The good, the bad and the ugly of SEO


Matthew Capala is the author of “Far from the average,”A NYU professor and founder of This adapted excerpt comes from Matthew’s latest book, “SEO As I am 5 years old.

“80 percent of success shows up,” Woody Allen said of life. Marketing in 2014 is not much different. You should introduce yourself when consumers search for your product or service on Google, when you are talked about on social media, or when you receive a review or comment.

Why? Because showing up equals money:

  • 80% of consumers research a product / service before buying it
  • 70% read online reviews before making a buying decision
  • 68% of consumers start their decision making by searching for a keyword
  • Websites that blog regularly receive 55% more traffic and over 80% more leads compared to websites that don’t.
  • Over 70% of search clicks are organic

You don’t need a litany of statistics to know that appearing on the Internet brings big profits. You already know it.

We all look to Google, social media, review blogs, and other websites when making most of the decisions in life in 2014, including purchasing decisions. It’s a fact.

Yet many brands still miss the vast opportunities that search engines, blogging, and social media have to offer. They don’t appear when consumers search for or talk about them. At the central point of decision-making, when the buying intention is the highest possible, they leave money on the table.

Do you introduce yourself?

Take a quick test, now and here on your mobile phone. Google a few keywords that best describe your product or service. Not your brand’s keywords, but more generic terms.

If they can’t find you, you don’t exist. If you don’t talk to them, you’re irrelevant. Without great content, you are boring.

In a world where 80% of consumers research a product or service before purchasing it, invisibility is a much worse fate than failure.

Are your sales plummeting despite the surge in investment in advertising? This is because only about 0.10% of people click on banner ads today. Thus, the advertising industry counts and charges for “impressions”, a third of which are not even seen by humans. About 86% ignore TV ads, and 44% of direct mail are never opened. The list goes on.

There is too much on the Internet for consumers to appreciate being interrupted. Marketing in 2014 and beyond isn’t about interrupting consumers when they enjoy content. It’s about “being” that content.

The good news is that new digital tools have emerged that allow individuals and businesses to earn millions of dollars online without any significant cost to start and promote a business. Barriers to entry no longer exist. Marketing is now democratized.

Avoid getting into trouble with Google

There are many reasons why you might not be using inbound marketing channels (such as SEO, blogging, social media, and newsletters) to generate leads.

You may have tried, you are burnt and given up. I hear it all the time. Believe me, it’s not that inbound marketing isn’t working for you, it’s the other way around; you didn’t make it work for you.

Or… you might have gotten into trouble with Google for being irresponsible. Examples include outsourcing your SEO to the Philippines it guaranteed to “get you above Google for 10 keywords” for a few hundred dollars.

Here is what Stephen C. Baldwin, Author of“Net Slaves: True Tales of Working the Web” (McGraw-Hill) and editor-in-chief of Didit said on the topic:

I have had the good fortune to interview a number of SEO spammers in my career as a journalist. Sadly, they all share an obsession with quick cash, contempt for searchers who consume their shoddy content, and the strangely irrational belief that they will always be able to operate outside the scope of the law.

The good news is that marketers who use a smart SEO approach will actually profit a lot more over time than those who use the raw and risky optimization tactics of the past.

The good, the bad and the ugly of SEO

Over the years, SEO “practitioners” have contributed to massive amounts of spam and poor quality content on the web.

They broke directories, stuffed keyword content, spammed blog comments, bought and exchanged links in order to play with Google’s algorithm and push poor content to the top of the keyword rankings. . Well, it was bad, and sometimes ugly, but it worked! I often call this period the “Wild West Era” of SEO.

Screenshot 25/11/2014 at 11:35.04

Until 2011, when Google released their first major anti-spam algorithm called Panda, you got the upper hand in Google buying links and serving tons of shoddy content.

Recent Google Algorithm Updates, both Panda and Penguin, have made many of the old SEO tactics obsolete.

You still need to understand how the search algorithm works in order for your content to perform well on Google or Facebook’s graphical search. The game changer is that, as marketers, we can’t just worry about the “keyword”. Instead, we need to optimize our content to relate to‘who’ typed it into the search box.

Google’s algorithm is basically a machine that tries to think like a human. So social cues, author authority, and any kind of user engagement metric become a big part of how Google decides what goes on top.

Instead of chasing Google’s algorithm, get ahead of it. Put the user first.

In 2014 and beyond, marketers need to align their keyword strategy throughout the user journey, with an emphasis on the connection between content and intent (i.e. say the key word) through methodical profiling, research and audience analysis.

The Good: White Hat SEO

The key to SEO success is to focus on quality: quality optimization, quality content and quality relationships! With quality on your side, users and algorithms will be on your side as well.

Quality optimization. Optimize your website to help search engines understand what your content is through technical onsite SEO.

Quality content.Create valuable content for your target users it is both shareable and link-worthy.

Quality relationships. Build strong relationships with others in your industry through social media to amplify your content and improve your chances of getting valuable backlinks to your website.

The bad: Black Hat SEO

There are many SEO companies and consultants for whom time has stood still in 2011. Every second, as we speak, a new business is sold on $ 200 hassle-free SEO packages. guaranteed to place them on the first pages of Google for a number of keywords. Do you really believe in fairy tales? There is no free lunch in SEO.

The end result is often more harmful than beneficial if any of the following practices are implied:

Purchase links. Participate in any type of binding or truss schemes. Paying for links is a major violation of Google’s terms of service.

Acquire shoddy links. Manual creation of hundreds of low quality backlinks via directory submissions and comments. Google knows better; you should too.

Spinning of articles. Rewrite and publish low quality content at scale on the web. These links are garbage.

The Ugly: SEO Spam

There are many forms of spam that the fishy element of the Internet hackers and unethical SEOs have thought about over the years. This is a big deal for Google, which is constantly trying to filter its search results against spam.

You may be flagged for spam and be banned from Google’s index for practicing any of the SEO spam tactics below:

Fake accounts, reviews or comments. You can also be sued and fined.

Content spam. These techniques involve stuffing keywords, doorway pages, or hidden or invisible text straight from the 1990s playbook.

Spam blogs. Blogs built on stolen and duplicate content with thousands of useless web pages. These sites exist only for monetization and do not provide any value to the user.

You want to know more ? Discover my book “SEO Like I’m 5: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization.”

Read more :Google’s Penguin is flapping its wings again – but what about the dreaded penalty for guest posts?

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