If you’re a publisher, agency or SEO you better pay attention! Not only might you be missing a BIG opportunity, but you might find your work useless in 2013. If your content hinges on guest posts, or your SEO is built on hyperlinks from guest posts, you might want to think ahead a little, as Google’s next target may be Guest Posts, and rightfully so!
In the wake of the Search Engine changes in 2012, SEOs are finding it challenging to find the backlinks they need. In a day where onsite optimization has become common knowledge and so many people have jumped on the backlink bandwagon, it’s no small thing to outrank a competitor. The constant theme in the last two Search Marketing Expos or SMX Conferences as well as BlogWorld or NMX was guest posting, guest blogging, content writing and spinning and the industry has done just that.
In the wake of penguin (Google’s latest search update), guest blogging has spiked and repurposed content is everywhere. This has sent the quality of content spiraling down and it is also effecting content marketing. As sites struggle to keep up with the high demand to push out fresh content, both for the purpose of link bait as well as fresh site content for the engines, the reader or consumer has started to become disconnected.
The Issue of Content:
Content Marketing is suppose to have a purpose, it’s not a practice of mass production but social science. A proper content marketing strategy should address and issue or hit an emotion button with the target audience. In 2012 Engagement played a big part in the SERP, CTR from placement, bounce rates, time on site all become major indicators of contents value for the search giant. As for readers, the practice of offering content at the cost of their contact information has become common practice, but it’s also become a big frustration point for readers. Either, we have submitted contact info as requested, which took time, and got crap for content, or we are visiting someone like Hubspot, which has yet to overcome pissing its followers off by requiring they submit the info every time they want an eBook or report. It’s no dispute that content is crucial to capture the attention of both the search engines and real people, but if these practices keep up we are going to put print publishers back to work.
The Issue of Hyperlinks:
Guest Blogging first started out as a way to grow a social network or following, two quality bloggers with something in common, but not competitive, would each write a post for each other’s site. The introduction was made to each other’s followers and the viral activity began. When SEO grew more complicated and backlinks where pushed further to relevancy, the guest blogging boom began. As has been the story of the internet and digital media, the change came along so fast, even legitimate organizations and companies found themselves contributing to the problem just to stay relevant and competitive.
With so many people pushing low quality content and consistently repurposing it, it was just a matter of time before Google started targeting content quality. I even say the time is just around the corner where Google really digs in and targets those hyperlinks and poor quality content.
An Opportunity and Possible Solution:
“Pen” names have provided a temporary solution to guest blogging, as it makes the content look legit and provides an extra space to drive whatever keyword the author would like. I would be very surprised if this is not Google’s next target, especially when you consider how easy a fix the solution is!
Social Media has already had a large effect on content in search, it drives traffic, referrals and in some cases links. Did you ever consider that Social Media may be the easiest solution to discredit content?
Google Authorship is already having an effect on content placement and value. While it is hard to imagine anything will ever be more influential then Google+ in search results, it’s not a bad bet that if you start adding quality legitimate social links in your author byline you’ll find two things happen: 1) you’ll become influential and 2) your content will still hold value (including that other hyperlink) after Google starts targeting guest bloggers.
If the author name is not hyperlinked I almost immediately discredit the content, and if the name says “John Smith” but points to a company Twitter account, then I consider it borderline fraud! Not a hard leap to think Google could easily do the same, if the anchor text is the same as the URL or in content then the link value holds, if the anchor text is different then url and doesn’t appear in landing page then discredit all links on site.
If organizations spend a little more time using authentic authorship, the articles will increase in value and the hyperlinks they depend on for SERP might still hold value in 2013, if and when Google cracks down on authorship and bylines.
- Guest blogging: The good and the bad for SEO
- Guest Blogging – Enough is Enough
- The Next Penguin Target – Guest Blogging
- What is Google’s view on guest blogging for links? with Matt Cutts
- Guest Blogging Quality Indicators, Understanding Your Target Prospect
- Watch Out: Guest Blogging is on Google’s Radar
About Basil Puglisi
@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.