My first experience with an “actual” SEO company was not pleasant. The folks who work there were pleasant enough, but seeing how they are doing work for their clients was discouraging. I learned many things, however. One thing that I have known for a long time, and which I have tried to base my professional web career on, was reinforced for me.

There are no shortcuts to creating good content.

Obvious, right? But there are many SEO and marketing pros out there who still don’t get it. Even after the Penguin and Panda Google updates, many so-called marketing companies are using black grey hat techniques for their clients. When they do that, they’e placing their clients at risk. It’s inexcusable.

Why good content can’t be rushed

What do we mean when we say there are no shortcuts to creating good content? This:

1. SEO starts with creating good content.

2. You’ll need to gather followers and attract an audience to your content.

3. Neither of these things are easy.

As a result of this “revelation” that good content is critical for SEO success, SEO companies are morphing themselves into marketing companies. An SEO company I recently collaborated with actually uses the words “internet marketing” in their company name. But they don’t have a clue how to market. Their idea of social media marketing was scheduling the same two tweets and two Facebook messages every day, which linked to the client’s own site.¬†Instead, they were trying to game the system. But that’s what artificial link building was, and that’s why Google slapped that away. Google wants legitimate relevancy, they want sites that people like, not machines. This is important:

Build websites that are helpful to human beings, not robots.

The SEO company I mention was abandoning their old method of buying links, since Google frowns on that, and instead was buying websites and planning to send links from them to their clients. They failed to recognize that purchasing page rank and passing it along is not legit.

If you have to purchase relevancy or followers, you’re doing it wrong.

Indeed, when it comes to social media influence, the leader of this SEO company went to a popular Twitter marketplace and “purchased” a few hundred followers. Never mind if these people ever really visited his content or brand, they were now his “followers”. How loyal do you think they really are? How likely are they to share his content? Not likely.

Another thing that marketing companies are doing is farming out content creation. This isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but you should be publishing content that has value. Simply “ordering” 500 words about a topic isn’t creating good content. It’s automating the system. It’s adding to the noise without making the music any sweeter.

If you can automate it and make it real easy, it’s probably not good.

I’ll be writing more about my first look at how the SEO sausage is made, but for now, I hope that webmasters, site owners, creatives, writers, designers, digital marketers, SEO specialists and anyone else in the WWW profession remembers that good content doesn’t come easy. Good traffic takes time. Gathering a crowd that adds value to your brand takes effort and time.

Let’s work toward an Internet where good content rises to the top because it’s good, not because it was easy to make.