Author Archives: Remy Albillar

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About Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

How Businesses Can Use Emoji on Social Media While Keeping It Professional

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Emoji On Social Media Professionally - Eminent SEO

You’ve seen them in text messages. You’ve seen them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a long list of other social medial platforms. You may have even seen them decorating billboards or personalizing the advertisements you see in real life or in print.

Emoji have evolved way beyond adding some flavor or personality to instant messaging. They’re a full-fledged cultural phenomenon.

The question many businesses are now asking is whether it makes sense for them to use emoji in their own advertising. Specifically, they’d like to know how their use of emoji will affect their perceived professionalism or impact their branding efforts.

It’s certainly a question worth asking. Emoji, when executed the right way, can help make your company’s social media posts more personable and inviting. Carelessly used emoji can send the wrong message about your company, so understanding the do’s and don’ts of these iconic digital characters is a valuable exercise for companies of any size.

Breaking Down Emoji Basics

Knowing a little more about what emoji are and where they come from will help you decide how and if you want to work them into your brand’s social media strategy.

Emoji were introduced in the late 1990s by a Japanese mobile phone company as a means for users to communicate with pictures. The trend caught on quickly overseas and eventually made its way to the United States. Today, emoji are a near universal part of popular culture and communication on social media.

What Should My Business Know About Emoji?

Now you have a basic understanding of what emoji are and where they came from. But can these tiny symbols really make that much of a difference for your brand? Multiple studies point towards emoji impacting your long-term marketing strategy whether you like it or not.

Here are a few major takeaways that every business should know about emoji in 2018:

Emoji Are Ubiquitous on Social Media

Waiting for interest in emoji to peter out is not a realistic strategy. That’s because the communication method is already so widely used. There’s a good chance that much of your customer base is already using emoji on social media.

In fact, a study noted that 92 percent of the online population use emoji in some capacity. More than 78 percent of women use emoji regularly, while just 60 percent of men use them often.

Emoji Consistently Improve Engagement

It’s hard to deny that emoji are already a pervasive part of pop culture. A recent study performed by Twitter reported that ads that ran on the platform that used emoji saw a 10% increase in engagement over those that did not. These findings strongly suggest that properly integrating emoji into your social media strategy will produce measurable results.

Emoji Stand Out on Visual Platforms

Twitter isn’t the only platform where emoji have proven to have major influence over user behavior. According to another recent study, adding emoji to Instagram posts lead to 47.7 percent more engagement for that particular post.

Comparing the impact of emoji on Twitter vs. Instagram suggests that this social media strategy is especially effective on primarily visual platforms like Instagram. Your brand should consider where it can make the biggest impact on social media with emoji before you start rolling out your strategy.

Big Names Already Use Emoji Branding

If you’re still not sure if emoji are appropriate for elevating your brand, then take a look at the world-famous companies that are already leveraging emoji in their social media messages.


Domino’s has been bold in its experimentation with eye-catching emoji advertising. For a short time, Domino’s even devised a way to let customers order pizza via emoji.


In general, Wendy’s goes for a cheeky, nonchalant tone in its social media advertising. In cases like these, it makes sense to use informal communication tactics like emoji because they fit the brand voice perfectly.


Sometimes companies like Budweiser use emoji to humanize the brand and build better relationships with their customers. When done correctly, companies can leave a lasting and positive impression their prospective clients.

These are just a few ways that major, established brands have used emoji to boost engagement with customers. Notice how many of these brands are related to lifestyle, food and other down-to-earth products that are likely to strike a familiar cords with a laid-back audience.

This gives you a great frame of reference for the types of customers that might be most attracted to ads featuring emoji and how those emoji might be used to catch a consumer’s interest while they browse the internet. These certainly aren’t the only ways that emoji can be used, but these are among the most straightforward.

Using Emoji in Business the Right Way

Consider that major brands are already implementing emoji into their social media marketing strategy. There are key opportunities for your brand to leverage this visual method of communication.

The question is less if emoji are appropriate and more how your company can use emoji in an appropriate way. The following strategies can help your brand to streamline this strategic decision-making process.

Less Is Much More

You may have seen examples of companies that use so many emoji in a single tweet that they can fill the whole screen. There may be some instances where such a strategy is effective, but in most cases your goal is to use as few emoji as possible.

One or two relevant, cleverly curated emoji can help add life and personality to a social media post. Three or four unrelated or redundant emoji, on the other hand, will make a social media post (and the company that posted it) seem out of touch or unprofessional. Yes, it is possible to get too carried away with emoji infatuation.

The Best Strategy Is No Strategy

It makes sense for your brand to look for opportunities to personalize social media by adding an emoji to a post now and then. On the other hand, it would be counterproductive to set emoji quotas or force them into posts where it might not be relevant to include an emoji, such as a tweet announcing a press release.

The best uses of emoji are natural, organic and fun. Setting an emoji schedule or strategy in stone is more likely to make your brand appear to be trying too hard. It makes much more sense to use emoji sparingly and off the cuff.

Let Emoji Complement Copy

At the end of the day, the tone and messaging of your content will determine if adding emoji is appropriate. Any time your brand is posting about something fun, lighthearted or relevant to the interests of your audience, consider working in an emoji into the body of your post.

Conversely, if your content is highly complex or dealing with a hot-button or serious issue, then it makes sense to avoid using emoji in such a case.

Avoid Major Emoji on Social Media Mishaps

Now your brand has a sense for when to use emoji appropriately. Continue reviewing how your competitors and successful brands in other industries have used emoji for ideas on implementing your own emoji content.

Last but not least, remember that it’s much easier to use too many emoji than it is to use too few. Overdoing it or choosing the wrong emoji will make posts feel forced and unnatural.

Want more tips on how and when to implement a new social media strategy? Want to know which social media platform is the best launch pad for your latest branding initiative? Check out some of our other blog posts for helpful tips on increasing engagement and drawing in new customers via social media.

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Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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Passing the Torch: Updating Your Website’s Backlink Strategy for 2018

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Backlink Building To Link Earning - ESEO

As long as Google has acted as our de facto gateway to the rest of the Internet, so too have brands and marketers developed strategies for optimizing their content according to Google’s algorithm.

This has created a bit of tug-of-war between the tech giant and advertisers. The sequence goes:

  • Google introduces a new algorithm update to better optimize search engine results.
  • Marketers then update their best practices to help their brands gain or maintain as much online visibility as possible.
  • Within a year or two, Google significantly updates its algorithm and starts the cycle all over again.

With the introduction of Penguin in 2012 and its subsequent updates, Google has become incredibly sophisticated at differentiating between backlinks that are earned organically and those that are established using industry-wide content marketing strategies. Now Google plans to use that information to prioritize sites that predominantly host organic backlinks and, in some cases, penalize sites that do not.

Want to make sure your link strategy is up to date and penalty free? The following tips outline ways that you can update your approach, introduce new solutions and leverage your link-building experience in a link-earning world.

The Rise of Link Earning

Evaluate Content By Leads Conversions Bounce Rate - Eminent SEOIt wouldn’t be fair to describe link earning as a completely new concept for two major reasons: First and foremost, link earning was basically the only way that individuals and businesses gained exposure for their website back before search engines were ubiquitous. Those who produced interesting content that filled a need had their website linked to by other websites. In the most straightforward way possible, great content earned you links.

Second, it’s important to point out that the strategies used to “earn” links are not considerably different than those used to “build” links. Both require businesses to make intentional decisions about their content, stay disciplined in producing brand-supported content and find ways to consistently engage with customers and other businesses.

