We meet with clients on a regular basis who have the impression SEO still involves getting some backlinks and adding some keywords on site. Good to go, right? Uh, not so much.

Remember back in the day when you’d type in a search for something and you’d get some accurate results, but others seemed to have no relevance whatsoever? Yep, they were probably using hidden keywords on their site and buying a bunch of backlinks all over the net.

These are referred to as “black hat SEO.”

Google decided quite some time ago that it wanted to provide “real” results to web surfers. They’ve been doing at least quarterly (if not more often) updates to their algorithms for years now in an effort to make the search results you get honest, relevant and when appropriate, geographically accurate. If you’re searching for an ice cream shop in San Francisco, you shouldn’t get results for a rug store in Chicago.

Google basically wiped out backlink seller sites in one fell swoop. If your site was getting links from these sites, it’s likely the cleanup took your site with it. So, what’s a business owner to do?

The New (Honest) SEO

Welcome to the era of relevancy, honesty and integrity. So what is Google looking for? How do you do SEO now? Here are a few highlights:

  • Provide relevant, fresh, helpful content around your desired key phrases
  • Have a presence on the social media platforms that make sense for your business and participate consistently. Google isn’t just looking for the fact you set up a Facebook page 2 years ago; they are looking to see that you are interacting there.

This video by LilliMedia and Gangplank is a bit of a long watch at 30-ish minutes, but if you want answers about how the new SEO works (including straight from Matt Cutts of Google), this video is the holy grail. It’s just plain awesome. If you are remotely interested in doing proper, valuable and honest SEO for your business, you should take the time to watch this.

Spoiler alert: the takeaways involve ongoing work and there’s no magic pill. Doing SEO the right way involves honesty, integrity, time and effort. But if done properly, you will reap the rewards. Grab a fresh cup of coffee (or whatever sounds tasty) and watch away. Be prepared to take some notes!

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