Jo and I talk a lot. Well I say talk, but quite often it consists of me moaning and Jo listening. In fact, Jo should probably charge me for her ‘listening time’ but I’m very thankful she doesn’t.
Now you may be wondering what it is that I moan about. The usual day-to-day stuff mostly but, until recently, there was something else quite specific on my list of bug bears; something that I like to call ‘desperate SEO’ – the inspiration behind this post.
As a freelance writer, I can obviously choose which assignments I grab by the horns and which I let slip me by. However, even when times are quiet, I still need to provide for my family and so take any work (within reason) that I can get.
It’s at times like these where I sometimes find myself at the disposal of digital marketing agencies who employ said desperate SEO practices.
The bottom line is that I strongly believe that great content really is king. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a cliché that sounds cringeworthy but I genuinely believe it and I’ll tell you why…
But first I want to elaborate a little further on desperate SEO – something that exploits content to achieve a desired backlink outcome.
So what is this desperate SEO I’m referring to?
Well it comes in the form of carefully crafted blog posts and is used by some SEO companies to simply tick a box on their client order sheet. For example, their client may have paid for x number of backlinks on various websites that have favourable domain authorities and one way to satisfy this is through blog posts.
Now you’re probably familiar with the terms ‘white hat SEO’ and ‘black hat SEO’ – basically ethical and unethical. Desperate SEO comes with a light grey hat. It’s not necessarily bad but – and this is only my opinion – it doesn’t provide any real value for the reader.
And that’s the important thing right – providing value? After all, Google’s sole purpose with its search offering is to provide people with content that’s engaging, useful and relevant to their search.
Now I’ve got nothing against leveraging blogs to boost a brand’s coverage, but some of the posts I’ve seen (and even created in the past) provide very little in the way of value for the reader.
A typical desperate SEO brief may require that you write a post to be published on a travel blog – so far so good. But then you find out that the client you are writing the post for is a company that sells blu-ray DVD players and you have to naturally insert a link back to their website within your post.
Oh and just to make the post look even more natural, you’re asked to put a few other carefully placed links to websites that are non-competitive or in other words, don’t sell blu-ray DVD players also.
The end result is a post that lauds some of Europe’s most beautiful beaches but contains a link back to the DVD retailer. You may be wondering, how do you make that look natural? The answer is with great difficulty and as a writer, it’s a very frustrating task.
That’s why I have made a conscious effort to steer away from such practices and now only focus on creating stuff that I think provides value to the reader.
I was fortunate enough to cross paths with Jo and in-turn be introduced to Neil and Phil at Positive Sparks. The stuff I write for all of them is a breath of fresh air compared to churning out desperate SEO pieces.
Desperate SEO isn’t going to disappear overnight. But Google’s regular algorithm updates should be warning enough that creating fresh, original and high-quality content that engages your audience is the key to SEO success. Furthermore, it will boost your brand’s online presence at the same time – what could be better than that?
James Devonshire is a freelance writer who specialises in creating content for social media, SEO and digital marketing purposes for a wide variety of businesses. With a strong knowledge of website monetisation, entrepreneurial practices and optimisation techniques, James has carved out a literary niche for himself from his adopted home in the Philippines.
Brendan Egan owns Simple SEO Group that provides web design services and e-marketing to small business websites.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Using social media as a marketing tool has picked up pace in recent years with the huge popularity of social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter that are accessed by millions of people worldwide – with a potential market of that size, how could it remain untapped to companies and marketers? SEO is a powerful internet marketing tool, and the combination of SEO techniques with social media is definitely something to talk about.
Look at it this way: you are more likely to accept an opinion or recommendation when it is coming from a friend or someone you know rather than a stranger writing a bubbly review. In fact, we ask our contacts for opinions about products and services all the time! Social media is the way most of our contacts are garnered and communication is kept up constantly, so ideas and thoughts about products or services of a company are literally a click away.
Many companies now realize that their customers do not like simply dealing with companies who offer nothing but endless streams of annoying advertisement. Connections and relationships are the key for organizations and companies to interact with consumers and build trust so that customers don’t feel harassed and can feel secure in hearing from a company from which they have obtained valued services.
The power of social media cannot be denied – the number of tweets, shared posts, and ‘likes’ on these websites can transmit important information among large numbers of people within minutes.
Imagine what happens when a customer is happy about the services he/she received from an organization and tweets about it – instantly a short, positive review of that organization is transmitted to any number of hundreds of followers of the tweeter, many of who will certainly try out that company’s products or services because someone they know or trust has shared a good experience.
SEO techniques are a great part of internet marketing, and using them in collaboration with social media platforms promises double output. One can work with SEO experts on creating a social media page/profile on not just one, but many networking sites and make its design appealing and eye-catching. From then on according to advised guidelines, the networking, with a little prompting, will yield results.
Employing an SEO company can help an organization create brand presence on multiple sites and give strategies that make your product information easily available to a large number of people. Simple SEO Group is one such service that understands how social networking marketing differs from traditional SEO and can provide the best approach.
À bientôt tout le monde!!
I am off to the UK next week for the first time since moving to France last year, it’s not really a holiday it’s for my best friend’s hen weekend.
Being away from work for 6 days is going to be interesting, I will still have Internet access but no real time to ‘work’ or check up on my social media networks much.
I have managed to arrange my work around my trip, so all my clients are aware of me not being here but I am still quite anxious about leaving the comfort of my daily work routine.
If you saw my recent blog post Social Media Robot – Do you Automate? you’ll know that I use various third party applications to help me automate a certain amount of my updates each day on my social media networks. I will keep these running while I’m not working (although I do need to top-up Buffer), and of course I’ll have my iPhone with me which means I can keep up with Twitter, Facebook and my Buffer account.
I’ll also be responding to emails (again on my iPhone) so really when I think about it I’ll still be here, but maybe not so much. I don’t think my best friend will appreciate me being on my phone all weekend catching up with my followers on Twitter.
I have made the decision not to schedule any blog posts while I am in the UK, and my reason behind that is I like to share them on my various social networks manually, and I won’t be able to do that if I’m not here.
So… what I have decided to do is give you a list of some of my guest blog posts I have done over the last few months which should last you until I return. I hope they prove useful and if you’d like to leave me some comments I’ll respond to them when I am back at my desk.