My wife Tina has a favorite phrase that came out of working with horses.  “You get more on the give than you do on the take.”  It’s a homespun way of saying that, beyond being the right thing to do, giving will serve you better than taking.  SEO is no exception to that rule.

sign saying "pay it forward zone"This isn’t about mechanics.  It’s more about metaphysics.  I don’t want to go all creepy new-age on you, after all you came here for some pointy-headed SEO tips, I get that.  But this is about a fundamental principle that I absolutely believe works, and that I absolutely teach as an essential skill for SEO success: contribution.

As John Alexander, founder of Search Engine Academy, wisely asks:

Do you create content that serves your customer’s needs FIRST and your own needs second? Everyone says they do keyword research but that is usually limited to a set of keyword phrases, right?

Every day people are searching on the Internet for a myriad of reasons usually based on the circumstances in their life. The next time you create a high performance page, see if there is not opportunity to meet the customer’s search need first and satisfythe reason why they searched.

Tina on her horse Milagro

Tina on Milagro, Giving and Getting

The fact is that in a plethora of ways serving the needs of your site visitors and your target audience will actually improve your odds of ranking high in the search engines.  It’s not a quick technique, but it’s a lasting one.   As you build valuable content, improve your website services, enhance the predictability and reliability of your information, you will encourage incoming links and you automatically will theme pages correctly.  SEO will take time but become almost effortless.

Is contribution enough?  Sometimes.  Usually you are best served by learning the skills of SEO and then matching that with a spirit of contribution.  The combination will inevitably make you a powerful force in the search engine results pages you are most interested in.

Sorry to go all corny on you, but you need it.  You lovable cynic, you.