"Not long ago in the world of online content, the top search engines were a lot like the most popular casinos in Las Vegas," writes Brendan Cournoyer at the Business 2 Community blog. "Millions came to test their luck at the tables, but the few who knew the tricks—assuming they didn't get caught—were the ones who broke the bank." He's quick to note that none of these SEO practices fell into the "black hat" category—they simply took advantage of ranking algorithms that rewarded certain practices more than others.

But there was a problem: Good SEO often led to bad content. And, just as Las Vegas got wise to guests who gamed the blackjack tables, search engines have started foiling anyone who tries to manipulate rankings without having quality content to back it up.

To help search marketers evolve with the times and stay legitimate winners, Cournoyer offers advice like this:

Get involved in social media. "Just as backlinks are meant to speak to a page's quality," he notes, "content that is shared over and over again makes an even stronger case for its value."

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