When it comes to boosting your company website’s search ranking, gone are the days of keyword stuffing, meta-data shortcuts and copious links from shady link farms. Those formerly-essential tools of the SEO trade have been rendered useless by recent Google algorithm updates like Hummingbird, Panda and Penguin.
For online marketers who live and die by those methods, this shift has already begun to prove troublesome. As H.G. Wells said, “Adapt or perish.” SEO firms who do not reinvent themselves will certainly become dispensable to clients.
Fortunately, there is a way to stay relevant in the new era of search engine optimization (SEO). I’m not going to sugarcoat it though: the new school requires more legwork, charm and skill than the methods of yore.
Say Goodbye to Link-Building
Few industries change as often as those that are intrinsically linked to Google. What worked well yesterday has become passé today. When we first awoke to find Penguin shuffling across our browsers, we had to reassess everything we’d done and return to the drawing board.
The link and keyword quantity that had been king the day before was unceremoniously dethroned while you slept. Those people you hired to stuff keywords and drop hyperlinked signatures on random blogs had to find something else to do, as those tricks no longer had value.
Said simply, link-building is dead. And this is its obituary. Take a moment to mourn, and then keep reading to learn how to move on with your life and business.
SEO Has Been Reborn
In case you’ve become so mired in the methods of gaming the system that you’ve forgotten a search engine’s real purpose, I want to remind you that Google’s endgame is refining the search to help the user access relevant and reputable websites.
If Google ever slept, it would dream of a world without SEO, where websites become popular because of their authentic quality and naturally-resulting popularity. With each update, it’s moving closer to that dream.
If you can’t beat ‘em (and you can’t), join ‘em. Google now prizes value and high-quality content above all else. Your new job is to give online users value and quality content.
The benefit to this new trend is that it will never go out of style; no matter how many updates Google makes, you can depend on the fact that it will always reward websites that offer genuine value to users through unique and informative content. Whatever efforts you make towards those ends now will retain value forever.
The best path to the new Google is through relationships with websites that have well-established authority. In the past, a comment on a thought-leader’s blog might have given you some traction. Today, however, that little link is about as valuable as the penny. The only links that matter are ones that are attached to original content.
Obviously, writing great content and getting it accepted by a website with high standards is a lot harder and more time-consuming than dashing off a quick comment. And that’s exactly how Google wants it.
Create Valuable, SEO-worthy Content to Build Your Brand
I warned you, this is not for the faint of heart.
Maybe you’re ahead of the curve, and have already started moving in this direction. If not, though, your mind is probably reeling trying to imagine how or where to begin. I won’t insult your intelligence by implying that this is such a simple process that it can be completed in a day.
However, I can break it down into 3 digestible steps that will allow you to dive in and start the transition.
1. Hire a Quality Copywriter
Before you start pitching bloggers, newspapers and magazines great articles, make sure you can back it up. If you are not a great writer or you don’t already have one on staff, your first priority should be hiring one, either full-time or on a freelance basis.
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