By Don Nicholas • 03/09/2011
How to avoid black hat SEO practices while embracing a respectable standard of journalism
There’s a growing trend where media reporters are investigating why certain websites rank so well.
If foul play is afoot, these reporters expose the black hat SEO practices and the offending websites typically feel the consequences. Google has penalized JC Penney, Overstock and, most recently, Demand Media for using black hat SEO practices.
Overstock and JC Penney were guilty of using robots designed to send links back to their website. Demand Media has been supplying the web with an excess of low-quality content that receives very few inbound links.
To avoid a similar fate, online publishers must avoid creating SEO posts just for search engines. Instead, everything we write and publish online has to be high-quality content.
The constant conundrum we experience as publishers is that it’s imperative to write and publish frequently enough to hold a significant position within your market.
Online publishers can take a number of fundamental actions to get more traffic to their website. These include increasing post frequency, promoting all articles through social networking, adding more pages to your site and gaining more inbound links than the competition.
Quality trumps quantity
Demand Media would argue that they haven’t engaged in black hat practices, yet Google is looking into them. Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team, has said over 500 changes have been made to the Google algorithm in the last 12 months. Cutts is aggressively tweaking the algorithm as the last set of changes was designed to differentiate high-quality content from non-quality content.
Currently, bloggers and other web authors are busy generating content. Whether you have a message to share, a need to make a living, or both, don’t abandon the scope of high-quality content.
What publishers and bloggers need to do
There’s a danger that publishers and audience development managers face… if we don’t talk to our staff about proper white hat SEO practices, they might end up going down the wrong path. These tips will help:
White Hat SEO Practice #1: Publishers need to refrain from sending the message of tricking search engines to their editors.
White Hat SEO Practice #2: Do not encourage bloggers to use a frequency that doesn’t allow them to add value to the content.
White Hat SEO Practice #3: As a blogger, ask yourself this question everyday, and after every time you publish an article: “Did I help my readers understand something better than before?”
White Hat SEO Practice #4: Maintain a standard of journalism by creating posts with added value that are relevant to your audience. Demand Media typically fails to add value in their articles.
White Hat SEO Practice #5: Put information in context that original sources fail to do.
Companies like Interweave, Harvard’s Program on Negotiation and VidaySalud.com make it clear that they are blogging about the media by reacting to stories in real time. They focus on adding value to their content to retain as many audience members as possible.
Above all else, never do anything purely for search engines. This is how companies cross the fine line between black hat SEO and legitimate, white hat SEO practices.
At the Mequoda Summit West 2011 we will teach you how to add value to your content while addressing your post frequency. You will learn to blog properly by utilizing a Google Visibility Report and 28 examples of well-crafted blog posts that truly add value for your audience.
Posted in Audience Development Strategy