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We’ve all heard “honesty is the best policy” and the golden rule of “treat others like you would want to be treated.” They’re overstated and actually quite cheesy, but hold truth. In fact, authenticity is hugely important to how great your web presence is. No longer can you get by on shady tricks and dishonest tactics. People want the real deal and so does Google. First, here’s a real world example of how being sketchy earns consequences rather than success.

Be Authentic in Your Web Presence - Spark My SiteThe VW Scandal

Back in September 2015, Volkswagen came under fire about how they cheated nitrogen oxide emissions tests in nearly 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide. Also they lied about the amount of carbon dioxide emissions and fuel usage for about 800,000 vehicles, including some with gas engines. Basically people thought they were purchasing a super clean car from Volkswagen when really vehicles were pumping out 40 times the allowed level of nitrogen oxides. So you can imagine the kind of backlash VW received after the scandal broke loose. There were many things that unfolded within this scandal, but to summarize: after many firings (including the CEO) VW had to pay $10 billion to affected owners, $2.7 billion for environmental clean-up and $2 billion to promote zero-emissions vehicles. $14.7 billion all because they thought cheating would get them ahead. That’s a pretty hefty consequence. This is a large scale, non-web example of what can happen if you’re dishonest, but not being authentic on the web can have it’s consequences as well. Read more about the VW scandal here.

What it Means to be Authentic

Users are tired of being hoodwinked. They want to know when they search for a product or service they are going to find exactly what they are looking for. Not only are users getting smarter, but every day Google improves its algorithms to stomp out Black Hat tricks people are using to try and get ahead. Being authentic in your web presence means using original content, phrasing, images, etc. Come up with your own content from your blog posts instead of copying and pasting from somewhere else. Don’t market yourself one way and sell something completely different, people hate that! This is where “treat others how you would want to be treated” comes into play. Would you want search something on the web and think you found a solution to your problem only to be tricked into purchasing something else? Be authentic and think about how that would feel for yourself and apply those same principles to your potential clients.

Many people try to use Black Hat SEO tricks to boost their search engine ranking. For a refresher on what tricks are considered Black Hat check out our blog post 5 Black Hat SEO Tricks you Should Avoid.

Tips on Being Authentic

To drive more traffic to your website and in return get more conversions, you must be authentic! Here are 5 tips to help with having authentic SEO to help your search engine rankings:

1. Focus on your Keywords

Don’t stuff your blogs and webpages full of unnecessary keywords. Make a list of keywords that accurately describe your business that may be things people are typing into Google

Be Authentic in Your Web Presence - Spark My Site2. How is you Navigation?

Is your website confusing to navigate? Are there too little or too many options for navigating. Too vague leads users nowhere and too many navigational options becomes overwhelming. Go through your site and determine whether your navigation is streamlined enough.

3. Properly Linking Internally

Are you taking advantage of linking to other pages within your website? Many times landing pages are more of a launch pad out to other pages of relevance on your site. If you are internally linking properly then you are sending users through out the whole experience of your page.

4. How is your Content?

To have authentic SEO means having quality content. Many times people think the more content you have the better your SEO will be. This is false. Its not about the quantity as much as it is about the quality of your content. Don’t push out weak content for the sake of having new blog post. Take your time and come up with a content strategy to ensure the content that is going on your page is valuable.

5. Have Genuine Social Presence

If you haven’t already, you need to create social media accounts for your business and do a good job of consistently updating them. Having a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. for your business helps you promote and educate people outside of just your website. It’s also a great way to bring traffic to your site. Don’t falsely advertise yourself through social media just to derive traffic. Be authentic through what you post on your accounts as well.

Honesty is the Best Policy

If you avoid the temptation of using shady tactics to boost your SEO, your business is more likely to succeed. We can guarantee no one would want to be in situation like Volkswagen was in. People crave genuine honesty and want to know what they are potentially investing in isn’t just BS. Give the people what they want and be authentic in your web presence.