With four full-length albums since 2010 and a slew of chart-topping singles, 20-year old Justin Bieber is nothing short of a superstar. The young pop artist offers more than his music though; he can teach us a few things about search engine optimization too.
1) SEO isn't a street race. If you move too fast and try to cut corners, you'll get caught.
In January 2014, cops allegedly spotted Bieber speeding through the streets of Miami Beach in a yellow Lamborghini and arrested him under suspicion of DUI. Although Bieber took a plea deal and settled for a careless driving charge, the incident reflects an important fact about organic search ranking: moving fast is never a good idea. Quick-fix SEO tactics, like unnatural link building, are useless if you're in it for the long haul.
Employing SEO tactics that blatantly defy Google guidelines might work for a little while, but Google will eventually find out and nail the site with an algorithmic or manual penalty. SEO isn't about winning a street race, it's about running a marathon. This means steady, natural link /content building, and a continued effort to meet visitors' needs.
2) Black hat SEO is like egging your neighbor's house: a bad idea.
In July 2014, Bieber pled no contest to minor vandalism charges after allegedly egging a neighbor's house in Los Angeles. Bieber paid more than $80,000 to repair the damaged home, a price that sadly failed to mend his reputation. While the prank probably seemed like a good idea at the time, it came back to bite him later – much like bad SEO.
The term "black hat SEO" refers to any optimization techniques that disregard Google guidelines:
- Unnatural Links
- Paid Links
- Keyword Stuffing
- Negative SEO
- Invisible Text
In short, any strategy that attempts to "outsmart" the search engine, deliver a poor user experience, or cut corners is black hat SEO.
3) Much like a cellphone, you can't steal content that doesn't belong to you.
During an infamous altercation between the star and a fan, Bieber attempted to swipe a cellphone from a woman when she tried to take his picture. A short time later, the woman accused Bieber of attempted robbery. The story not only created a buzz in the celebrity gossip world, but demonstrated a simple fact that applies to online marking: you can't take something that doesn't belong to you.
Copied content is a pervasive problem for websites. Duplicate content may seem like an easy way to fill space on your site, but it fails to deliver the user experience viewers need. Not only does it eliminate information that specifically markets your business, it neglects one of Google's simplest criteria for a high quality website: original content.
Instead, use pages that accomplish these objectives:
- Answer readers' questions and concerns
- Provides a unique, authoritative perspective
- Markets your business's unique attributes
4) Social media is a tool; it can boost your reputation or damage it.
Bieber is known for taking a record-breaking number of selfies. He even funded a social networking site called "Shots" that tells users to "Share what you are doing through selfies and photos." In 2007, Bieber began his musical career by posting YouTube videos of himself singing. Although news sources called some of his recent social media posts "offensive," one thing is certain: Bieber knows how to use social media to get attention.
Social media is a useful tool for businesses too. It is an outlet for your business to connect with viewers, post updates, and create sharable information to gain an audience. Through sites like Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, your business can consistently provide new, interesting, and relevant information for visitors.