Good search engine optimization costs less than secret strategies.

ToolsIt’s cheaper to do good search engine optimization legitimately, than it is to use “black hat” SEO. That’s a paraphrase from a talk Google’s Matt Cutts delivered to attendees at a recent Search Engine Strategies conference in San Francisco.

If a wave of dot-com millionaire philanthropists was the first sweeping effect of Silicon Valley’s growing influence on American business, “user focus” is the other. Spend more than five minutes at one of California’s leading tech firms (I have), and you’ll learn that delivering the best possible user experience is the only way to survive out there.

That’s not to say that business owners don’t care about their customers. However, this recession has shown us that buyers have grown reluctant to patronize companies that don’t match their expectations, or even their world views. The user experience extends to prospects visiting your website, or even searching the Internet for information that will help them make a decision.

Every week, I meet at least one more business owner who’s frustrated that they can’t just buy their way to the top of organic search engine results pages. Novice competitors have driven the cost of sponsored links sky-high in some categories, squeezing ad budgets even further. It’s not surprising that a black hat strategy appeals to business owners accustomed to traditional paid media and advertising budgets.

Instead, post good content, and your audience will share your site via social media amplification without the need for paid promotion. Bloggers and journalists will link to your pages with no prompt from bizarre backlinking networks. Your content becomes your calling card, your top-ranked search result, and your lead generation tool, all in one.

You don’t have to write this content on your own. It might surprise you that a basic, effective search engine optimization campaign can generate helpful, valuable content while costing much less than typical black hat SEO programs. The strategy I use with my clients generates enough original, valuable content within thirty days to start seeing results. Contact me to find out more about content strategy and what we’re doing with our current (and future) clients. Or, skip the dance and just sign up today. Either way, it’s time for you to invest in your online presence the way you invest in the rest of your customer and user experience.

Joe Taylor Jr. has produced stories about media, technology, entertainment, and personal finance for over 25 years. His work has been featured on NPR, CNBC, Financial Times Television, and ABC News. After launching one of public radio's first successful digital platforms, Joe helped dozens of client companies launch or migrate their online content libraries. Today, Joe serves as a user experience consultant for a variety of Fortune 500 and Inc. 5000 businesses. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram