Google’s shot heard ’round the Internets — Penguin 2.0 — has led many in SEO circles to declare the “death of SEO.” Don’t cue the funeral procession for SEO just yet, though. As I have said in the past, content marketing is the new SEO.
Does this mean that SEO isn’t important? No. It just means that both are needed: You can’t have effective SEO without content marketing and you can’t have effective SEO without content marketing.
Penguin 2.0, announced May 22 on Matt Cutts’ blog on Google, is the latest in a series of seismic changes to hit SEO in recent years. Though Google tweaks its algorithm hundreds of times a year, this was a biggie. It wasn’t just a data refresh AND it focused on several things:
Backlinks - Many SEOs used backlinks to drive SEO. That strategy no longer works as well as it once did and Google has effectively put the kibosh on it. The strategy that some SEOs used — backlinks to any and everywhere, from anyone — is no longer effective. Links just for links just won’t work. You have to make sure that your link campaigns are linking to sites that are related to your content. Pay more attention to who you are linking to and vice versa, and focus on relevant, high-quality sites for maximum benefit.
Exact Anchor Text - For years, keywords that ranked well, though may not have been grammatically correct such as “content marketings” would rank well alone, even if they didn’t sound or read right, if used as exact matching anchor text. Now, Google is paying more attention to anchor text that is grammatically correct. If you think about it, it’s all about user experience. And Google wants highly-valued and grammatically correct content.
Linkbuilding - You’ve milked the system with Black Hat SEO techniques? Get ready for the milk to run dry. Google values White Hat SEO techniques, so those who have gamed the system have a rude awakening.
Let Google tell it and all they are doing is trying to right the spammy SEO — you know, the kind that gets all kind of SEO juice with linkbuiliding and spammy content. The jury is still out on that one, as many in SEO circles claim they are doing the right things and still get penalized for it.
Don’t Worry About SEO; Just Crank Out Good, Relevant Content
No matter where your site stands in SEO, the message is clear: Kick ass content matters. You can buy all the links you want. But if your content is crap, you aren’t going to see the best results.
This is what we’ve been saying, no screaming, in ALL CAPS, all along: Content marketing plays an even more important role in getting SEO. And it’s what Google has been saying all along post-Panda and post-Penguin. Content marketing (blogs, press releases, articles, anything content) is what is going to get you rank these days.
High quality, relevant content is the best way to build links. Good, well-written, relevant content is what gets shared and distributed online. It builds back links organically, as readers like, share and distribute content.
But not just any content, good content is what Google is looking for. So, don’t expect huge jumps in SERPs without providing content with value. So what’s a content marketer to do? Get busy creating!
1. Insist on good content. No, demand it. It will serve you and your clients better in the long run. Sure, every time Google tweaks anything, the pressure is on to just get something, anything, up. Don’t. Make sure what you create has value, is well-written and relevant to your audience. Content is your currency. and you have to provide value. Content generates revenue and is a lead generator, so make sure your content is up to par.
2. Keep calm — and produce more shareable content. Sure, clients may be all up in arms about this, get desperate, and many may ask you to do things that may negatively affect their ranking. Don’t. Make sure you go over Google’s manifesto — a.k.a. Penguin 2.0 — and follow it. And keep cranking out content. And for Christ’s sake, make sure the content that you spent all that time creating is shareable. Include social media icons that let you share your content on platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and the like. You’ve created it. Now share it.
3. Only use White Hat SEO. Some content marketers also do SEO or work with SEO professionals. As appealing as it may be to game the system and use Black Hat SEO for short-term gains, don’t. Just don’t. The thing about it is that using these techniques aren’t just to become Google’s love child, but your site will benefit no matter what search engine you target.
SEO isn’t dead; far from it. And content marketers need not to worry; it’s a damn good time to be in content. I think it’s time for a content revival. Don’t you?
What are your predictions for Penguin 2.0?
Tenisha Mercer is an SEO writer in Atlanta with content on page #1 of Google, Yahoo and Bing. She is a digital marketing expert, an Atlanta web content writer and SEO copywriter and social media expert in Atlanta who specializes in powerful, high-impact copywriting that clicks with customers.
Tenisha Mercer has led digital marketing, content strategy and produced and managed content for clients in health care, retail and technology, including the CDC, The Home Depot, Sears, GMAC, NCR, General Motors, 1-800-Flowers and small businesses around the country.
Contact her at info@MercerMediaGroup.com.