The shift is less about strategy as it is about execution. If you were already link building at a high level and producing content that naturally attracted visitors to your site, then you may have already been link earning for years.

If your link-building strategy was minimal or depended on questionable tactics like purchasing links, your website is now a greater risk for penalties than ever before.

Chances are that Google’s standards will only become even stricter in the future. The time to get your content marketing approach up to date is right now.

Backlink Strategy Advice on Shifting from Link Building to Earning

Sometimes the differences between link building and link earning are as subtle. Convincing another business to link to your site might qualify as “link building” if you don’t have much of a history with the other website.

Conversely, you may have had an established relationship with another professional and they share your content because it is a good fit for their own customers. That would certainly qualify as “link earning.”

In a sense, link earning is merely link building being done at a consistently high level. Here are a few ways to streamline your content marketing strategy and generate organic interest in your site:

Stick to Your Schedule

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is that your brand delivers high-quality content on a consistent, predictable schedule. This is one of the most effective ways to get repeat engagement from online users.

Provide them with valuable information then let them know how, when and where to get more. If you follow up with even more useful content, you’ve got yourself some fresh, organic engagement.

Not keeping to a content release schedule, regardless of what difficulties your business had in producing on time, will quickly erode your audience. Even worse, other websites are less inclined to promote your content if they think your company is unprofessional about meeting deadlines.

Share, Share, Share

Posting links to your brand’s content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? That’s not enough. The companies that are earning organic links consistently are also engaging customers over a broad spectrum of social media channels every day. Sites like Medium, LinkedIn and Google+ feature feeds that can be used to share content. More niche social media platforms like Pinterest can be used to share eye-catching graphics and other visual materials.

Regardless of what kind of high-quality content your company is generating, it is critical that you share that content to a wide variety of places. Casting a wide net when it comes to social engagement is one of the most effective ways to draw new and routine traffic alike to your website.

Review and Revise

If your brand hasn’t developed a strategy for evaluating the impact of your content, then that needs to change right away. If you do have an evaluation strategy and you aren’t getting the results you want, it may be because your performance evaluations aren’t providing you with the right information.

You need to identify effective metrics for analyzing the performance of your content, including, but not limited to:

  • Lead generation
  • Sales
  • Bounce rates

Once these evaluation tools and benchmarks are set in place, it’s important that your brand commit itself to constant self-improvement. Your competitors are always going to be strategizing to push their content to the next level. Equal amounts of diligence are required on your end to stay relevant. When all else fails, look at your competitors for ideas and strategies that you can turn into your own.

Preparing for Transition

Updating a business strategy isn’t easy, especially when your brand has been doing things a certain way for a long time. That being said, refusing to stay current with the times spells disaster for your brand’s long-term success.

There are plenty of ways to make the transition from link building to link earning with minimal stress and hassle. As mentioned before, these strategies are not so far apart. Your task is less to reinvent the wheel when it comes to content marketing, and more identifying the special niche that only your brand can fill.

Research will be a major factor in your company reaching its goal. You’ll need to fully understand the types of customers who might be interested in your brand and tailor your content strategy to reflect their tastes.

Talent acquisition will also play a major role in your ability to consistently earn links. Earning links and developing content that people want to share are both full-time jobs. Expecting a professional to wear both of these hats is far from setting that person up for success. Hiring the right people to produce the right content is a much more reliable investment.

Get Support If Necessary

Without sufficient expertise, turning your link-building strategies into link-earning solutions can be time consuming and costly to implement. That’s why it makes sense to work with experts and expand your education. This type of online and offline networking can help you earn more links in the long term as well. Check out the rest of this helpful blog or reach out to us if your site needs more traffic.

See Our Many Link Earning Services

Avatar for Remy Albillar

Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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Beware Boredom: Keeping Your Content Marketing Strategy Fresh in 2018

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Keep Content Marketing Strategy Fresh For 2018 - Eminent SEO

For years you’ve been hearing about the importance of developing higher quality content and making that content a central part of your overall marketing strategy.

Don’t count on that thinking to go away anytime soon. That’s because long-term content marketing strategies across every industry are bearing fruit and helping brands to significantly expand their reach.

Revealing Study

A study performed by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs revealed that 2017 was a big year for content marketing. The survey of more than 1,000 American companies representing a vast range of industries – ranging from technology and consulting to health care and publishing – found that investments in content marketing have produced promising returns.

Here are some of the most notable takeaways from the study:

  • 89% of B2B marketers are using content marketing in 2017.
  • 63% of respondents are “very committed” to content marketing.
  • 85% of companies said that improving content quality had considerable benefits.
  • 88% of respondents agreed that content marketing was the most important part of their marketing strategy.

It’s clear that content marketing has been just as effective as promised, and that means more and more companies are going to be jumping onto the trend in 2018. The pressure is even higher on individual brands to develop fresh, relevant copy that drives sales and social media engagement.

So how do you plan to stand out next year now that thousands of companies are dedicating serious resources to content?

Fine-Tune Your Content Marketing Strategy

The following strategies outline a few ways to keep your content marketing strategy as unique and engaging as possible:

1. Next Level Content Marketing: Going Beyond the Blog

Content Marketing Straining To Reach Next Level - Eminent SEOToday, blogging is the go-to strategy when it comes to content generation. This straightforward medium can become quite dynamic in the right hands.

As studies have shown, more brands are becoming adept at developing blog posts that communicate the right message to their customers. That means your company will need to start thinking about new options for content generation beyond the traditional methods as you head into 2018.

Yes, you’ve put a lot of time and resources into mastering social media, blogging, newsletters and whitepapers. Taking your content to the next level does not mean abandoning these efforts; you’ll still want to keep generating dynamic blog and social content.

However, it’s equally important that your company start devising new ways to leverage these skills to stand out from your competition.

For example, some companies have elevated their blog and email newsletters into something more akin to a full-blown publication. Food Processing and Food 52 are two instances of publishers that have transformed their newsletters to have the look and feel of a magazine, rather than just another disposable email message.

By leveraging subject matter experts in your network, dedicating time to developing regular featured content and your knowledge of customer pain points, your brand could create consistent resources that provide audiences with in-depth information about your industry and your business.

These are just a few of the many ways your company can elevate its content creation strategy in 2018. The sooner your team starts brainstorming a new approach, the better.

2. Leverage Transparency: Kill Two Birds with One Stone

Max Breaking The Fourth Wall Shattering Glass - Eminent SEOWith data breaches and digital scams in the news on a regular basis, today’s clients want to feel like they can trust the brands they work with. One of the easiest ways to establish a connection with potential customers is to let them peek behind the curtain.

Transparency is more important to customers than ever. The companies that are able to provide the inside look that clients are looking for will be more effective in building important, long-term connections with those same customers.

Now, what does that have to with your content strategy for 2018? If you’re willing to think outside the box, the push for transparency could very well be the solution your brand needs.

First, develop a long-term strategy for increasing transparency across the company, both between the brand and customers and between leadership and the rest of the employees.

Next, start documenting the progress of these transparency efforts. Not only does this approach help your staff stay accountable, it also generates a bevy of material that can be turned into eye-catching content.

Here are a few more ways your transparency implementation can double as trust-building content for your customers:

  • Host digital Q&A sessions that answer customer questions and address any ethical concerns.
  • Develop a series of blog posts that track, describe and discuss the results of new transparency initiatives.
  • Develop a case study that analyzes and reviews company-wide transparency efforts.

3. Copy and Video: Hire a Specialist Who Does Both

Copy Writer And Video Specialist Who Can Do Both - Eminent SEOIn 2018, everyone will looking for ways to implement video into their content marketing strategy. Few, however, will find an effective way to integrate video into their content strategy.

