Author Archives: Remy Albillar

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.

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

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.

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

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!

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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Writer By Day, Writer By Night: 6 Tips for Balancing Digital Marketing and Creative Writing

Tips For Balancing Digital Marketing And Creative Writing - Eminent SEO

During my undergraduate years at the University of Arizona, my writing professors constantly warned me and my classmates about the risk of writing as a day job.

They cautioned us against living a double life as a writer. They told us to stay wary of burnout and losing our way as artists, suggesting that this was a very real possibility if we planned to make our living on SEO and marketing content.

I was an insufferable suck-up in class, so I nodded vigorously in response to these ominous predictions. Internally, however, my gut response to these warnings was akin to the infamous shrug emoji.

I was even less interested in hearing this advice during graduate school, when I was living the double life in full swing. It was hard to nod as vigorously as I did during my undergraduate days: I was already balancing a full-time job producing marketing content during the day with attending class and drafting my memoir thesis in the evening.

Today, as a full-time marketing copywriter and content strategist, I am still tasked with finding the right balance between my life as a marketing content professional and my goals as a creative academic. Is it easy? Certainly not! Is it impossible? My answer is an equally vigorous: No way!

That being said, I can now see that the bleak scenarios described by my writing professors actually helped to shape the very strategies I now use to stay sane and productive. The following tips and strategies are meant to help those content writers who struggle to balance their daily copywriting duties with their passion projects.

1. Use Your Downtime

A common mistake that writers make when balancing a double life is trying to separate creative and content writing into separate mental silos. Anyone who attempts these mental gymnastics for long will find that the effort is worthy of Sisyphus.

That’s because we as writers only have so much control over the creative process. Ideas will come and go with no regard for your convenience. As a result, it’s important to make use of downtime at the office effectively when your creative brain flips on and starts generating good ideas.

Consider keeping a notebook handy during your work day. If you have an idea, jot it down quickly before it leaves your mind and then get back to work. Likewise, make use of your breaks and lunch time to review your notebook of drafts, edit a paragraph or simply brainstorm about your next creative project.

Every bit of creative writing you can sneak into your day goes a long way toward your achieving your goals, whether they revolve around publishing or expanding your audience as a blogger. You might even enjoy your work hours a bit more when you allow your creative brain to churn out creative thoughts throughout the day.

2. Flex Your Skills

As a writer, it’s very easy to see the SEO- and link-focused nature of website marketing content as a restraint on your creative process. I felt this way for years. By the time I was in graduate school, however, my horizons had expanded and I’d come to appreciate the idea of creative restraints.

Consider forms in poetry. The Elizabethan sonnet, with its strict rules concerning meter and rhyme, is a great example. Forms do constrain the writer’s choices but also encourages them to think outside of their own tried and true artistic strategies.

What if you thought about SEO keyword and header requirements the same way you might think about a writing prompt or a formal assignment? Imposing limitations on the creative process not only produces results in your own writing, but can also help encourage you to exceed expectations at the office by producing some truly sublime marketing content.

You also present yourself as a prime candidate for promotion. Take it from my experience: A little boost to your paycheck will go a long way toward making you feel more comfortable about your double life as a writer.

3. Leverage Your Research

The longer you’ve been a writer, the more likely you are to take your inspiration from unlikely sources. Openness to the unexpected muse is a critical skill for those balancing a content marketing job with craft development in their free time.

In order to generate a steady stream of high-level marketing content for the web, one must become a very effective researcher. Most writers have experience doing research from their academic days, but deadlines and large workloads force content producers to become even more efficient at scouring the web for information.

If you find yourself short on ideas when you sit down to write at home, try expanding your research process at the office. As you scan the web for data and sources, make sure to scan your results for interesting, newsworthy or inspiring stories. Bookmark these links, then browse them in greater detail after your work day has ended. Fitting in a bit of creative research into your daily workflow will also take pressure off of yourself to put in that time when you get home.

4. Find Your Fortress


Batman has his Bat Cave. Superman has his Fortress of Solitude. Just as a superhero needs a secluded headquarters to retreat to, a writer needs a place to think, reflect and appreciate the quiet.

Considering how much time you’ll spend writing for work, it’s more important than ever to stay productive during your free time. Otherwise, you risk falling into the uninspired rut my writing professors warned about. With this in mind, find a place where you can disconnect from the world, including the work assignments waiting on your desk for the next morning.

After moving back home to Phoenix, Arizona, I selected my old local library as my personal bastion of productivity. Free access to high-speed WiFi, limited noise pollution and a very low chance of bumping into anybody I knew from high school made my local branch an ideal spot to spend a few hours each day reading and writing.

5. Obey Your Schedule

Another piece of advice I heard constantly from my writing professors, especially at the graduate level, was the importance of having a schedule as a writer. No pithy rejoinders here. They were absolutely correct.

This maxim goes double for writers that balance a double life. The importance of meeting deadlines at work is a given for most, but few commit the same focus to the writing they do for themselves. Unfortunately, those who fail to work on their craft consistently are at the greatest risk for letting their work writing consume their lives.

I’m sorry to say that there aren’t any easy strategies for becoming a disciplined writer. It’s something we all have to work on every day. Thankfully, applying some of the other strategies I mentioned above can make this challenge a bit less daunting.

Start by assigning yourself some deadlines. Identify a few hours each day that can be dedicated to writing, whether they be early in the morning or after you get home from work. Do everything in your power to obey your schedule.

You probably won’t get it right all at once, but that’s OK. Just setting a schedule and paying closer attention to how you choose to spend your time (when you should be writing) are major steps in the right direction.

6. Honor Your Process


It’s easy to get discouraged as a writer. After all, we can be pretty sensitive. That’s why it’s important for you to make a habit of carrying your projects to completion. Denying yourself the internal encouragement that comes with finishing a poem or prose piece just makes it harder to stay motivated as a creative writer.

On the other hand, beating yourself up over how long it’s taken to finish a novel in your spare time is not an effective strategy. Your creative process is unpredictable, and it’s not typical for your free time and your feelings of inspiration to line up consistently. This is especially true when you are tasked with a full workload of blog posts, newsletters, email campaigns and content pages during the day.

Just as the style and voice of your work are unique, so too are the strategies you’ll employ to balance a double life as a marketing content professional and a creative writer. As long as you are able to secure a quiet place to work, set a reasonable schedule and stay disciplined, the specifics are up to you.

In short, the double life is one worth living. Just figure out what works for you, stick to it and keep your pen on the pad.

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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