The launch of Google’s Penguin anti-spam filter in April 2012 strongly influenced projects promoted through search manipulation. However, experts in the field of SEO are well aware that the innovations of 2012 were only the first decisive step of the “search engines” to freeing the pages of issue from sites practicing the purchase of links and a glut of texts with key phrases.
Search engines have already made it clear to resource owners that link building in its traditional forms (and this is actually building a reference profile by buying links on the reference exchanges) is a search results manipulation. Therefore, in the near future, we can expect the emergence of new algorithms that imply severe sanctions against any form of search and link spam. (They just finished writing this article and immediately passed the news that Matt Cutts promises a serious update of the Penguin anti-spam filter in the near future.)
However, external links will still remain one of the key factors in ranking sites for search engines, even despite Google’s targeted campaign against manipulative link building. Accordingly, marketers will seek to receive links to the promoted resources in order to improve their ranking.
At first glance, there are contradictions here, but this is not at all the case. Similarly, search engines struggle with low-quality links purchased and prefer natural links, because getting them is much more difficult and labor-intensive. In the overwhelming majority of cases, a natural link is a reward for quality content. You are referred to, if you really give some new knowledge, expertise. You are referred to if you entertain. You are referred to if you stand out in the general information field.
In this regard, it is necessary to separately say the following. Link building is a term that has been used for a long time by both foreign and domestic optimizers, which means that it literally means “building a reference environment”. Recently, more and more often, we are seeing how this term is being supplanted by the new one - link earning (the literal translation is “link earning”). Why does this happen and why do we need this change of terminology? The answer, in general, is clear and logical: it is caused, first of all, by a change in the principles of work on building the reference environment. The change of words is not so important as the change of principles of work. The nuances of the meanings of terms reveal a little to us a picture - if earlier it was precisely “construction”, now it is “earning”. For the first term, the image of the builder, a clever and skillful hustler, casually laying a brick to the brick brick, but qualitatively, appears until a wall grows. Let, maybe, and tiresome, but rather thoughtless work. Work that can be predicted: for how many hours you can build a wall of such and such length and such and such height. For the second term - “earning links” - sweat, blood and tears appear. You need to make an effort, you need to strain all your mental abilities and physical skills. This is always a process with an unobvious ending. It is necessary to get out of the skin to get a good result. And do not try to avoid this procedure. If you need - you need. Get out!
How should marketers and SEO experts respond to paradigm shifts in building external link environments? And why is the relevance of newsjacking, one of the methods of content marketing and search engine optimization, rising in the era of the fight against reference spam? You will find the answers to these questions below.
The first reaction: SEO is dead, long live contextual advertising and social networks
Many business owners and marketers have already managed to bury SEO, putting an end to this method of promotion due to the desire of search engines to make the issue clean from manipulation. Some of them focused on pay-per-click advertising campaigns, for some reason refusing to even try to get to the top of the issue due to the quality and relevance of the content. By the way, we raised the topic of death of search engine optimization, as well as the question of the relevance of SEO and contextual advertising, in previous publications. Our position on the question of SEO remains unchanged - search marketing is not going anywhere, but the methods of work will change dramatically (they have already changed!).
Pay-per-click advertising campaigns are an important element of any marketing strategy. Contextual advertising provides quick results, which is not provided by long-term approaches to promotion. But in the long run, PPC campaigns are very expensive (in some topics they are already unreasonably expensive). If you plan to work in the market for a long time, then you should not rely solely on contextual advertising. And, more precisely, even so - working exclusively with the context, as the main sales channel, you are depriving yourself of the main thing that can be achieved in marketing - capitalizing the results of marketing activity.
Other marketers have bought into the noise around social networks, replacing search engine optimization with social. Indeed, network communities are an excellent platform for increasing brand credibility, building relationships with consumers, and conducting PR events. However, traffic from social networks rarely generates a large number of leads, significantly inferior in this search engine optimization and contextual advertising.
Thus, PPC campaigns and social media promotion are important elements of project marketing. But these methods work well when they are part of a comprehensive marketing strategy.
The second reaction: you need to optimize sites quickly
Realizing that SEO has a high return on investment, many marketers have decided not to abandon this promotion method even after the start of the search engines struggle with SEO pressure. But they relied on speed optimization, not focusing on quality.