The difference? Consider the advantage of posting video content that relates to or even directly refers to the written content on the same page.

YouTube personalities have become adept at breaking the fourth wall on the Internet, physically gesturing in their videos toward buttons and special offers that exist on the page. They also dedicate time to verbal calls to action that encourage viewers to follow certain links once the video has ended. Why can’t you pull off the same tricks with your content?

The most efficient way to get this type of project off the ground would be to have the same writer develop copy and related scripts. This way, there should be cohesive tone and messaging from one medium to another.

Placing irrelevant videos on content pages can just end up distracting your viewers, after all.

The possibilities for leveraging video and content together are endless. Ultimately, your goal is to provide visitors with content and engagement they’ve never seen before. If you can execute uniquely exciting video, visual and written content, you put yourself at a major advantage going into next year.

Think Bigger than Your Competition

2018 is all about thinking outside the box and utilizing the content marketing strategies you’ve learned to subvert expectations. The longer the content marketing game plays out, the better everyone is going to get at it. So keep mastering new moves!

Enjoy what you just read and want to keep learning? Check out a few more of the entertaining and insightful content marketing blog articles that Eminent SEO has to offer. Remember, the quickest way to innovate is to continue absorbing solutions and strategic tips like these.

Feel Free to Comment Below:
What Are Your New Plans for Content Marketing in 2018?

Avatar for Remy Albillar

Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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4 Ways Website Redesign Offers Spooky Levels of ROI for Your Business

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Website Redesign Spooky Levels Of ROI Witch - Eminent SEO

With Halloween just around the corner, creepy costumes and spooky decorations will temporarily be the norm. For business owners, however, the scariest part of the Halloween season will come when they review their website’s traffic data. If a company is drawing in fewer leads and converting fewer customers each month, then it’s probably time to make major changes to the website.

In fact, the potential ROI for a proper website transformation is so staggering that it’s a little scary. Consider that, on average, users typically engage with a website for 10 to 20 seconds before moving on to another site or back to their search engine. If your website design is not optimized to present a value proposition within that 10-to-20-second window, then chances are your company is missing out on a significant amount of potential traffic.

Improving design to account for user behaviors will considerably improve the value of a company’s website. Look to make changes sooner than later, lest your company’s current website become a terrifying example of poor investments.

1. Exorcise Ghosts of Marketing’s Past

Ghosts of Marketings Past - Eminent SEOVengeful spirits are a common theme during the Halloween season. Typically, these pesky poltergeists target those who wronged them in life, hoping to find closure. Outdated marketing strategies pose a similar problem for business owners, especially when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO).

That’s because Google and other search engines have continuously updated and refreshed the algorithms they use to analyze websites and rank them for relevancy. Several SEO strategies, such as duplicating content or overstuffing keywords, will now actually hurt a website’s performance on Google.

Unless a company wants their website to be haunted by unethical marketing strategies, it may be time for the entire website to undergo a major overhaul.

Tips of Terror: A new website design means that your company will need to reconsider how the navigation of the website is organized. Take this opportunity to cut out extraneous pages and make your menu more navigable for the user.

2. Raise SEO from the Grave

Raise SEO From The Grave Hand To Moon - Eminent SEOZombies, skeletons and other undead creatures often appear in spooky stories. While bringing back someone from the dead is impossible, fixing a company’s dying SEO performance is nearly as difficult.

Even worse, if your company has not developed a targeted content strategy, mastered the nuances of metadata and alt tags or earned links from established authorities in your industry, then you can mark your SEO strategy as dead on arrival.

A website redesign is a perfect opportunity to rethink not only what your website looks like, but also what it does to covert leads into customers and rank well in search engine results. That’s because the design of the website is directly related to SEO as well.

A well-designed website uses precise, organized copy and appealing graphic design to guide visitors further along the marketing funnel. Images should help keep a customer’s attention and prevent them from bouncing to a competitor’s website. By piquing a visitor’s interest, a newly designed website can play an important role in improving a company’s search engine results.

Tips of Terror: The rise of voice search technology will have a major impact on SEO in the near future. The ubiquity of mobile phones means that voice search-capable tech is getting into the hands of more consumers every day. Marketers must consider how to rank for phrases that are closer to conversational speech than traditional search engine inquiries.

3. Dispel Negative Feedback

Negative Feedback Witch With Book - Eminent SEOIf you plan on battling the forces of darkness, it helps to know how to dispel a curse. In the digital era, curses appear in the form of disgruntled or unsatisfied customers posting in very public forums. Whether that be in the comment section of a company’s blog or on a consumer review site like Yelp, these customer complaints are highly visible and can have a significantly negative impact on a company’s brand.

More often than not, it is impossible to make these negative reviews, ratings or comments disappear. Companies must instead earn an overwhelming volume of positive feedback to balance the scale. A flood of affirming comments pushes negative feedback into the background, painting these complaints as outliers.

What’s a highly effective way to make a great first impression on new potential customers? If you guessed “a website redesign,” then you guessed correctly!

In addition to making your website attractive to new visitors, a redesign also signals to previous visitors that a company has committed itself to improvement.

The launch of an updated website can also be leveraged as a marketing opportunity. Consider reaching out to customers or partners who have not touched base with you recently by announcing your revamped web presence. A successful website redesign can even spearhead an entire rebranding effort.

Tips of Terror: There are times when a string of negative customer interactions or public relations snafus make it impossible to revive a brand. In cases like these, it’s best to stop pushing the boulder up the hill and start working on a strategic rebranding effort. A fresh, optimized website will be a central part of this rebrand strategy. A new brand name may not hurt, either.

4. Carve Out Your Special Niche

Carve Out Your Niche Pumpkin Jack-o-Lantern - Eminent SEOHalloween isn’t all gloom and ghouls. Pumpkin carving is a great opportunity for kids and adults alike to show their originality. When competing in a congested market space, it can be difficult to appear original next to myriad rival companies that provide similar services.

Of course, providing top-notch work and a high level of service quality will encourage your customers to keep coming back. But it’s going to be a website’s visually appealing and user-friendly functionality that converts curious visitors into first-time customers.

If you need to stand out from the crowd, a memorable website that encourages visitors to make a purchase decision is your best bet for attracting new business.

More importantly, rebranding and marketing efforts help a company to establish itself as a uniquely talented player in the industry. Branding is successful when customers believe that a company has a one-of-a-kind service to provide. A newly updated website goes a long way toward convincing customers that this is the case.

Tips of Terror: Successfully developing a website that reflects a company’s unique mission and values is a challenge in of itself. This task is even more difficult when these goals and values are unclear. Take time to understand the company’s personality before starting a comprehensive website redesign.

Tips for Summoning Help to Your Side

If your company decides to deploy a new marketing strategy, major changes to the website are more than likely going to be a part of this refresh.

Your company will get its full ROI by identifying digital marketing best practices and developing solutions to incorporate these strategies into the site’s redesign. That process starts by reviewing helpful digital marketing resources like the ones found in our informative blog.

Avatar for Remy Albillar

Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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Climbing the Ladder with Grace: A ‘Game of Thrones’ Approach to Conflict Resolution

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Game Of Thrones Approach To Office Conflict Resolution - Eminent SEO
A large majority of the violence that takes place during HBO’s mega-hit “Game of Thrones” does not revolve around armies of the undead or wars of succession. In reality, most of the drama that drives the show has less to do with grand battles between good and evil and more to do with people not getting along at work.

