"Marketing and SEO - Finding The Missing Link"
SEO Power Strategies - Day 29

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Ken Evoy, a very respected and mega-successful online marketer (of SiteSell fame) recently made the following comment:

“The SEO industry is dead .”

Now, as comments go, this one has probably been misinterpreted, reinterpreted and mangled beyond recognition by now. Still, it proves very relevant to today's lesson.

You see, Ken Evoy has been criticizing the search engine optimization industry for a long time now, and with good reason – his website SiteSell, and the countless people who use his products, are living proof of the belief that “organic marketing” is successful.

Today, we're going to “crack” the code of organic marketing and find out how to make it work for us.

What is Organic Marketing?

Organic SEO, or the “organic” website growth model, is fairly straight-forward. It starts off by assuming that the ultimate goal of a website is to provide something useful to its visitors (and if you make money doing so, good for you).

Now, like any real-world store or shop, a website needs traffic . In the long run, this traffic cannot be dependent on any one source (like Google, for example). If a doughnut shop depended on the next-door police station ONLY and did no advertising, what do you think will happen to their revenues if the police station relocated? For a business to survive in the long run, they must diversify their sources of income, which in turn means that they must diversify their sources of traffic .

This is the first cornerstone of organic marketing – thinking long-term .

The second component of organic marketing deals with the actual methods and practices of marketing – an emphasis on “natural” marketing and search engine optimization. In the last lesson on “buzz marketing”, you read about how one can use existing market exposure to create popularity, or a “buzz”, about a new product or service launch.

Organic marketing expands to cover “natural” link-building , in which you focus on creating excellent content and providing very useful services and letting your reputation build through “word of mouth” or plain ol' referrals. Then, as people start linking to your website because your website is unique and very useful, you get your link popularity . Pretty soon, you also get high search engine rankings as more and more people come across your website, find it useful and then link to it.

Therefore, organic marketing focuses on creating awareness, of spreading information – through articles, press releases, excellent content and community participation (think forums and blog comments) – with a core emphasis on providing value to the visitors.

A quick exercise:

Pick one of your websites, and write down at least 3-5 things that you can change in order to provide more value to your visitors. It could be something simple, as adding well-written, fresh content, or providing a free e-book on your industry, or simply by giving advice in an industry forum. If you provide a service through your website, think in terms of giving something “extra” to your customers – a bonus, or doing more work than asked for.

This will take you no more than 5 minutes, but make a point to act on the points you write down – you'll be surprised at the response from your visitors.

Let's summarize:

  • A long-term view of marketing and a diversification of your website's sources of traffic and income.
  • Natural marketing techniques that focus on getting links by spreading awareness of your website's quality and unique value .
  • Emphasis on providing value to your visitors / customers – through quality content and by “going the extra mile”.

Now that we know what organic marketing is about, let's match this with search engine optimization – how we can do “organic” SEO and get tremendous amounts of traffic to our websites.

Natural SEO - Getting Started.

Content Matters

To start off with, content is king . I've said this enough times already, but without content, your website is going nowhere. Make sure your website is regularly updated by fresh, quality content that is unique (i.e. not blatantly copied off from other sources) and useful to your target audience.

Smart Linking Strategy

Focus on topical link exchanges that will genuinely provide value to the visitors of both websites. It might sound like a lot of fluff, but link for link, a link on a general “links” page where you are competing with 50 other links for the reader's attention is worse than a link on a page where you have:

  • less competition
  • your link is “contextually relevant” (i.e. it's part of a larger portion of text about a topic related to your website)
  • The anchor text is varied but keyword specific

* With this in mind... Don't ignore off-topic link exchanges. Just focus your main attention to related links.

Alternative sources of traffic

Article exchanges, press releases, buzz marketing – these are just three of the ways you can build up an array of alternative traffic sources. Not only will you survive any changes in your search engine rankings if an algorithm update pushes your website into the pits, but you will also be building your link popularity along the way.

  • Articles will build your reputation and readership and give you great link popularity over time.
  • Press releases (when done right) offer you media exposure – this translates into your website being covered in different news sources (and therefore getting in front of a lot of “eyeballs”) for a limited period of time – valuable traffic that your website can convert into regular visitors / customers. In addition, the news coverage also gets you links from authority sites.

Community Participation

If you were in a brick-and-mortar business, what would be the best way to keep a check on the “pulse” of your industry and build strong business relationships?

Trade shows, seminars, industrial expos… all the standard marketing platforms that are available to you.

On the internet, this translates into participating in forums and more recently, participating on discussions on blogs (as well as maintaining your own). Community involvement isn't strictly SEO – this is more about building your reputation as an expert in your industry. Another benefit is that of visibility – if you are “known” in the industry circles, your advice will be automatically valued, and along the way, other websites will link to you as a source of reliable, useful information.


If you offer a service through your website, here's a simple tactic you can use – ask your customers to refer you to their friends . While you're doing that, mention that placing a link (along with descriptive content) on their website

Referrals are very, very important in traditional marketing – many SEO experts, copywriters, designers, doctors, lawyers, resume writers, consultants and other professionals work solely on referrals. It builds trust – a referral is a recommendation – and you're getting other people to do your publicity for you.

And of course, in SEO terms, you're getting an extra link to your website.

This works even if you're selling a product or just providing content on your website – simply place a note on your website asking your readers to link to it if they like the content (with a product, you can do it in the follow-up emails). You'd be pleasantly surprised at the success of this technique.

Also, affiliate marketing works on the same principle, but with an added advantage – affiliates are more willing to provide you with quality links because they only make money when you do.


The Verdict.

In reality, most webmasters doing SEO fail to follow one or more of these simple steps. In fact, almost 90 % or more search engine optimization experts would say that they compromise on at least one of the guidelines listed above.

On the other hand – the top SEO experts, the industry leaders; every single one of them preaches from the same book and they all point to the above set of principles as the “best” way to gain search engine rankings as well as the “best” way to get traffic to your site (so you can make money from it).

So who is Dr. Evoy talking about? The 10 % or the 90%?

More importantly, where do you stand?

For most of us an online business is a valuable source of income and in the long run, if you do not take necessary steps to secure that income, you will lose out. And it all starts with sticking to simple steps and putting them into action.

SEO, organic marketing, whatever you want to call it – this stuff works. Not because this is some “secret” backdoor into the search engine algorithms, but because when you focus on providing value to your customers and back that effort up with smart marketing , you'll always win.

All the best,

Brad Callen
Professional SEO
SEO Elite: SEO Software

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