Top 10 Tips for Green Hat SEM in 2009

January 12, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park  

falkogreenThis is a guest post by Falko Luedtke. Falko is a Strategic Internet Marketer and owner of Falko Inc, a trusted SEM/SEO company focused on quality service and up-to-date SEM knowledge.

The Falko Inc Blog provides the latest information on how to optimize businesses as well as Internet marketing strategies focused on proper utilization of technology to increase a company’s brand awareness and profitability.

Today I would like to talk to you about focusing all of your attention towards making more money with search marketing – something I call Green Hat Search Engine Marketing (SEM). The general idea of Green Hat SEM was formed inside the SEO Book Community and I described what Green Hat SEM is in more detail on my blog a few days ago. Below are 10 tips on how you can use Green Hat SEM to improve your earnings in 2009.

10. Use an optimized site structure that funnels to the most important pages

Many websites are still not tapping into their maximum potential by optimizing their site structure. Be sure to tackle duplicate content; make sure there is only one way to reach each page on your site. Create a hierarchical structure and use “push pages” to support the most important pages with the highest keyword value. Mix up the link anchor text from push pages to your important pages. Eliminate unnecessary pages and links (e.g. no, it is not necessary to link to “contact us” from every page on your site). Check out the Supplemental Results Detector Tool to analyze your site’s structure.

9. Localize your site using geotargeting

Before entering your website into the global market, make sure you are localizing your site directly for smaller more specific markets in your targeted area. This means using country-specific top-level domains and hosting and localized language and tone. By using technology like Content Delivery Network, you are then able to host your site globally in the most cost-effective way.

8. Be relevant in everything you do

Relevance is more important than anything else in the search engines. The more relevant the traffic that comes to your site, the higher your conversion rates will be. For example, if you are a dental supply store in Denver, then you should try to rank highly for “Denver dental supply store” and not just for “dental supply.” People searching for “dental supply” will probably not find what they are looking for on your site, so you waste energy and money trying to rank for it. Also, if you are running an e-commerce site, make sure that every product has a separate page. By this, I only mean totally different products; a different color doesn’t make a different product. Create useful and relevant pages and ask yourself, “Would I use this?” before you publish a page.

7. Create content that converts

Many of the experts will say that content is king and that you should have as much content as possible. This is not true. You will end up with poor content if you try to follow this strategy. The quality, not quantity, of your content is what’s important. The Internet is a one-on-one media, so you shouldn’t try to sell to the masses.

When you create content or when somebody creates content for you, make sure you have three important things in place. First, be unique – over 20% similarity with another document could count as duplicate content. Second, offer useful information – people can recognize when content is useful and when it is not. Finally, stay as close to the truth as possible and don’t talk negatively about others.

The Internet highlights many of our basic human instincts: we search for knowledge, we go to the people who have this knowledge, and then we take the knowledge we gained back to our community to share it with others. Creating useful content that actually helps people is one of the best ways to accumulate links and increase targeted traffic to your site.

6. Be trusted and create more trust

How does one create trust on the Internet? In the past, being trusted was simply based on how many links you could get pointing to your site. However, within the last year we clearly see a shift away from this. Google trusts quality links more than others, and a site with quality links and a relevant domain name can easily outrank sites with a crappy, unnatural link profile. Try to focus your attention on getting links from your own topical neighborhood or related communities that are relevant to your site. I also believe that the Trust Rank algorithm is gaining in popularity and will soon have a huge influence on the ranking of websites.

5. Use traditional marketing to stimulate more searches

Traditional marketing such as print media, radio and TV has gotten a lot cheaper these days. Due to the current economic crisis, many big spenders have cut their budgets. This presents a great opportunity for you. In addition, there are more opportunities to advertise on relevant websites. This is a great way to increase your visibility and to demonstrate that you are still in business and will continue to be in business even when the crisis is over. Advertising will have a positive effect on your branding and your brand related search terms as well.

4. Focus on conversions – conversion is king

It doesn’t matter how many links you get or how much traffic you have. What really matters is conversions and conversion rate. Many people believe that a user simply comes to a website, looks around for a few minutes, and then buys. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. People search for information first and then they compare various products for the best deal. Many people choose to buy from the retailer that provides the best value, rather than just the best price. With more and more review sites and social media sites springing up on the Internet, it’s easy to get a review from various sites and retailers.

Let’s be honest, there are at least 100 other people who sell the same product as you do. A lot of times it’s the service you offer that makes the biggest difference. Utilizing the right content can make a huge impact on your customer service. For example, a spam-free, well executed email marketing campaign can still be one of the best ways to get more returning visitors with higher conversion rates. Consult with a conversion optimizer when you are running an e-commerce site. Do a search for “landing page optimization” in Google, and you’ll find some very qualified companies.

3. Forget about rankings

Since the introduction of personalized search and the increasing number of Google data centers around the world, it’s clear that rankings in themselves are becoming less important. Your site could be ranked number one for your main keyword, but only for you. For example, if you search for your main keyword, click on your site from there and spend a long time surfing your site, Google personalized search may think you like the site and thus rank it higher for you (but not for others). So stop worrying about rankings and focus instead on driving relevant traffic to your site. By doing so, more people will like your site and visit often. If you rank highly in many “personalized searches”, your rankings will go up in general as well.

2. Do community work for crying out loud

Your best friend nowadays is the community that surrounds you in related news sites, forums or community sites, smaller retailers, related magazines, and even TV shows. When you present yourself as an expert within the community, or a company that cares about the community, you receive free support from the community in return. This creates brand awareness and increased trust for you. As a simple measure, you could provide quality content to related sites for free, or let owners and reporters try your product or services for free. For companies with less experience in Internet community work, I suggest hiring a young, dynamic person who can help you with this strategy.