Take the early adventures of fan favorite Jon Snow, now King in the North but once an entry level employee at The Wall. It was Jon’s ability to rally his fellow new hires that caught the eye of the C-Suite and eventually catapulted him into management. Ultimately, Jon envisioned a different direction for the company than his board of directors did, and he was unceremoniously let go:

Jon Snow Game of Thrones SnowEven in an organization headquartered on a giant wall that is meant to protect all of humanity from a daunting, supernatural threat, the people working there still have time to bicker and be petty with one another. So it’s not that surprising (or a big deal) if you don’t like everybody at work. Your only responsibility is to be civil, play well with others and not let your disagreements become a distraction.

Here’s a few tips on how to do that. We’ll use the very worst that “Game of Thrones” has to offer as examples of co-workers you can’t stand.

The Waif aka The One-Upper

The Waif Game Of ThronesSeasons 5 and 6 of Thrones saw Arya accept an internship in Braavos with The Faceless Men, where she had to work directly under a sour, dour young woman known only as The Waif. Ostensibly, The Waif was assigned to watch over Arya’s assassin training and act as a mentor. Instead, she routinely talked down to Arya about her performance and beat her up after work.

As Arya got better at her job, The Waif began to bug out. Her passive-aggressive behavior suggests that her whole demeaning attitude is deeply rooted in insecurity. This is the case for most co-workers who seem obsessed with proving their superiority to everyone around them. Their go-to solution for puffing themselves up is bringing other people down.

How Do I Deal with The One-Upper?

The best way to resolve conflict with The One-Upper is to avoid playing their game. If they feel the need to show you up in a conversation or in a meeting, just ignore it and power through.

The more you feed into their cycle, the more you come off looking like the smaller person. Everybody knows The One-Upper can’t help themselves. You demonstrate your professionalism by not letting their self-promotional ways affect your demeanor. That’s a good look, even for an organization called The Faceless Men.

Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish aka The Hater

Littlefinger Baelish Game Of ThronesIf you’re a fan of the show, you were probably waiting to see the enigmatic Littlefinger make an appearance on this list. The All-Star schemer isn’t just on this list because he likes to play politics, however. He represents that co-worker who can’t help interfere when he sees relationships develop without him.

During season 7, Petyr impulsively begins to attack the burgeoning mutual respect formed between the recently reunited sisters Sansa and Arya Stark. After all, any consolidation of power that doesn’t involve him needs to be undermined. Around the office, The Hater can be found popping into your cubicle for a quick chat that starts something like this:

“I’ve noticed you’ve been talking to the boss a lot…”

“I didn’t think you’d have much in common with Karen…”

“Were you having lunch with Jason? Huh…”

Co-workers who trade in these kinds of non-secrets are frustrating to work with because the bonds they see as a threat are actually great for your organization. This is another example of a co-worker whose insecurities drive counterproductive, unprofessional behavior around the office.

How Do I Deal with The Hater?

Just keep doing what you’re doing. The best way to resolve conflict with The Hater at work is to continue to develop the bonds you have that are real. If necessary, emphasize to your co-worker that you’d like to limit your conversation to matters directly related to your work. Start logging incidents and report the behavior to your manager if the behavior continues.

Theon Greyjoy aka The Apology

Theon Grayjoy Floating Game Of ThronesOver seven whole seasons of Thrones, Theon has proven time and time again that for every occasion, he will find a way to avoid rising to it. Whether it’s crumbling under the pressure of leadership after a poorly executed coup or abandoning his sister on the field of battle, Theon is a constant screw-up with as many excuses and apologies as there are swords in the Iron Throne.

That might be a little harsh. Theon finally seems to be coming around just in time for season 8. Regardless, he gives us a distinct example of a co-worker who consistently drops the ball during collaborative projects. What can be even more frustrating than these individuals’ inability to come through in the clutch is their long list of excuses for why they couldn’t have been successful in the first place.

How Do I Deal with The Apologizer?

The Apology’s self-pitying behavior wouldn’t be so bad if the solution to the problem wasn’t to affirm them as much as possible. It’s hard to be in the mood to keep supporting a co-worker who constantly lets you down, but confronting them too directly may only make it harder to build their confidence the next time you need to rely on their expertise.

Instead, continue to assert that they are a capable contributor to the team and cross your fingers. Maybe also assign them fewer vital tasks.

Samwell Tarly aka The Two-Face

Samwell Tharly Game Of ThronesSam started off as Jon’s pudgy co-worker at The Wall, but these days he’s defeating ancient snow demons, curing diseases and doing important work as a Westerosian history post-graduate. This all to say that Sam is quite the capable individual, even if his cherubic face and ho-hum demeanor might suggest otherwise.

Whether it’s sneaking peeks into The Citadel’s forbidden library or straight-up swiping the family sword from his jerk dad in the middle of the night, Sam has proven he will lie to your face and just do what he wants anyway – if that’s what it takes to get his way.

You may be having flashes of that time a co-worker agreed to your strategy in a meeting before they immediately proceeded to implement their own plan instead. Maybe you know a fellow employee who spoke poorly of you to a supervisor but acts like your pal at lunch. There are plenty of people like that in the workforce, and few of them have as heroic intentions as Sam.

How Do I Deal with The Two-Face?

This one’s tough because people who systematically lie are usually A) pretty good at it and B) know how to work the system. Accusing them of being dishonest straight up won’t work. They’ll claim miscommunication and that they’ll “try to do better” next time.

Instead, anticipate and plan around them. Take advice or input you get from The Two-Face with a grain of salt; get confirmation from fellow co-workers if necessary.

Rickon Stark aka The Guy Who Can’t Run in a Zig-Zag Pattern

You’d think that if your captor had told you to run across a big field to safety, you might suspect something was up. You’d think that running in a straight line is probably foolish, especially in an era where ranged weaponry is limited to arrows of various sizes. You’d think to occasionally change direction, perhaps multiple times, forming a sort of zig-zag pattern, as to protect yourself from any income projectiles.

You’d think that. I’d think that. Rickon didn’t think that. Rickon got shot by an arrow.

At the office, The Guy Who Can’t Run in a Zig-Zag Pattern is the employee who is unfortunately both underqualified for his position and can’t think outside the box enough to compensate. They’re probably great at paperwork? Hopefully.

How Do I Deal with a Non-Zig-Zagger?

I mean, this person is probably a nepotism hire in the first place. Not really much you can do except wait for them to screw up really, really badly. If they can’t figure out how to run in a zig-zag pattern, the problem will sort itself out sooner than you might expect.
Rickon Stark Running Game Of Thrones

M’Lording Your Manager

Most of this advice has revolved around managing peers who get on your nerves around the office. But what about your boss? In many cases, there isn’t much to do when you and your superiors have a personality clash. Mitigating your expectations and looking for ways to become essential to your boss are the most effective responses outside of finding another position.

Here are a few quick tips based on dealing with a frustrating supervisor, based on the show’s trio of kings from House Baratheon.

Stannis aka The Family Man

Stannis Baratheon Battle Game Of ThronesStannis would be a great boss if he didn’t let his family drama impact the workplace daily. Who can concentrate on winning a war of succession when the boss’ wife and girlfriend are having an awkward spat in the company kitchen? It’s just not a good way to do business.

Your best bet is to be as firm about setting boundaries as possible. Your boss knows he or she is not supposed to bring their personal life into the office; they just can’t help themselves. They can’t hold it against you for not wanting to deal with it either.

Robert aka The Old Buddy

Robert Baratheon King Game Of ThronesEddard Stark found himself in the unfortunate position of being the president of a company owned by his roommate from college, good ol’ Robert Baratheon. Working with friends or family can be a great opportunity, but also invites challenging work dynamics when personal feelings get in the way of the work. Robert could never bring himself to take advice from Eddard, so why empower him to make decisions?