For example, some optimizers decided to “defeat” Google Penguin or MatrixNet Yandex with a huge amount of poor-quality unique content. They relied on the ability to get large volumes of texts quickly and inexpensively, for example, by rewriting other people's materials. (Who, if not us, is aware of this problem? Our materials have been "rewashing" in kilotons recently). However, we are not very worried about this. The so-called rewriting is a road to nowhere, and we are confident that this phenomenon will die off en masse as superfluous.
But it seems to us that intonation is important not only in human communication, but also in business communication.
It should be remembered that search engines evaluate behavioral factors, so the publication of low-quality texts does not allow us to expect high places in the issue today. Another use of compromise quality content is the publication of articles in catalogs for the sake of getting back links. This method has practically lost its relevance both in Yandex and Google. Finally, optimizers are trying to use low-quality content for guest blogging. But serious sites do not accept low quality texts. Therefore, betting on the speed and quantity of content at the expense of quality is an erroneous tactic.
Do you still think that in today's conditions you can quickly promote resources for competitive inquiries? Well, the following recommendations will help you avoid sanctions from the search engines:
- Avoid manipulative link building - search engines are well aware of the purchase links.
- Discard anchor link promotion. This can cause pessimization of your site.
- Do not try to increase the search authority of the site by publishing large amounts of low-quality content. Content quality is more important than volume.
By the way, do not you think that these recommendations relate precisely to those methods that use optimizers that bet on speed?
Last reaction (correct): SEO has changed, now it requires effort and creativity
When the dust picked up by the new search policies had settled, the most far-sighted marketers began using long-term strategies, promoting projects and optimizing websites. They began to consider funds spent on new SEO as an investment in a business.
Moreover, the business began to look beyond traditional search engine optimization, assessing the benefits of an integrated approach - content marketing. While optimizers working in the old-fashioned way build a reference environment on the bulk purchase of low-quality links, content marketers build relationships with partners, thematic resources and consumers. This is one of the differences between old-school SEO and content marketing.
Search engines punish sites for manipulative link building. However, they take into account external links when ranking sites. Marketers can improve the position of their resources in the issue, getting natural links. To do this, they need to create and publish content that is useful to the audience. Note again, the publication of high-quality content, expert content, viral content, content created for real readers, is the only tool of natural link building in today's conditions.
A specific example of creative SEO: newsjacking
Newsjacking is widely used as one of the content marketing tools. We already wrote about this tool here and here. However, not only content marketers use newsjacking. Search engine optimizers use this method to solve a specific “SEO” task - they get back links to their resource. How does this happen?
- Optimizer newsjacker finds hot news that is directly or indirectly related to the field of work of the promoted project.
- It defines the key phrases by which the audience is looking for information related to the relevant event.
- Then he creates high-quality material relevant to the selected search queries. This material should be associated with the selected news, as well as with the area of activity of the promoted business. Please note that the optimizer attracts expert experts such as copywriters, editors and videographers to create high-quality content. (The division of labor in the promotion of sites is one of the keys to success).
- An SEO expert tries to publish this material as quickly as possible. In this case, he can count on a large number of links from social networks and reputable sites.
Note again, the hot news should have something to do with the business of the project being promoted. Or the optimizer and copywriter should have enough imagination to organically link the event with the business. For example, information about a fire can be easily linked to the business of an organization that installs a fire alarm. And the news about a bank robbery is a great tool in the hands of a marketer promoting a security bureau website.
Newsjacking has an important feature - the hot news should remain primary. Focus on an important event, unobtrusively mentioning the business being promoted. This will allow you to avoid direct advertising charges and get a lot of links to your resource.
You can scold or praise Yandex and Google, but they will still continue to struggle with the manipulative link building. Far-sighted marketers understand this, but are not in a hurry to give up SEO because of the high efficiency of this promotion method. They go beyond manipulative link building and search engine spam using content marketing - a strategy for promoting projects using high-quality and useful content for the audience.
Newsjacking, one of the content marketing tools, allows optimizers to solve a specific SEO task. Having timely published good material, they receive a large number of external links. Of course, the scope of newsjacking is not limited to natural link building. But SEO professionals should first learn how to use this method instead of the standard and ineffective buying links.