Dereks’ Free SEO Course and learn how to get your site to the top of Google!