If you find yourself in this type of position, your best bet is to be honest about your feelings. It’s either be open with them when you feel like the personal is interfering with the professional or suffer working in a toxic environment and threatening a friendship. Your friend-boss can’t have you beheaded, so relax and start a conversation.

Joffrey aka The Big Man

Joffrey Big Man King Clapping - Game Of ThronesWho could forget the short but spicy reign of boy-king Joffrey Baratheon? Prior to being poisoned at his own wedding, Joffers made a habit of having his political rivals murdered in front of their children and turning servants into pin cushions with his trusty crossbow. His famously thin skin also made it easy to get fired from a position at Westeros, LLC. Any perceived sleight could lead to a date with the executioner when Joffrey was CEO.

If you’ve got a boss who’s easily threatened and likes to take it out on subordinates, you probably know what it’s like to work for a Joffrey-type firsthand. The Big Man is only satisfied when his importance is on the top of everyone’s minds. Honestly, the only way to deal with these types of supervisors is to prove your usefulness. They’ll leave you alone if they think your success reflects positively on them.

You Win By Not Playing

At the end of the day, the best way to manage, respond and resolve your conflicts with co-workers is to avoid escalating the problem. You may have to swallow a bit of your pride, but that’s a small price to pay for a peaceful work environment.

Want more advice about managing difficult personalities around the office or other conflict-resolution tips? See our tips on curbing workplace incivility or bookmark our blog for several new updates every month.

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Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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Guess Who: Connecting with Audiences Through Word Choice and Tone

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Guess Who Connecting With Audiences - Eminent SEO

For a long time I’ve thought about writing as a friendly competition between myself and my readers. In this model, I am playing chess against their tastes, aesthetics and expectations. Checkmate is evoking a feeling, persuading a point or encouraging a reader to take an action.

This approach is especially apt when it comes to professional blogging and copywriting – scenarios where my web copy is expected not only to produce a reaction in the reader but also encourage a response that is beneficial for my clients.

My secret weapon? Knowing when to use the right words in the right place for the right audience.

Granted, the process isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. That’s why I’m breaking it down for you into manageable chunks. These tips can provide you with a crash course in connecting with your audience through thoughtful selections of word choice and tone.

Word Choice Shapes Your Audience

It’s difficult to express just how important word choice is in determining the size and makeup of your audience. As important as your choice of content and use of proper grammar is, the words you use in your copy will ultimately decide who reads your content and who moves on to the next webpage.

That being said, a thoughtful and intentional attitude toward word choice is necessary if your goal is to develop copy that is both effective and influential.

Consider the following factors when drafting or editing your content to make sure your vocabulary usage is in line with the potential customers your client is trying to reach.

Audience

In order to make word choice decisions that will delight a particular audience, it helps to understand what your target audience finds appealing. The type of verbosity that might engender trust with an academic might not fly with a more down-to-earth, slang-friendly crowd, ya dig? That’s just one of the many reasons why strong communication between copywriters and their clients is so essential.

Accessibility

The famous journalism rule of thumb advises writers to produce work at the level an eighth-grader would understand. This approach ensures that the content is as widely accessible as possible.

On the flipside, needlessly using big vocabulary words or constructing complex sentences is a surefire way to make an audience feel unwelcome. When readers run into a paragraph filled with words they don’t understand, they are likely to assume the content wasn’t written with them in mind.

Credibility

While avoiding language that alienates your audience is important, so too is correctly using vocabulary that establishes your client as a credible authority. Writing for medical professionals, for instance, requires you to use medical terms accurately and appropriately. Failure to do so will make it harder to convince this particular audience that your content is a reliable source of helpful information.

Tone Controls Your Messaging

Tackling Tone For Content Who Is Audience - Eminent SEOIn copywriting, much like in life, how you say something is as important as what you’re saying.

In terms of composition, “tone” is defined as the writer’s perspective on their topic, as expressed by their word choice and rhetorical strategies.

When an audience feels like content is written from a perspective they can relate to, they are more likely to receive what that content has to say.

Think about how some of your favorite advertisements use language to connect with their target audience. Marketing copy directed at millennials, for example, is often humorous or flippant. This approach plays well with an audience that often identifies with not taking themselves too seriously.

Understanding tone is a critical part of drafting persuasive copy. Here are a few helpful ways to think about finding the right tone for your own copy:

Word Choice

As you might have guessed, word choice will have a very large impact on how your copy’s tone is interpreted by your audience. Language that is inspiring, affirming and motivating is an ideal way to shape the tone of copy that aims to draw a specific action. On the other hand, discouraging and negative language is effective for convincing an audience to avoid a decision they may have made otherwise.

The proper use of descriptive language – think adjectives – will also have a large influence on your copy’s tone. During your editing process, take special care to analyze descriptive language used throughout. Make sure that language inspiring the right tone is used consistently throughout.

Formatting and Punctuation

Word choice will play a large role in deciding how an audience will receive your copy, but it’s not the only factor to consider when editing for tone. Punctuation, grammar use and text formatting will leave an impression on your audience too.

A great example of how formatting impacts tone is the use of bold. When used sparsely and strategically, this type of formatting can add emphasis to certain statements and make copy more persuasive. When used throughout an article or a blog, however, the audience may get the impression that writer is intending to take an informal tone toward their subject.

Depending on your desired tone, the use of bold and italics can be as distracting as it is helpful.

Language Drives Your Brand

Fear The Fluff Ovoid These Overused Words In Your Copy - Eminent SEOIt is clear that managing a client’s messaging is a test of control. Your word choice controls your tone. Your tone controls the effectiveness of your messaging.

Now that you understand why word choice and tone are so important, the next question to consider is how you will reliably decide which approach is right for each audience.

As I alluded to earlier, getting access to as much information as possible about your client’s preferred leads is very important in shaping your tone and word choice for a certain content piece.

I also like to use the following maxims when it comes to making tone and word choice decisions. When faced with a choice, I do my best to remember the basic goals of marketing copy.

Regardless of the scenario, most effective word choice and tone strategies are those that:

  • Drive marketing goals – This one is pretty straightforward. What narrative is your client trying to communicate to its audience? Which products or pain points are they prioritizing, and does the copy’s language reflect this? If a copy’s tone and word choice are effective in driving the client’s marketing goals, then it is the right copy for the job.
  • Affirm company values – An important part of building a brand is to communicate values and a vision to potential customers. Every piece of language used to represent your client will either support or conflict with those stated values. As such, it is very important that your copy’s tone and word choice are in line with these values.
  • Support SEO Strategies – Don’t forget about search engine rankings. Though high-quality content is far more important in today’s digital marketing game than it was in the past, following a well-researched SEO and keyword strategy when drafting copy is necessary to get your client the best results possible.

Final Thoughts on Word Choice and Tone

Remember that this resource is meant to be less of a list of hard rules and more of a collection of go-to strategies. Making the right choice when it comes to word choice and tone can still be very tough, even with a million helpful tips.

That’s why I rely on as much help from my peers as I can. When you collaborate with others, whether they be internal experts or consulting professionals like myself, you have a better chance of making sure the language of your copy is going to be received by your audience as you intended.

Want some additional insight on copywriting, crafting your message and getting into the heads of your audience? Read a previous blog article of mine that discusses what happens when you make the wrong assumptions about your readers.

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Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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Going Up Strong: A Baller’s Guide to Managing Social Media Trolls

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Going Up Strong Ballers Guide To Managing Social Media Trolls - ESEO

Flinging a basketball through a hoop is hard enough without somebody guarding you. That’s why the NBA’s top ballers, stars like Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, have dozens of moves for getting around their defenders. When it comes building your brand through social media, your business will run into interference as well.