1. Build a brand and be a brand

Not just big companies like Coca Cola and Nike can be brands. Everything and anything can be branded including a blog, a person, or even a dog. By branding yourself, you make sure that you stand out from the rest of the masses. The more community connections you have, the more visible and trusted your brand will be, which in turn means more business for you. But pay attention as to how you brand yourself. What’s the message you are trying to get across? You need to keep this consistent and not say anything that is untrue or goes against your message.

Be sure to use your target brand name and place it on everything you do. A corporate identity can be useful to everyone. Remember, the more brand-related terms you can accumulate, the higher your conversion rate will be. Make sure you rank for your branded terms and buy PPC ads for your brand name – you do not want to lose those clicks.


These 10 tips don’t just make your website more focused on making money. They also represent a roadmap for how you can give more value back to your customers. The Internet is changing and search engines are changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it. By putting the customer first and providing a valuable website, you will be able to overcome all the changes and still come out on top.

Google and all the other major search engines are looking for ways to understand social media better. They figured out that the best way to rank a website is by knowing whether or not customers like it. By focusing on customer satisfaction, you will reach a larger target audience and your return on investment will be higher.  Good luck Green Hat SEO’s!

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22 Responses to “Top 10 Tips for Green Hat SEM in 2009”

Jen on January 12th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Hi! nice tips here to start the 2009 online marketing, I’ve been thru a lot last year and I don’t want to commit the same mistakes that I’ve made for my site, I’ve been experimenting a lot and as I’ve read this post, I think I have now a clearer view on how to start my new marketing strategies, I have already tried some of the steps posted here such as the community work but I haven’t tried the number one which is branding. And I’d be glad to create one for myself, that’s the best way I could start for now.. Thanks falko!

Falko on January 12th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Thank you for your comment Jen.
I really hope it will help some people to make more money in 2009 🙂

If anybody has a question or feedback please send me a mail.

Cheers Falko

David Keffen on January 13th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

As usual Falko a well thought out article. Very relevant to todays successful SEM.

Lots of good points that both new marketeers (and old) would do well to focus on. Particularly liked points 10 and 2.


Brand4profit on January 13th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

The old method of advertising is interactive marketing. The term is misleading. Most people think it means that there is some type of interaction on the part of the person advertised to, and there is. But, it is not conversational. Instead, the advertiser wants you to interact with their campaign in a specific set of steps. Following the call to action and visiting a website for instance. It’s the push to make you do something. Live this image. Buy this now.

Social Media Marketing is just the opposite. It’s the pull of the tribe. The tribe already has your trust so the actions they take are ones you align with. On a larger scale, it’s the allure of belonging in the group as you take action together. “I am doing this so why don’t you do it with me?” On an individual level, the attraction is to behave the same way to get the same results that benefits your fellow tribeswoman or tribesman. “She looks hot! I want to look hot too. I want to go to her hairstylist” and you do. Social Media Marketing uses the power of attraction.

While advertising tries to use the same tactic, with a billboard for instance, of a gorgeous woman telling you the benefits of the salon, it doesn’t have the same impact because it’s pushing you to go. It is not pulling you in as a trusted friend. Your friends have your best interests at heart and advertisers do not. Social Media Marketing is based on building trust and that foundation will make Social Media a dominant player in Marketing.

Cheap Mobile Calls on January 13th, 2009

4. Focus on conversions.

Couldn’t agree more. There’s no point getting hundreds of thousands of visitors that don’t convert.

Trust is the major issue of marketing, you need the brand and the trust to get recognised and make conversions.

Donny Gamble on January 13th, 2009

These are some great tips that every blogger should follow in order to receive maximum results for their blog. This will help separate the boys from the men

Jacques @ SEO Tools South Africa on January 13th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

First there was Black Hat and White Hat, and now we have Green Hat. I like the use of the word green, as it is associated with natural, organic, living , etc….If one does keyword research around the word green it also becomes apparent that it is a tremendously popular keyword, with loads of buzz and growth around it.

Your post really resonates with me Falko, especially with relation to brand building and focusing on conversions. I’m off to go check out your blog now, keep up the good work!

Ann Arbor Web Design on January 14th, 2009

“Forget about rankings” now that may be a difficult thing to put out of ones mind for a lot of people I guess; but good tips nevertheless.

DomoBlogger on January 15th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Perfect fundament for any marketing actions – build a brand and be a brand!
Thanks for sharing!

seosoeasy on January 16th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Thanks for the valuable tips where each bloggers should follow inorder to succeed.

ZK@Internet Maketing Blog on January 22nd, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Relevant landing pages are the key to conversions and will have great ROI on your PPC spends

Sphinn on January 23rd, 2009

Yes, you are right, Falko. Sometimes people think only about SEO, but forget pay attention on conversion!

Classifieds on January 29th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

These are great tips I agree with them all. The one about google ranking is so true. Google bases its rankings on what it thinks you like so it can be different for everyone. Also brand is very important because it allows people to remember you and know who you are

Stop Dog Chewing on February 7th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Excellent points! When you write For your targeted audience, rather than writing For a better search engine ranking, you will be more successful in your endeavors.

Raghu on February 12th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

this is very good information about the search engine marketing,for more seo details plz go through to the this website: this website give very useful data about the search engine optimization.

Exotic Cars on May 18th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Thanks for this info.Talking about brand name I have read in many articles about brand advertising.Rather than targeting for your keyword,pay more attention to popularize your brand name.This will help in bringing more organic traffic.Right!!!!

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