Being an expert in your field is a sure fire way to encourage more business, both through trust and immediate association. You may know all there is to know about your field of expertise, but how do you promote this in a way that presents your knowledge to potential consumers?
Search engines (especially Google) want to promote experts in even the most niche of businesses. Their revenue is funded entirely by people trusting that, whatever they type into the search bar, they will be getting some good quality, relevant websites in return.
Article writing – both on your own website and outsourcing to others – is a key way to present yourself online as an expert. There are effective ways of doing this, but there are also practises that are frowned upon by search engines and some can even get your website barred from the results page.
The SEO Laws of Google
If you’re going to be creating articles and distributing them then it’s important that you familiarise yourself with the rules that Google lays out for promotions. If you break these rules and Google notices then you are liable to be punished, perhaps even blocked from search results entirely. The major no-no’s include:
- Paying to have your article posted online without making it clear that you’ve purchased the space
- Posting your articles on known “spammy” websites
- Link exchanges (where you post someone else’s article and they post yours)
- Posting articles purely for the purpose of linking back to your site (i.e. a poorly, written or uninformative article written purely for the purpose of a link or being noticed by search engines.
You may like: Making expert content – Hilltops, hubs and links
Paying to promote yourself is not – in itself – an issue with Google (after all, they make their money through advertising campaigns) but they request full disclosure at all times.
If you pay for an article to be promoted on a website and they don’t make this clear (by stating that the post is sponsored) then this is considered disingenuous and breaks the rules.
The other factors that can get you into trouble with Google is by obviously creating content that is not made for humans to read but is instead designed to work with search engine algorithms.
This can make an article give the impression of being more informative than it is.
Most of these kinds of articles are not designed to be a source for customers but instead purely as a means of creating a link to your website, a practise that Google has started to punish quite severely.
But Don’t People Break Those Rules?
It’s true that, until relatively recently, search engine optimisation could play quite fast and loose with Google’s terms of service. It was common to create spammy articles on all topics to give the false impression of knowledge. Posting to article websites that had no readers but many link opportunities were of low risk but could offer high gains.
Recently, search engines have started to bare their teeth with regards to the conditions of their use. If businesses can give themselves the false impression of excellence then the quality of search engine results come under threat.
This is why recent updates to Google’s algorithms have dramatically increased the penalties and threat of detection in the first place. You are now far more likely to be caught out when creating an “unnatural” profile of articles. So what should you do to ensure that you’re promoting yourself as a thought leader whilst staying in Google’s good books?
Article Writing With Excellence, Not for Robots
Articles and posts are a great way to communicate your knowledge and interest in a subject so it’s imperative that your posts are interesting themselves. Writing for algorithms is a thing of the past with regards to SEO.
Google in particular has expanded to include social media communication when assessing how relevant and popular a post may be. If you’re posting on a small website but you get a terrific amount of likes, comments and other interactions then you may soon find yourself garnering more attention (and a higher rank on search engine results).
Some SEO experts are still hanging onto old habits, which is why some may still recommend the spammy tactics listed above. Though they may bring in quick wins, they also run the risk of blacklisting your website altogether.
At the end of the day, it is better to think about articles which would help your business more in the long term. What topics are of interest to your demographic? Which will build loyalty and curiosity? These are the most important factors when considering content for your website.
Latest posts by Kayleigh Herbertson (see all)
- Pruning your SERPS: What does Google say about you? - October 10, 2014
- Fabric watch: What to look for in your work uniform fabric - July 31, 2014
- Growing Pains: Recognising the need for help - July 29, 2014