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Last week Google finally announced that they would be undertaking the biggest algorithm overhaul in their relatively brief history. Forget Panda, Venice or the Brand update, this is a potential game-changer beyond anything we have ever seen. But what is it?
Semantic search has always been the theoretical target of all search engines. The ability to understand a user’s intention and provide bespoke results and information based on a single query is what Google, Bing, Yahoo and the rest have all been working towards. Now, it would appear, the theory could finally be turned into practice?
Not all businesses are blessed with endless budgets. If you’ve allocated a few hundred pounds to online marketing, or perhaps have one person in-house that deals with all promotional activities, you will always be limited in what you can do. However, even with these financial and personnel restrictions, there’s no reason why you can’t still succeed on the Internet.
Inbound links have been, are, and possibly always will be an integral part of the way search engines index websites. As a result, link building is at the very heart of SEO and has become an industry in its own right. However, what would happen if Google were to pull the plug? What if links were removed as a ranking factor entirely?
Far-fetched as it may seem, the value of links have steadily been eroded in recent years. Whether it’s the brand update, which artificially inflated businesses for their own brand name, or one of the many updates to results pages, organic results have taken a bit of a kicking.
We all have our individual perceptions and preferences when it comes to the written word. If we didn’t, there would be no need for tabloid and broadsheet newspapers to co-exist, nor indeed would it be necessary to have a shortlist for the Man Booker Prize – one publication, by a single writer would simply suffice.
What works for one person, could have quite the opposite on another. In marketing circles, the clearest demonstration of this can be found in sales copy. The same piece of content can polarise an audience, intentionally or otherwise.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an individual or a brand, influence is now king. A legion of followers can offer a wealth of opportunities, just as being a recognisable name within an industry can ensure untainted visibility on any platform you wish.
The Internet is the ultimate popularity contest. You either play the game, or you get left behind. With one wave of his Twitter wand, Stephen Fry can raise awareness of causes, channel thousands of visits to a news story, or even make a relatively unknown guitarist a star. In the same regard, big businesses need to do little more than snap up a load of domains, cobble together a decent website and wait for Google to promote them to the top.
There are some website owners who take an ‘attack or be attacked mentality’ to marketing. Others are hell bent on retaliating to bad publicity they may have received. However, just like the daily spats in the Houses of Parliament, neither party usually comes out of a slanging match unscathed.
The ‘they started it’ line of defence simply won’t wash. Airing your dirty laundry in public, either with a dismissive blog post, angry press release or ill-advised tweet, could leave your intended target looking like a victim whilst your brand is tainted. This is why positive reinforcement of your own products, services and principles should be top of your agenda.
Some brands don’t see the value in it, others are worried about stray messages damaging the company, and then there are those who simply don’t have the time. Social media marketing can be effective, but it’s not a guarantee of success. Get it right and your business can really prosper, but get it wrong and you might find yourself wasting a lot of time with very little return.
Content marketing is a term bandied around, often erroneously or without any proper understanding, as a catch-all for producing any form of content for branding or link building purposes. Whilst there is a basic truth to this oversimplification, there is much more to it than simply writing a few hundred words and uploading it the most readily available article site.
Every man and his dog are now doing content marketing, so what makes you different? What is it that will get you noticed ahead of your competitors?
This is an open letter to all search engines regarding the results provided. Sometimes, all I want is a simple answer to a simple question. However, if I’m using Google, more often than not I want them to deliver a site that can deliver the required response.
Google though is starting to act like the smart kid in class. It always has his or her hand up before the teacher has even finished the question, primed to provide an elaborate response. That’s great for basic queries, which they generally get right, but the longer the search phrase is, the more it appears to struggle.
There has been a lot of fuss about the fact that Wikipedia has achieved a first page ranking for 99% of terms (within a sample of 1,000 queries) in recent weeks. Intelligent Positioning were the first to expose this, before Econsultancy and a swarm of industry blogs jumped all over it. But what’s the problem?
To be fair, the posts I’ve mentioned and linked to here don’t explicitly suggest that this is part of a wider conspiracy to give Wikipedia an unfair advantage. But as with many SEO investigations, there is an underlying assumption that this is somehow wrong or surprising. In my opinion, it is neither.
I recently saw a Tweet, actually it may have been a Retweet, exclaiming that you should spend as much time sculpting your title as you should writing your content. Now there’s only so much that you can convey in 140 characters, so it’s difficult to tell if this was part of a wider conversation or said with the sense of irony that I interpreted it with. However, it still got me thinking.