The Internet is filled with scammers and spammers. Make sure you are not one of them. Be one of the good guys – focus on ethical content marketing at all times.
It is not simply bad to be unethical, it will eventually come back to haunt you. Although the Internet is vast, a niche can be quite small. Eventually unethical practices will be recognized and your reputation damaged, possibly beyond repair.
If you want to build a real fan base that sees you as trustworthy and your content as a source of valuable information, make sure that you are being ethical day-in and day-out.
Avoid Black Hat SEO Techniques
A recent article in Forbes Magazine, 25 Black Hat Techniques that Are Killing Your SEO, by John Rampton, stated,
“Think black hat SEO is a thing of the past? Think again.
Unfortunately, underhanded and shady practices are still alive and well in the SEO world. While most SEOs and website owners don’t intentionally set out to deceive the search engines, ignorance is no excuse; using these strategies to get ahead in the search rankings will inevitably get you penalized, whether you meant to be deceptive or not.”
These techniques are used by people who are looking for quick financial returns rather than staying in the game for the long-term.
They use SEO strategies that are meant to outmaneuver Google and other search engines rather than focus on the needs of an audience.
Below is a short list of common black hat tactics:
- Article Spinning (manual or automated)
- Keyword Stuffing
- Doorway pages
- Page Swapping (changing the page after it has been ranked)
- Copy and Paste Content Creation (Duplicate Content or Mirror Sites)
- Spam Comments with Links
- Selling or Buying Links
The Forbes article referenced above explains the tactics listed in detail, plus many more.
Unfortunately, when I first started, I used a couple of these methods without realizing they were bad – but no more. Be careful you do not get caught in the same trap.
SEO is definitely an important consideration; but, the quality of your content should always be your first concern. When you post quality content, SEO becomes added spice to get search engine attention and page ranking.
As a writer for the web, you will take information from a variety of sources – just make sure you do not copy and paste and claim it as your own – that is plagiarism
Always give credit where credit is due.
Use Content Curation
Content Marketing Institute defines content curation:
“Content curation assembles, selects, categorizes, comments on, and presents the most relevant, highest quality information to meet your audience’s needs on a specific subject.”
Content curation is a smart and effective way of sharing great content produced by others with your audience – always giving credit to the source.
Curating content strategically involves finding, organizing, and publishing the most relevant content for your audience in a way that adds value to already exceptional material.
Respect and Protect Your Audience
When marketing with an email list, be sure that there is a clear and easy way to “opt-out” of receiving your messages. Include an unsubscribe link in every email.
Be completely transparent at all times. Let your audience know about any information you collect, use, or store.
NEVER share or sell your audience’s personal information with a third party.
Test Before Posting
When each piece of content is complete and ready for posting, ask the question: “Does this content offer value to my readers? Does it provide useful information that educates, helps, or entertains them?”
When you can honestly answer yes, you have done well and can schedule the post. If there is any doubt, rework the content until it is ready.
When you use ethical content marketing practices, are honest and transparent in your actions, and consistently add value to your audience, you are doing things right.
Be true to yourself and your audience! Be one of the good guys!