In a previous article on this site, we talked about the growing importance of social media marketing and the impact which it would have on SEO. In this article, we’ll be looking at how recent changes in Google’s site evaluation algorithm have proved our predictions about the future of SEO to be true. We’ll also lay out a plan for how you as a marketer can adapt to this change and the many which are sure to come in the future.
It’s been said that “content is king” on the internet, and this principle has encouraged thousands of marketers to create and publish articles in order to position themselves as experts and to draw qualified traffic for their website. Yet, on May 2nd of this year, Google made a change to their site evaluation algorithm, a change that had a significant impact on the value of sites that specialize in article publishing.
The statistics below were adapted from a chart provided by Sistrix.com which shows the percentage drop for how much traffic Google sent to each of these content delivery sites.
These are just ten of the sites which suffered the greatest impact as a result of Google’s recent algorithm change. For each one above, there are hundreds of less popular article marketing sites that will be impacted by this change. Is content still king if article marketing sites are being devalued by the search engines?
The answer is that content is not king and it never was. Quality is king on the internet, and as long as we have human beings behind each of the searches performed, quality always will be king. Here’s how Google’s recent changes reflect that principle…
Google’s Amit Singhal has reported that Google (in an attempt to control the quality of the content being delivered by their search engines) has been asking for human reviews of specific sites, asking questions such as:
“Would you be comfortable giving this site your credit card?
“Would you send your grandmother to this site?”
Matt Cutts has also reported that similar questions are being asked of human reviewers in order to determine the quality of sites that are publishing and delivering content in high volume. Freelance copywriters and SEO experts also report that sites such as Elance, Guru, and Freelancer often have job postings to hire article writers out for between $1 and $5 per 500-word article.
There are hundreds of these jobs being posted a month, and surely anyone working for such low rates cannot take the time to create a well-researched article. Many of these jobs are instead being picked up by writers who live in non-English speaking countries and who have a limited command over the English language.
Job descriptions posted by affiliate marketers also sometimes include requests for positive product reviews to be written by writers, many times without the writer being granted access to the product. Considering these points, and Google’s growing commitment to human review, it’s obvious that quality content is becoming more and more important for marketers, and those who don’t create quality are in danger of being filtered out.
It’s no mystery that Google hates low-quality sites and sites which are designed simply to promote products and which do not contain quality content. Over the past several years, Google has slowly weeded these kinds of sites out of their PPC marketing results. But now, Google is continuing this ruthless commitment to quality by filtering low-quality sites out of their search results. This is certain to become more common as Google becomes more advanced in its ability to spot quality sites.
Your only line of defense is to focus on the principle behind Google’s efforts: that principle is the commitment to build trust with the public through providing value before asking for value (payments for products) in return. This might seem counterintuitive, but it’s an approach that is recommended by direct marketing veterans.
An article by Brian Horn was published on Dankennedy.com recently which stated:
“If your site was banned from AdWords…you might even be on the list for a manual review. I have seen 2 sites that were banned from Adwords last year, but still held top spots in the organic search…until last week. Totally gone now. So be VERY, VERY careful. Dump the squeeze pages and long-form sales letters…or you are at risk of getting banned.”
Refocus your efforts on providing value. Consider paying more to have quality content created if you decide to hire freelance writers. By investing value, you’re sure to get value in return and you’ll become one of the marketers who actually benefit from the changes in Google’s algorithm, as well as any other changes in the SEO world.
As for publishing on article marketing sites, these sites will be forced to tighten their standards if they want to stay in the game. Keep your standards high as well, and you’ll have no problem adapting and determining where to build links and where to publish your content.
Most importantly, stay informed about what it’s going to take to create a well-optimized site and to remain competitive in the online marketplace. You can start by signing up for a step by step SEO mini-course which will be delivered to your email box over the next six days. To get started, simply fill in your email below.
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More Reading on Social Media, Content Marketing and the Future of SEO
Social Media Marketing vs. SEO: Which Will be More Important?
Content Creation Tips and Strategies
5 Reasons Why Fresh Content is Critical to Your SEO