If you’re into digital marketing, you will have surely heard people saying that SEO doesn’t work anymore. They are saying that not only SEO is difficult, it isn’t worth the effort considering that most beginners rarely see results in the first six months.
So everyone flocks towards the seemingly more fast-paced social media platforms like Facebook & Instagram. Heck, even the creators themselves admitted to hacking into our brains’ dopamine rush to keep us coming back for more. The ex-Facebook president himself said that it was made to exploit human ‘vulnerability’.
“It was this mindset that led to the creation of features such as the “like” button that would give users “a little dopamine hit” to encourage them to upload more content.” – Sean Parker, ex-president of Facebook.
From what I observe, it seems to be even affecting marketers who are in for some fast cash. And in return, they are required to pump in more capital to keep their ads running; with little to no guarantee that their audience will take action.
It’s going to cost you everything in the long-run if you don’t work smart.
Why do I sound so anti-Facebook and anti-Instagram?
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not against those platforms at all.
What I’m against, is the mindset of beginner Internet Marketers who are jumping into those platforms for fast wealth.
If you have the same patience to wait for your SEO marketing efforts to bear fruit, you can surely make it on Facebook and Instagram too. The difference is that for SEO, you get to reap from FREE traffic, while Facebook and Instagram require you to invest some money into it.
That’s why I’m still a firm believer of SEO.
And my blogs are living proof that SEO is not dead.
What is the potential of SEO?
By definition, SEO is the process of getting traffic from free/ organic/ editorial/ natural search results on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
SEO is an abbreviation for “Search Engine Optimization” and is organic traffic. In other words, it’s FREE, unlike Facebook and Instagram ads. You just need a bit of strategy, and I’ll get you covered on that in another blog post.
Here’s a general example of SEO:
Abby searches Google for something, say ‘the best cameras 2018’.
Now, if your site is displayed on the first page of Google search, there is obviously a much higher chance for Abby to click into your site as compared to the other sites on page 10. In fact, Protofuse published a research showing that more than 90% of your audience will not even bother advancing to page 2!
Two questions you can ask right now are:
- What keywords do I target to get my site on Google search page 1?
- How much traffic would I be getting then?
I will be answering both questions shortly. But first, let’s show you some basic maths.
Assuming the keyword you target is ‘Camera 2018’. Such a popular topic, right?
That keyword can easily reach 100,000 searches every month, don’t you think so?
Consider Protofuse’s research; it tells us that the top 3 organic results capture 61% of clicks.
That gives you 61,000 site visits per month with only ONE keyword.
You can doubt me all you want. But numbers don’t lie.
Let’s look at at this screenshot below from SimilarWeb. For the ease of your understanding, I’ve picked a random website sitting at Top 500,000 in rank.
You don’t need to be among the world’s top 100 websites to be successful in SEO marketing. According to SimilarWeb, even if your website is ranked within the top 500,000 in the world, you can still enjoy a monthly average of 100,000 visitors of which 76% of them are from search engines.
The evidence is up there. That website is enjoying 76,000 keyword-targeted visitors for FREE every month. Think about it.
Think about it REALLY HARD and now ask yourself if Facebook and Instagram ads are ‘better’.
Or do you want me to do the maths for you?
Here. If you are paying Facebook for a standard web traffic generation ad campaign, that will cost you at least $0.50 per click.
$0.50 per click x 100,000 monthly visitors = $50,000
Cheesus Crust. Really?
Don’t you think it’s about time that success depends on how smart your strategy is, instead of how much money you can afford to dump in?
Success in SEO marketing depends heavily on being keyword-targeted, which can totally be LEARNED, for FREE (that’s why I’m here)!
If you run a niche blog, you can even specifically target audiences with high commercial intent keywords, and reach a GLOBAL audience. I’ll give you an example. If you run a blog that reviews all kinds of cameras, and you happen to be reviewing FILM CAMERAS around the same time another new film camera (let’s give it a fake name, Nikon X-80) is launched in the market. You can easily take advantage of all the hype surrounding Nikon X-80; every hipster all over planet Earth is going to Google that camera and you’ll want them to stumble upon your site. Right?
So what do you do?
You target Nikon X-80 as your keyword, along with other obviously essential keywords like film-camera, SLR, and so on.
Now imagine if you were running a Facebook Ad instead. God, can you foresee how much you have to pay for the views and clicks, and the disappointment that follows when your audiences are just…. Trickling in?
Not to mention that Facebook sets different prices for its ads targeted at different regions. It is definitely more expensive to get Canadians to view your blog than the Thais.
Now that you understand the potential of SEO, let’s go over the main question of this article; to write for humans or robots (and which one works better).
Black Hat SEO vs White Hat SEO – Where to cast your ballots?
