Organic Marketing: How to Deliver SEO Results Without Stooping to Grey or Black Hat Techniques
Chris is the Head of Operations and a Growth Marketer at Lean Labs who enjoys strategizing and writing content that drives results. When not typing away, Chris is exploring nature with his two daughters, wife, and dogs.
Does it feel like your site is struggling to rank, even when you know your content is better than the competition?
It's frustrating. You've done what you can to provide quality content, but you're still faced with low traffic, and the first page of the search results is missing your site.
It may be tempting to lean towards some Gray or Black Hat tactics, like link farming or keyword stuffing. But, if you can use the right techniques, your rank will steadily climb to the top of the results page.
Organic Marketing Techniques That Will Skyrocket Your Results
Many business owners believe there are two approaches to organic marketing. You can play the long game, slowly building your results over time by providing value-packed content for your audience. Or, you can attempt a short game, and risk it all like a game of roulette.
You see, some marketer working out of his parents' basement can promise results. He can use black hat techniques to improve your site's rankings in a fraction of the time, but when Google catches, the site gets blasted so far from the top page, it may never be seen again.
For the basement dweller, it doesn't matter. He'll change domains and move on to the next project. For your brand? It's a catastrophe. Expedia even made headlines when they were penalized, and it took the company working non-stop to undo the damage.
Still, not all companies have the resources or contacts to regain their footing like Expedia, and all it takes is one of your marketers using some black hat tactics to put your entire brand at risk. By establishing the right approach, you can ensure this doesn't happen to you.
Publish Relevant Content
Providing relevant content means more than just delivering something themed to fit your brand. It's about producing material that speaks to a specific problem, for a specific customer, in a specific way. Without that specificity, your strategy loses its footing.
Many companies fail at their organic marketing by creating content only about their product. While it's not a bad practice to include your offers in the work you distribute, it's important to remember customers don't care about your product. They care about getting a solution to their problem.
If you can write content that addresses their issues, it'll be infinitely more valuable than a piece about why your production process is better than the competition.
To get the most out of your relevant content, you need to be looking deeper than what problem you're solving. Customer intent matters, meaning, the method and terms they use to find your content is essential. Someone searching for "best lawn care providers near me" isn't expecting a thorough article or video on lawn maintenance. They want to know who can do it for them, and they want it as quickly available as possible.
Alternatively, if someone searches "how to cut patterns into your lawn," they're looking for a step by step instruction of how to get it done.
If you find yourself straying from the topic, jot the idea down, and create a different asset to address it. This increases your total content available, giving you more chances to be found, and it raises the potential of users effectively engaging with your material. Don't be afraid to update your content, keeping it fresh with new links to your content.
Find the Right Word Count
Longer content is something else many companies want to produce, mainly because they believe the higher word count will affect their SEO rankings. The reality is that it will affect their rankings, just not in the way they hoped.
If you can create a 2,000 plus word article that remains on topic and captures the reader's attention throughout, it's going to work in your favor. Throwing fluff into content will not.
By creating something scannable, people will scroll through your content, decide if it's worth reading, then go back to the top and start, so long as they see value in it. By them actually reading the material because it's packed with relevant information, you're increasing their time on page and the potential they check out other content on your site, dropping your bounce rate. These stats are appealing to Google, and the search engine sees it as proof that your site is worth ranking.
Have a Plan for Links
If you've done any research into SEO, you've heard of link building and the benefits of "link juice" for your rankings.
Before you consider asking for any backlinks to your site, you need to go back to the relevance section. If the articles or sites you're linking to aren't relevant to your topic, and if your backlinks have nothing to do with your content, you're doing more damage than good. Neil Patel is one of the masters of link building, and even he recommends creating content that attracts backlinks first.
Internal links within your site are a great way to provide additional resources for your readers while keeping your current content specific to the topic. So if you're writing an article like this one, you can share techniques for link building, so if readers take an interest, they can check it out.
Your SEO will also gain traction through your distribution and promotion of content. By sharing on your social profiles, you increase the links directed back at your page and also give your audience a chance to engage with the content on a different platform. Don't rely solely on the auto-publish feature of apps. Manually share and engage with posts if you want the best results. Also, keep an eye out for reviews and mentions, as generating these will also give you some link juice if they're pointed back to your site.
Target the Right Keywords for Each Piece of Content
While it's important to keep things relevant, if you can target the right keywords, your content will climb faster.
The best way to do this is with topic clusters, which should be your fist step, leading into keyword selection and headline creation. Google now looks more at the topic and niche you're creating content for when it ranks your site. Keywords are still essential to this, but if you can group like keywords into clusters, it works all the better.
Once you've decided what your overarching topic is, you can work down to the longtail keywords you want to target. This makes your content way more useful to your readers, but because it'll link back to the parent topic, it's also seen as more useful to Google.
You should research your keywords for volume and difficulty of ranking, but more importantly, you should ensure the terms you're targeting are what your personas are searching for. Monthly search volume does no good if it's for the wrong crowd.
Tools like Yoast SEO or HubSpot's optimization tool will give you specific advice on each piece of content for where to include your keywords within the text. Generally, placing them in your title and any sub-headings are the best. And while it may seem like a good idea to add keywords into every nook and cranny of your site, that's one of the black hat tactics you want to avoid.
All of your keywords should be contextually used, not littered around the page in hopes that it'll boost rankings. If Google believes you're keyword stuffing, you'll be forced to suffer the consequences.
Earning the SEO Results You Deserve
The bottom line is this: if you want to crush organic marketing, you can focus on the tactics and techniques that'll get you quick results but lead to your site's downfall a month later. Or, you can create the content that deserves to rank. If your site deserves the top spot on the SERPs, you'll have way more success than the competition.
The difference between those who are successful at organic marketing and those who fail is that they did last year what the failures were unwilling to. They fought to deserve the ranking, which isn't easy.