The impact of the Penguin and Panda algorithmic updates (and their subsequent iterations) has been felt by many as Google has worked to establish a trustworthy blueprint for how sites can demonstrate that they are truly authoritative – as one of our Account Managers recently said, that “they’re good at what they do, not good at exploiting SEO shortcuts”.
The reality, as detailed here, is that many worked very hard, once penalised, to clean out their backlink profile of skeletons and improve the quality of their content – only to discover that convincing Google to remove a penalty on their domain was simply the start of the road to ranking recovery. Once all those bad quality links were stripped out, many sites found that they just didn’t have the residual domain authority to compete and, in essence, were starting the race from the starting line.
It is in this context that Rand’s Whiteboard Friday presentation this week has so much resonance – not only is tangible, long-term and sustainable success hard work, it can feel even more of a “slog” if the memory of success is still rich in a client’s mind.
However, the blunt truth is that success is on Google’s terms and dreaming of a lost past is no route to future success. And, moreover, what Google is imploring us to do is that which all brands should seek to do anyway – be the best you can be at whatever it is that you do and help others along the way by demonstrating that expertise.
This, as I’ve highlighted before, is a lesson writ large through the discipline of content development. Whilst most companies are keen to do the first part, by being the best they can be, significantly less are willing (or able) to spend time doing the latter, particularly as the best exponents are providing Google with solid evidence across multiple areas (the importance of being joined up in your marketing is expressed in unconventional but amusing terms here).
The best content developers start with a plan and ensure that everyone involved is in tune with that plan – without any doubt my favourite piece of advice in these 39 blogging tips is the instruction to brainstorm as it ensures that the strongest plan is developed and that significant team members understand the genesis of that plan. A more prosaic piece of advice (but no less important for that) is to be organised and that’s where these great content calendar plans come in very handy indeed – trust me, you’ll thanks me later.
As the famous question goes “if a tree falls in a forest and no-one is there to hear it, does it make a noise?” Similarly, if you write content and no-one sees it, can it be authoritative? Whereas some philosophers are still debating the first question, we know for certain that, as far as Google is concerned, the answer to the second question is “No”. To ensure your content plan is not wasted effort, you MUST be engaging in social media in the 21st Century and, if you don’t believe me, Alexandra Rose has some superb statistics to convince you.
And finally, some practical advice on how to ensure Google respects the traffic that you site does attract – cherish it (your traffic, that is). The one thing you should absolutely be learning from is the behaviour of visitors to your site and, moreover, you should be responding to it by adapting your site design. Two excellent articles on landing page optimisation that came out this week – here and here – should help you improve your audience’s journey on your website.
What are the biggest challenges you face in search marketing? Please feel free to comment below – or via our social media – and tell us if there’s anything you’d like us to discuss.