Black Hat SEO refers to techniques and strategies website owners use to rank higher among search rankings, bending several search engine rules. This makes the Black Hat SEO strategy more robot-skewed because it focuses on targeting purely search engines instead of writing for people.
Meanwhile, the White Hat SEO strategy is people-centric, focusing on human audiences as opposed to search engines. Hence, White Hat SEO advocates will encourage you to focus most of your effort on writing high-quality content, and do some on-site optimization like using meta tags, alt text, good website loading speed etc.
Before we dive into which approach you should take, let me take you through some of the pros and cons of both strategies.
Assuming you will go with White Hat SEO, meaning you are planning to churn out high-quality content in hopes of garnering high readership. And then hopefully, with enough hard work, your site will eventually surface in Top 1 for keywords you target, beating thousands of competitors (eg. Buzzfeed) who also target the same keywords.
Poor baby, that’s not going to happen.
Why? Because Google can’t tell between ‘good’ content and ‘great’ content.
While Google can tell if a content is plagiarized, has shit grammar, or sentences that make no sense, it simply cannot differentiate whether a content is ‘boring’ or ‘engaging’.
What does this mean to you?
There’s only so much you can do with perfecting the content. As soon as you reach that Google ‘Okay’ bar (not plagiarized, proper grammar, sentences make sense), any more time spent on your article will not make any difference to Google.
Any proof to back my claims?
I’m pretty sure you have encountered times when you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for on Google Page 1, so you move on to Page 2, 3, 4 and so forth (until you either find what you are looking for, or give up). As you browse, you sometimes even wonder why these shady-ass, phish-y, scammy content or ugly websites can even rank so highly on Google.
That’s proof right there.
So why on earth do some poorly written shit make it on Google Page 1, while the good stuff fall all the way behind in Google Page 10?
- Targeted Keywords. Briefly speaking, if your article isn’t laser-targeted for certain keywords, chance are, it will rank super low because Google isn’t sure whether your article is what users want to see.
- Quality Backlinks. What constitutes good backlinks are High Page Rank or Page/Domain Authority, a score that predicts how well a specific page will rank on search engine result pages. The higher the score, the greater the rank. If ‘high-authority’ websites like Wikipedia, Quora, Techcrunch, and CNN contain links to your site, Google will assume that you have a better site and content. As simple as that.
All Black Hat SEO marketers understand this straightforward concept, hence some of them go too far to spam as many sites as they can to get backlinks.
Don’t do that. Not only you’ll get reported for spam, the worst case scenario is that Google will penalize you and de-index your site completely if you are caught.
And if Google is smart enough to know what you did last summer, you can bet your ass that they WILL eventually catch up to you.
Be smarter – enter Gray Hat SEO.
Strike a balance, enter the gray area. When you understand the determining factors that Google takes into account before ranking your website, find ways to speed up the process. The key is making Google trust you, that there is a real (and knowledgeable) human being managing the website, not an automated bot.
Here’s what you can do as a Gray Hat SEO practitioner:
- Hire writers (or write them yourself if you’re good enough) to produce unique articles
- Hire Virtual Assistants to ‘manually’ share your content to other websites (eg. Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook)
- Answer questions on Quora and Yahoo Answers
- Create many Web 2.0 sites like Tumblr, Weebly, <Academia.edu> (they have high domain authority) and write short articles to link your followers to your own website.
- Write guides for WikiHow and use an article from your own website as a reference (do not self-promote or you’ll get banned immediately).
Mass create backlinks all you want but make very sure that these are real human beings performing these tasks with decent quality content. As long as real people are involved, Google’s algorithm will approve of you and eventually bump your rank higher and higher, until you get to where you want to be.
If you noticed I’ve been emphasizing on ‘human beings’ and ‘people’ a lot, that’s because this is exactly what Google cares about. Google is all for simplifying things and optimizing experiences for people (UIUX), to make human life easier.
To give people what they like.
People like engaging with other people.
People don’t like spammy bots.
So yeah, you get my point. No bots or spam, or anything that makes Google think that you are irrelevant to people.
I will be sharing with you a long-course on How To Create Backlinks really soon.
Say, somewhere mid-August.
SEO has a huge untapped potential, buzzing with a lot of FREE online traffic which won’t cost you even a dime. Internet Marketing that leverages on SEO is totally worth the amount of time you are going to invest into studying its strategy.
You literally only need to know what Google likes and dislikes.
And as I’ve told you again and again in this article:
Google likes people.
When you finally know how to rank your keywords on Google and rake in enough traffic to your own website, I will then teach you about User Experience and retention.
But until you’ve got this whole “Keywords & Backlinks” thingy on your fingertips and the back of your hands, user experience & retention rate are just some other gimmicks that won’t help bump your website’s ranking in any way.