If you’re planning to engage with potential customers, market your services and expand your brand via social media, you will be dealing with online trolls. There’s no way around it. Thankfully, there are several lessons that your brand can learn from the NBA – yes, really – when it comes to dealing with malicious commenters.

Keep reading to learn a few helpful plays that you can use whenever a troll stands between you and a social media victory.

Anticipate the Defense

When future-Hall-of-Famer Dwyane Wade makes a hard drive for the basket, he already knows his move is going to attract attention from defenders. That’s why he’s already got a few counter strategies (a spin, a pump fake, his patented Euro step) queued up and ready to go in case he faces resistance.

By anticipating the defense and preparing a response in advance, Dwayne Wade makes it considerably easier to score, despite the presence of an opposing player.

When it comes to posting on social media, you’ll have to take a similar approach to trolls. If your company recognizes that a social media post may provoke strong opinions or potential ridicule, then it makes sense to prepare responses in advance.


The more accurately you anticipate the type of negative responses a post could inspire, the more efficiently your company can respond to trolls and regain control of your messaging.

Rebound with Reality

Basketball Making Plays In The Social Media Comment Section - Eminent SEODespite being much maligned for his inconsistent defense and tendency to disappear during big games, All-Star power forward Kevin Love remains one of the best rebounders in the league.

How does Kevin do it? He stays focused on leveraging his strengths and always positions himself properly to get the better of his opponents. Once he has the rebound, Love is able to control the play and help his team score a basket on other end of the floor.

Your brand can take the same approach when wrestling with social media trolls in the comment section of any post. By communicating the facts that support your company’s position, including any relevant data or research, you can turn a troll’s negative post into a learning experience for the rest of your audience.

Any time you identify and point out misinformation shared by trolls, your brand demonstrates both their expertise and their professionalism in handling negative feedback. Much like a rebound in basketball, this approach turns shots against your company into a quick win for your brand.

Be Your Brand’s MVP

When rising Kristaps Porzingis was drafted in 2015 by the New York Knicks, he was received by New York fans with jeers, boos and tears. It would have been easy for Porzingis to respond to the vitriol with some shade of his own, but Porzingis made a savvy PR move and instead emphasized how much he was looking forward to “turning those booing fans into clapping fans.”

This approach was not only effective in making Porzingis seem like a classy guy; it also directed praise toward his organization, the Knicks, and their decision to draft a mature, self-aware prospect.

You company must take the same approach when it comes to dealing with social media trolls. Instead of viewing these instances as obstacles, a more proactive approach is to treat trolls as an opportunity to highlight the brand’s values and expertise.

There’s nothing trolls hate more than having the spotlight stolen from them. Your brand can elevate its reputation on social media while also deterring future abuse by learning to turn negative comments to your advantage.

Technical Fouls


Now that you’re familiar with the fundamentals of the game, it’s time to raise your social media IQ. The following technical fouls are not so much tips for getting around trolls as they are common mistakes to avoid when dealing with them.

Failing to play the game the right way can actually deteriorate the quality of your brand and potentially turn your comment section into a war zone. Keep that in mind and consider incorporating the following tips into your company’s social media policy:

Don’t Bite on the Pump Fake

One of the oldest tricks in the book is mimicking a shooting motion, just to watch your defender overcommit and open up a path for you to score. Trolls commonly post provocative, offensive statements in comment sections with the sole purpose of getting someone riled up and into an argument.

“Deflect and diffuse” should always be your go-to strategy when it comes to managing negative social media comments.

Don’t Get Called for the Flagrant

Getting into an extended argument with a troll is a bad idea. Actually hurling insults back and forth with the troll is unacceptable. Not only does this behavior compromise your company’s professionalism, it also speaks contrary to the values your company is supposed to stand for. You are better off deleting the comment than getting caught insulting consumers in your comment section.

Don’t Forget that Fans Are Watching

At the end of the day, internet trolls are more than likely not your major audience. They may be engaging with your brand online, but this engagement does very little for your bottom line.

However, potential customers are observing your behavior on social media, even if they choose not to engage. How you handle trolls says a lot about your company. A strategic, intentional approach to negative social media activity is far more likely to impress observers than an off-the-cuff, snarky rebuttal.

Getting Guidance from the Pros

Brand management is just one of the reasons that social media is so important for your company. Without an effective game plan, it’s only a matter of time before your social media strategy bottoms out.

Please browse through our other blog articles for more tips on managing responses to your brand messaging. You can also reach out to us and learn more if your business is in dire need of a revitalized social media strategy.

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Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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Shootout at the IG Corral: How Black Hat Marketers Cheat at Instagram

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Bad Dotcombres Black Hat Marketers Cheat Instagram - Eminent SEO

If all those totally historically accurate movies about the Old West have taught us anything, it’s that job security was not a major issue for sheriffs and their deputies. A near endless supply of cattle rustlers, masked bandits and stagecoach robbers seemed to flow through every town across the American frontier.

Today, ethical, “white hat” digital marketers face a similar challenge in keeping up with their “black hat” counterparts, especially as black hat practitioners develop new ways to cheat at Instagram and on other popular social media platforms.

In my last post, I provided an overview of white hat vs. black hat SEO strategies in a discussion about ethical SEO practices. I explained how white hat techniques are used to organically boost engagement, and how black hat experts prefer using short-sighted workarounds that can cause considerable harm to a client’s web presence.

The very same “bad dotcombres” now have the barrel of their six-shooters aimed at Instagram. Black hat social media is a reality that must be accounted for if organizations wish to improve engagement on Instagram without getting penalized as a result.

How Bad Dotcombres Cheat at Instagram

Keyword stuffing, hidden text placement and spammy blog content are common examples of black hat strategies used to game search engines, but these techniques are less effective in making an impact on Instagram.

Black hat social media professionals have developed their own approaches to working around Instagram’s user guidelines to boost likes, views and followers.

Some of the most widely adopted black hat Instagram strategies include:

Buying Instagram Followers

In recent years, Instagram has updated its algorithms so that individuals with more followers enjoy wider visibility among Instagram’s user base. Sites that guarantee followers (via spam accounts) in exchange for cash have become extremely common. Black hat digital marketers can use these sites to rapidly ramp up a client’s number of followers.

Using Bots to Fake Engagement

Many black hat social media adherents recommend automated follow-unfollow programs to save their clients the legwork required to boost engagement on Instagram organically. Instagram has begun to crack down on these websites, however, so the future of this strategy appears limited.

Joining Instagram Pods

A “pod” refers to a group of Instagram users who agree to regularly like, share and comment on each other’s posts. Some digital marketers may use pods to guarantee that their clients receive (the appearance of) substantial weekly organic engagement.

Paying for Guest Posts

One popular way for Instagram users to expand their audience is to be featured on a popular blog as a guest poster. Unfortunately, many accounts with numerous followers now actively offer guest posts for a price, effectively charging fellow users for an exposure opportunity. Some black hat digital marketers encourage their clients to take advantage of these services in lieu of tailoring content to an existing audience.

To summarize the four major ways some marketers and individuals cheat Instagram, check out the following infographic and share it with your followers:

Instagram Black Hat Tactics Infographic - Eminent SEO

Instagram Marshals a Response

Google has already responded to several attempts by users to game their algorithms, and Instagram is now taking steps to limit the effectiveness of black hat tactics on the platform. As Instagram’s efforts to control black hat strategies become more aggressive and its algorithms grow more sophisticated, it is only a matter of time before these techniques actually hurt the users who deploy them.

