I was on Quora.com today answering digital marketing questions that some business owners had posted. In case you’ve never heard of it, Quora.com is a place where people can go to ask questions about virtually anything — and people will provide answers. (I love to go out and educate business owners as much as I can. It’s fun for me!)

I came across the question below and was shocked! I’m amazed that people are STILL trying to “game” or “trick” search engines like Google by using spammy SEO tactics (aka Black Hat or Gray Hat). I copied the question and provided my answer below so you can see my philosophy. I hope you enjoy!

Q. What are the most effective SEO tactics right now? (white hat, gray hat or black hat, doesn’t matter)

What are the most effective SEO tactics that you’ve seen.  I tried searching for this, but I couldn’t find a recent answer.

I’ll start it off:

1) Exact match domain names – They’re not as effective as they used to be, but they still seem to give you a boost in search engines.

2) Long tail keyword stuffing – using the Google keyword you can find all the longtail keywords that Google expects to see in your posts.  Then you can just add them where they make sense in your article.

3) backlinks – Having backlinks to high PR sites works wonders.

What are the best you’ve used?


A. First don’t ask for SEO black hat or gray hat strategies…

First, don’t ask for SEO black hat or gray hat strategies. Please don’t. By asking that question it shows that you don’t have the confidence in your business or what your business has to offer that you need to resort to trying to trick the search engines AND potential customers. You don’t want to help your customers find you on the merits of your business. That’s just shady.

Next, there are a variety of SEO strategies you can (and should) implement on — and off — your site. With SEO it’s not just one thing that will get you to rank higher — it’s a combination of strategies and tactics.

First, one thing that Google and searchers like is content — and that means writing quality content — and adding it to your site as often as possible. Most business owners cringe at the thought of writing a blog post. The best way to do that is by doing some keyword research to see what people are searching for (you can do this by signing up for a free Google AdWords account and using their Keyword Planner.) When you’re looking at a list of keywords, look at the volume and also look at the competition. You want to find a middle ground — keywords that have a relatively high search volume but isn’t as highly competitive. Pick one or two keywords for each web page and use the keywords approximately two times and use synonyms and other ways of “saying” the keywords you’re targeting. Google is now smart enough to recognize the semantics of words and their various meanings.

Another thing that helps with SEO is getting your business listed on quality online business directories. Make sure your business’ Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) is exactly the same on as many of these directories as possible and that you complete all the information requested. When you do a search you will often see directory results, like Yelp, Yellowbook, Merchant Circle, etc. showing up towards the top of organic results:

If you want to see how your business appears on some of these directories, visit Run a Directory Listing Report.

Other simple things like making sure you have keywords in the Title and Description tags, use H1 and H2’s, submit your XML sitemap to Google and the other search engines, add Alt tags to images, etc.

Everything should be based on quality and geared towards what your customers are looking for.

If you want to learn more about SEO, there’s a NEW edition of best-selling book The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization that recently came out. I would HIGHLY getting a copy of that book and reading it cover to cover.

To Your Success,

Sherry Bonelli