Algorithm changes, updated Google Webmaster guidelines, the advent of social media optimization, and the most talked-about trend in the industry – content marketing; these elements are widely regarded as the heralds of a sea change in search engine optimization. The “New SEO” places an emphasis on quality of content and links, and seeks to drive out old, outdated practices, but hasn’t that always been the goal of scrupulous SEO professionals? In fact, despite the proliferation of blogs, news articles, and industry publications on how the industry has changed, a lot of things have stayed the same. Tactics that have long been considered illegitimate are still bad, and the benchmarks of success are still the same: quality content and multiple high-quality shares and links.
What Hasn’t Changed:
1. Link buying is bad: This practice has always been considered spammy and underhanded.
2. Automated content creation is awful: Automated content is extremely low quality and irrelevant to almost all users. Search engines will always crack down on this SEO “method”.
3. Link Schemes are going to be penalized: Google in particular has always been adamant that link building schemes are illicit and will be penalized. What is different with link schemes is actually a benefit to SEO professionals: Google has clarified exactly what types of link schemes are considered bad form, as explained below.
4. Link building itself is still important to SEO success: Many companies worry that Google’s recent changes herald the end of link building as a SEO tactic. On the contrary, Google ranks largely on links.
5. Quality content will always be rewarded: SEO as an industry is seeking to legitimize itself by placing an emphasis on quality. This prioritization is a smart move not just for SEO professionals, but for their clients as well; high quality content will produce a better user experience, and is more likely to be linked to, both important ranking factors.
What Has Changed:
1. Advertorials are considered paid links now: Google now views advertorials as paid links, and devalues them in search results.
2. Press release optimization is under scrutiny: Digital public relations and SEO might seem like strange bedfellows, but the two industries work together very well – except when that partnership is abused, as is the case with press release keyword and link stuffing. To see exactly how Google is viewing press releases, and how to optimize them without penalty, check out this excellent article by Search Engine Watch.
3. The definition of “Link Schemes” has been more clearly defined: Although you should read Google’s Webmaster Policy to fully understand what the search engine is looking for, here are some examples of link schemes: excessive link exchanges, large scale article marketing, and low-quality bookmark sites.
What Does it All Mean?
Google’s many changes, and the explosive growth of content marketing, all speak to the same truths that SEO professionals have always known: quality, useful, relevant content is necessary to increase user experience, entice other industry professionals to share and link to the content, and this process will slowly build not just SEO rankings, but brand reputation as well. The core elements of search engine optimization will always be this way; the “New SEO” is really not new at all.
Knowing exactly how to produce and market that quality content is the trick; it can be extremely difficult for companies to accomplish these tasks on their own without penalty. That’s where we come in: our SEO experts have over a decade of experience with online optimization, and use this experience to understand both current trends and anticipate future changes to the industry.
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