For example, Instagram has recently taken action against the most popular services used to automate accounts and gain followers. Sites like Instagress, Archie.co and Robogram, once widely used to mimic organic user engagement, have been shut down upon request from Instagram. Organizations that took advantage of these sites, especially at the insistence of a black hat digital marketer, are now forced to develop new strategies for consistently attracting followers.

Furthermore, black hat social media professionals that are used to purchasing followers may soon be in for a rude awakening. As recently as 2014, Instagram preformed a network-wide purge of spam accounts, with special attention paid toward accounts used to boost follower numbers.

Celebrities like the singer Akon lost significant chunks of their Instagram followings after the spam purge, suggesting that any brand that relies on fake followers may see its perceived influence evaporate overnight the next time Instagram decides to cut down on spam accounts.

Cut Black Hat Social Media Off at The Pass

Wanted Black Hat Instagram Flyer - Eminent SEOWant to stop bad dotcombres from peddling their wares at your wagon wheel? Understanding black hat social media tactics, as well as how to spot unethical digital marketers, is still the best way to keep your brand’s Instagram presence on the straight and narrow.

Here are a few tips for finding a digital marketing expert that can enhance your social media presence organically. An ethical digital marketer will encourage potential clients to:

Beware Unrealistic Expectations

Social media success takes time. Hard work and intentional research is necessary to identify a brand’s audience, develop a strategy for engaging these users, and convert these interactions into followers and regular engagement. It is unlikely that digital marketers promising thousands of followers in a few days are gaining these followers in line with Instagram’s rules of service.

Understand Instagram’s Evolution

As a platform, Instagram has made changes again and again to its user experience. In the past, social feeds were populated by content that was posted most recently. Today, content that appears in a user’s feed is curated based on Instagram’s impressions of what each user finds most interesting.

An ethical digital marketer will be familiar with these recent changes and can recommend social engagement strategies that reflect the next stage in Instagram’s development.

Recover Existing Opportunities

Just because a company’s Instagram engagement has mostly been driven by automation doesn’t mean that the results of this approach are worthless. There are times when artificial engagement gets a brand closer to his desired audience.

This strategy, however, is not built for the long term. An experienced, ethical digital marketer can help companies make the most of black hat results and convert those short-term gains into long-term successes.

Opt for White Hat Social Media Practices

Still have questions about black hat social media, problematic SEO practices or finding a digital marketing expert you can trust? At Eminent SEO, our mission is to make this type of information as accessible and easy to understand as possible. Revisit or bookmark our blog for the latest news and advice on properly enhancing your brand through social media and search engines.

Avatar for Remy Albillar

Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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The Good, the Bad and the Rankings: A Straight Shootin’ Discussion About Ethics in Digital Marketing

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Ethics in Digital Marketing - Eminent SEOThe modern internet is very much akin to the Wild West. For every honorable, upstanding SEO expert, there are at least twice as many “outlaws.” In other words, there are unscrupulous practitioners that will stop at nothing to claim high search engine rankings and rustle up as many user views as possible.

Reflecting this rise of desperado digital marketing in the early 2010s, Sheriff Google started deploying deputies to clean up the streets. Since then, enforcers like Penguin and Panda have become incredibly sophisticated at sniffing out unethical digital marketing techniques and penalizing the offenders.

But what about these bad “dotcombres” is so offensive that the Sheriff Google feels it necessary to ding their search rankings? Some of the most common penalties assigned to websites that have violated Google’s webmaster guidelines are in response to:

  • Sparse, poorly written content
  • Numerous deceptive backlinks
  • Heavily spammed queries
  • Multiple doorway or interstitial pages

Organizations risk more than the ire of Sheriff Google (and subsequently penalized search rankings) when they opt to use questionable techniques. Unethical SEO and digital marketing tactics can also cost an organization thousands of potential customers or leads.

Whether an organization is managing its own online presence or handing those duties off to an SEO professional, it’s vital that decision makers understand the signs and cost of unethical digital marketing.

Defining Ethical SEO

SEO Practices Not OK Corral - Eminent SEOEthics can be difficult to define, especially in an ever-evolving environment like the Wild Web. However, most webmasters and users can agree that an upstanding website is transparent, helpful and honest. Advertisements, if any, should be straightforward rather than duplicitous. Content should be accurate, helpful and relevant.

That’s why organizations performing their own digital marketing should develop a list of ethical SEO best practices. Likewise, discussing the topic with potential digital marketing professionals should provide insights into that company’s position when it comes to ethical SEO.

The following are a few rules of thumb that outline the general principles of ethical digital marketing:

  • SEO professionals must always honor the webmaster guidelines of each search engine.
  • SEO professionals must commit to creating a positive, functional user experience.
  • SEO professionals must present user content accurately and without embellishment.
  • SEO professionals must always properly cite content generated by a separate party.
  • SEO professionals must communicate realistic expectations to their clients about search engine rankings.

Questionable vs. Ethical SEO Strategies

Wanted Bad Dotcombre Crimes Against SEO - Eminent SEOWhen it comes to Western movies, deciding who is ethical is a breeze. Good guys wear white hats. Villains wear black hats. Nobody else wears hats. Simple, right?

Thankfully, distinguishing between ethical and unethical SEO techniques isn’t very complicated either. As a rule, ethical (or “white hat”) SEO strategies will prioritize user experience, follow search engine guidelines and produce consistent, long-term results.

On the other side of the spectrum, unethical (or “black hat”) SEO strategies are only concerned with short-term gains. They tend to focus on taking advantage of search engine algorithms rather than serving the needs of potential visitors.

Examples of ethical SEO techniques include:

  • SEO site optimization
  • High-quality content production
  • Guest blogging
  • Internal linking

Conversely, examples of unethical SEO techniques include:

  • Stuffing keywords
  • Spammy blog post creation
  • Hidden text placement
  • Paying for links

The Consequences of Unethical SEO Techniques

Organizations that implement spam-heavy or manipulative SEO strategies risk heavy penalties from Google and other search engines if their unethical strategies are discovered. The subsequent search rankings loss could considerably damage a company’s long-term success in attracting new customers.

That’s why it is so important for SEO practitioners to hold themselves to extremely high ethical standards. The wrong move could cripple an entire marketing strategy. That being said, organizations in need of digital marketing services must search for a partner that can deliver on their promises.

What to Expect from Ethical SEO

New SEO experts are constantly riding into town. How do you tell a straight shooter from a dang varmint? A public commitment to ethical digital marketing is certainly a good place to start. Thankfully, there are multiple angles that organizations can explore to evaluate the ethics of a particular SEO practitioner.

Here are just a few things to look for when trying to figure out if an SEO company is committed to ethical practices:

  • Communicates realistic expectations – SEO optimization is a long-term strategy. In some cases, it can take weeks or months for a website to reach its desired search ranking. An ethical SEO practitioner will communicate a realistic time frame for the results the client has asked for. Organizations should remain wary of SEO professionals who promise overnight results.
  • Uses solely sustainable techniques – Search engine algorithms, especially those developed by Google, are constant changing. As a result, some techniques that may have worked well in the past are no longer effective, and may even lead to penalties if used. Ethical SEO practitioners keep a close eye on the industry and never knowingly recommend an outdated SEO strategy to clients.
  • Prioritizes user experience – Keyword stuffing is, or should be, a thing of the past. These days, search engine algorithms are far more concerned with the presence of accurate, high-quality content rather than keyword density. An ethical SEO practitioner will take the same approach as they recommend solutions for a client’s website.

