White Hat SEO Growth Hacking 23rd April 2014

We’re focusing the next Smojoe SEO Show on White Hat SEO Growth Hacking.
wheat sheaf, growth hacking, Toronto, Christian Contreras

Cristian Contreras has invited Rob Campbell to share SMOJoe SEO Tactics at his Growth Hacking Toronto Meet Up Group, on Weds April 23rd, 2014.  This is a free event through Meet-Up . com , and BONUS – there’s prizes!

This evening will be a unique subject exploration of how SMOJoe SEO methodology and signature story funnel to buckstop content marketing techniques could be considered growth hacking.

SEO_HackingLater that night we’ll execute another fun filled edition of the Smojoe SEO Show, a live presentation that uses free tools and does live diagnostics on audience member websites before crowd sourcing solutions, right there in the room.

On Weds April 23rd 2014 Rob Campbell will briefly discuss the following presumption,

“By disrupting Google listings for popular keyword queries, SMOJoe’s signature content-marketing-for-SEO tactics, story funnels made around keyword sandwiches, can ‘hack’ growth out of existing organic search markets.”

Before starting the Smojoe SEO Show, we’ll collectively discuss White Hat SEO Growth Hacking ideologies and methodologies.

Growth Hacking, Toronto, Meet Up , Cristian ContrerasWhat is Growth Hacking, Please Define ?

Growth Hacking is when a company uses technology or some simple innovation to capture customers and grow larger, sometimes at the expense of another less adaptive organization. That’s easy to remember, but that definition could be too narrow.  Companies can ‘hack’ the market in general. Back in the late 1990s when email was just catching on, Hotmail credits growth to the loving messages it included at the end of user emails sent on their free service in 1998, and this is considered a classic early example of growth hacking because it helped them gain millions of users among the recipients of their clients’ mail.

This is only my explanation of Growth Hacking and it might be less accurate than Sean Ellis asking where are all the Growth Hackers?  Or Andrew Chen’s classic post on Growth Hacking which discusses how Airbnb uses Craigslist  Read Andrew’s blog and you’ll see little bits of text are pre-highlighted in the copy. Good sentences that are statements about marketing and memorable quotes are subtly highlighted for easy sharing in social media.  That is growth hacking in a microcosm; Andrew is using a code innovation called Highlighter that makes it really easy for blog readers to tweet bits and bytes of text to their friends and followers, and that allows him to gain new readers by ‘hacking’ into previous readers’ friend networks.
Arron Gin on Growth Hacking says its a ‘Web 2.0 way to reach a market and distribute an idea.’

growth hacking is a mixture of marketing and engineeringOn the Subject of SEO Growth Hacking

While researching SEO Growth Hacking, to see if other people had the same thoughts as myself,  I was struck by the fact that many writers believe good SEO achieves only temporary results.  These tech writers are therefore inclined to dismiss SEO Growth Hacking gains as being only temporary, while creating Brand Experiences and branding human brains with logos and value propositions is a more permanent return on investment. While I’m inclined to disagree (that good SEO achieves on temporary results), I do see merit in Josh Elman’s example of Yelp.  How the local search directory Yelp grew-up inside Google local search result listings is a classic example of Growth Hacking.  Josh’s writing reminds us how they appeared in Google search results and captured users with their more targeted local search system and reviews. Yelp ultimately provided a better user experience than Google listings, and so it acquired more dedicated users over time.  So this is true growth hacking according to Elman because it achieved a branding result on the human brain rather than a temporary increase in rankings on Google.

Beware Black Hat SEO Growth Hacking!

blackhat seo LOL excuse me while I laugh out loud because this is mostly cliche nonsense and when i read these articles I chuckle at the cliche headline and clip art on the right.  The category has many posts that have little or no information for readers or offer any help identifying what to beware of. I admire outrageous SEO link-building even if it is slightly nefarious, but I truly despise black arts that compromise user experience.  For example, I loath comment spam and ugly tactics like creating intelligent comment spam bots that can read capchas and use your first name in the comment. I’m wary of plugins that exploits popular WordPress themes and leave links in the sidebar or the footer.  I read about haunted toolbars and buttons from hell.  This witchcraft works surreptitiously behind users’ backs, and without their knowledge or consent. BUT REMEMBER as far as Black Hat SEO goes, it’s only considered to be a form of SEO Growth Hacking if it create backlinks which add to a client website’s incoming link totals, and positively contribute to its search math.  These days, Black Hat SEO Growth Hacking tactics are especially risky and ill advised because 1) they are harder to implement and 2) more easily detected and 3) they don’t work as well because they lack the authenticity of real users’ social signals that only comes from real human sharing.

Another example of crafty Black Hat Growth Hacking is Rap Genius

Andreessen Horowitz-backed music lyrics and annotations website, Rap Genius strayed over to the dark side of growth hacking with spammy SEO tactics disguised as an affiliate program. Called out, exposed and now punished by Google, the site’s traffic has dropped off very suddenly, but Rap Genius, thanks in part to that $15 million investment is expected to recover – now they’ll work to become ultra compliant and get back into Google’s good graces.

The best way to disrupt a market is to provide a better alternative.  Asking new users to share their friends’ emails and information is too annoying a technique to work now;  the art of any growth hacking method is to keep user experience high.

What is White Hat SEO Growth Hacking?

This is the snow covered plane where I’ve fashioned my practice, and I will start the evening’s discussion by showing my own examples of White Hat SEO Growth Hacking, and what I hacked and to what effect. For example,

ice cube trays, beer cubesIs it possible to freeze beer into ‘beer cubes’ to replace ice cubes in drinks? I will discuss this novel idea and the content marketing for SEO growth hacking campaign that occurred around it, and how it all worked to increase traffic to Onyx Containers ‘ice cube trays’ sales page.

Type ‘ice cube trays’ into Google today and you will be among approx 12,000 other folks that do that same search across North America every month. Onxy is found somewhere on pg1 for this root query and every modifier, ie best, steel, tin, metal, buy, order etc.

So I’m highlighting this beer cube discussion forum thread as a rudimentary form of white hat SEO growth hacking. And I will show how this thread and others in the campaign propelled Onyx to the top of Google in a market previously dominated by Amazon. Here’s the thread,


The publish date is 15 September 2011 and yet, because of its popularity, I believe this discussion continues to add weight to Onyx Containers website’s continued relevance as a search result for ‘ice cube trays’ query today.

Find your Start-Up’s Sweet Spot Keyword

personal-service-coffee-logo1There is a method to making SEO growth hacks and that’s what I will discuss with examples in a brief subject exploration before the real show of looking at audience member’s websites and then dramatically helping someone in the audience by making them more important by focusing the attention of the group on their start-up challenge. It will be very entertaining…

WIN a Coffee Maker from Personal Service Coffee, Office Coffee Solutions in Toronto Ontario

Rob Campbell SEO Show is a live action SEO diagnostic and dramatic storytelling seminar stuffed full of useful information and humorous anecdotes.   Doing any kind of participatory activity on any platform will probably yield a bag of coffee, and one participant will win a coffee maker in a random draw conducted at the very end of the night.  That’s exciting!