The writing has been on the wall for quite some time, SEO is dieing, and Social Marketing is sure to follow suit. Google has taken fairly extreme measures to rid its search engine of the effects of manipulation using certain SEO techniques. Starting with the Panda update, and moving through Penguin, the instigation of the Google Page Quality program, and its newly minted rules on link schemes, Google has made it quite clear that publishing valuable and engaging content is the only valid method for building SERP.
Bye Bye Back Links
Back linking to raise PageRank and SERP is a thing of the past, with this dubious SEO practice now consigned to the garbage can, as many types of links have now been entirely devalued by Google. This includes links in blog comments, forum signatures, embedded in articles and press releases, and added to the footer of a page. The only guaranteed method to gain back links which do not negatively impact PageRank now, is to nurture organic links, by publishing proper, engaging content.
If you don’t believe me, then just take a look at the following statement from Google:
“The best way to get other sites to create relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in the Internet community. The more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.”
Core Content Considerations
So if we follow the Google premise of quality content, which is valuable to visitors and link worthy in its own right, we can quickly see that in the short-term, this is going to mean that many websites will simply have their content re-written to a higher standard. At this stage, we are back in the game, with sites competing in exactly the same way. A level playing field, which just happens to be a higher quality playing field. So how can a website owner get ahead and stay ahead in this new virtual world of quality content? Where is the edge?
Enter the Evangelist
Every marketer knows the importance of branding. Branding has been a marketing fundamental for more than a century. A website is a brand in its own right, just look at sites such as Slashdot and Lifehacker, do you really think sites like these bother with SEO? No, they don’t need to, they have a strong brand.
A newly emerging trend for websites that wish to build their brand is to employ a content evangelist. This person takes the idea of publishing top quality, engaging content, and runs with it. The Evangelist becomes synonymous with the brand, and uses their writing skills, social networking reach, and plain old charm to promote the brand across every possible channel. Google loves this idea, it learns to recognize the identity of the content author, and return this in search results. For an example of this, Google up my name, Mac Wheeler. See the little picture next to the number one search result? That’s Google recognizing me as a content author. Do you also see the “More by Mac Wheeler” link? In effect, I am the evangelist for that particular search result.
So if you are keen on moving your website brand forward post Panda and Penguin, you are going to need to make sure you publish only top quality content. But to get an edge over the competition, you might want to employ a content evangelist to give you a further boost in SERP.