Understanding Ethical SEO Will Help You Know Whom to Trust

Organizations that understand the importance of ethical SEO can make smarter decisions about whom to trust with their online presence. Doing so also protects their long-term digital marketing strategy from the hawk-like gaze of Sheriff Google.

As commerce becomes increasingly digitized, the importance of ethical SEO is only going to increase. Be sure to bookmark or subscribe to our blog for more helpful updates on SEO best practices and other relevant digital marketing topics.

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Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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Be Careful Not to Choke on Your Aspirations, Content Writers

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Are there any audiences less forgiving than readers on the web? Many content writers ask themselves this question on a regular basis, and their assumptions aren’t far off.

According to data collected by publishing intelligence firm Chartbeat, a majority of users (55%) spend less than 15 seconds on a web page before moving on to the next one. Dang! Talk about the importance of a first impression.

After reading this report and reflecting on how hard it can be to hook and engage online readers,  I was reminded of another audience with even less patience than readers on the web: the Dark Lord of the Sith himself, Darth Vader.

After all, who could forget how quickly the iconic Star Wars villain dismisses information he deems inconsequential or subordinates who have lost his confidence. If you equate “bounce rates” to “being strangled to death with the Force” then the parallels are actually pretty hard to ignore.

It’s important to note that much like Imperial officers, content writers are enthusiastic about providing their audience with valuable information. Unfortunately, our eagerness to please and grand designs for our copy sometimes can get in the way of providing the audience with the answers they are actually looking for.

So let’s take a closer look at how a handful of Star Wars characters meet their demise at the hands of Darth Vader and see what their deaths can teach us about the wrong ways to engage with a demanding audience.

Don’t Mislead Your Reader

Capt Raymus Antilles Darth Vader Dialog - Eminent SEOThough technically a member of the Rebel Alliance, Captain Raymus Antilles has the distinction of being that very first person we see being throttled by Lord Vader in the opening minutes of “A New Hope.” He is quite bold in telling Vader that his ship is merely on a harmless “diplomatic mission,” considering the last scene of “Rogue One” features the Sith Lord watching them jettison away from the docks of Vader’s personal flagship. And to be fair, he isn’t lying, from a certain point of view.

However, his word choice certainly isn’t intended to guide his audience to the truth. In this way, Captain Antilles provides a great example of what happens when you underestimate the intelligence of your audience.

As a content writer, you may sometimes feel tempted to quote data or a report that doesn’t entirely support your argument. You may be in a rush to meet a deadline or feeling frustrated with the research process, and settle on quoting evidence that, at best, has some tangential relevance to the point you are making in your copy. This is the way of the Dark Side.

Taking this approach assumes that your reader not only knows less than you about your subject, but also lacks the presence of mind to check your references. If you’re found out, your credibility with your audience is shot for good and your reputation as a writer is put into jeopardy.

While this outcome may be less dramatic than your trachea being crushed by Darth Vader’s prosthetic metal hand, the consequences of misleading your audience are very real.

Don’t Get Personal or Political

Admiral Conan Motti Darth Vader Dialog - Eminent SEOAdmiral Conan Motti gets choked about 30 minutes into “A New Hope” during a debate among Imperial officers aboard the Death Star about how to deal with those dastardly rebels. Ignore the fact that Admiral Motti’s extreme skepticism of the Force makes absolutely no sense given that the Jedi Council was the galaxy’s most influential nonprofit just 20 years prior. Instead, focus on his obvious misstep in anticipating the experience of his audience.

Death Star Other Planet - Eminent SEOAdmiral Motti might have been able to persuade Vader to his side if he had stuck to verifiable claims about the military and strategic value of the Death Star. Instead, he allowed his own personal distaste for Vader’s religious background to color his rhetoric.

As copywriters, we should always be aware of how our personal biases can influence how we write and what we write about.

First and foremost, we must remember that we are representatives of our clients. Part of our responsibility is to make sure the client’s voice and perspective trump our own when producing copy for their website or a digital asset.

We must also acknowledge the potential for our personal biases to color our writing, and that our readers are capable of seeing through our mistakes. After all, an easy way to lose your audience is to make them feel like your copy is antagonistic toward something they hold dear. If that audience includes an evil space wizard, you might lose your audience and get choked to death.

Don’t Expect a Fair Shake

Admiral Kendal Ozzel Darth Vader Dialog - Eminent SEOIf you’ve been writing for the web for any period of time, you’re well aware of the importance of the opening line. Hooking readers is key to keeping them on the page. At the same time, a carefully curated opening line can do wonders to disarm a personal bias that might prevent a reader from fully engaging with the rest of your page.

Admiral Kendal Ozzel demonstrates life-threatening ignorance of these principles in his abrupt conversation with Lord Vader in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Remember that shortly before Vader summons Admiral Ozzel onto video chat, the Sith Lord had been stewing in his personal chambers over the officer’s tactical blunders during the siege of Hoth.

It seems pretty clear that Vader is Facetiming the admiral specifically to choke him to death with the Force and promote his nearby subordinate. If Ozzel had any chance of avoiding his grisly fate, it would have to be with his opening line.

Unfortunately, Ozzel did not anticipate that his audience was entering the conversation under the influence of a powerful negative bias. He led with a bland, predictable opening that probably encouraged Vader to snuff him out that much faster. More importantly, he lacked sufficient familiarity with his audience to anticipate these negative feelings and subvert Vader’s expectations.

We as content writers must learn from Ozzel’s errors if we have any hope of improving bounce rates and user engagement on our pages. The opening line matters.

Don’t Fail to Deliver

Director Orson Krennic Darth Vader Dialog Rogue One - Eminent SEOOrganization and delivery are key to producing high-quality content. These qualities are equally critical when it comes to designing and manufacturing an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. Director Orson Krennic learns this lesson the hard way during “Rogue One” after reoccurring spells of incompetence lead him to a potentially deadly encounter with the Sith Lord.

Leah Max Vader Spaceships - Eminent SEOAs content writers, we can draw out a few useful nuggets of information by examining Krennic’s near-death-by-Force experience with Vader.

First and foremost, it is clear from Vader’s tone that Krennic had under-delivered in the past with regard to the development of the Death Star. As a result, the trust of his audience (Darth Vader and, more importantly, Emperor Palpatine) had already began to erode.

Content writers can likewise compromise the goodwill of their audience by promising one thing in titles and headers then failing to follow through in the copy.

Second, Krennic’s first reaction when confronted with feedback from his audience was to deny wrongdoing and deflect blame. This course of action results in him being strangled by a mystical energy field that controls his destiny.

Similarly, content writers have a choice when they fail to live up to the standards of their audience. They can either run from blame or take responsibility and commit to improvement.

(Don’t remember Darth Vader’s affinity for choking insubordinate members of the Empire – both by hand and by Force? Watch a “highlight reel” here.)

Trust DARTH

We’ve discussed in detail all the wrong ways to approach your audience as a content writer. But what can we take away as far as positive examples? Unfortunately, the Galactic Empire is such a dysfunctional workplace that it’s extremely difficult to find positive examples within the organization of successful, consistent communication.

Instead, I’ve devised a simple mnemonic device to help fellow content writers remember the lessons we’ve learned from the Empire’s finest:

DARTH Standard For Web Copy - Eminent SEOBy following the DARTH Standard, content writers can feel confident that their copy will meet the needs and expectations of their audience. Writers will have to continue to adapt their tone and style to each client, but approaching this challenge with the right mindset will make it much easier to engage your audience before they make the jump back into hyperspace.

Got some of your own tips for managing your audience’s demanding expectations? Reach out with the Force and leave a comment below!

Avatar for Remy Albillar

Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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