You may have heard, Penguin 2 has arrived, and I think many of us would agree its been a bit of mixed bag. Some people got hit reasonably badly, with many suggesting it had little impact at all. What we have seen is a slightly drawn out rollout of the update, with many significant changes still being reported by the day. We can therefore with certainty say that Google is taking link spam seriously – and if a recent tweet from Matt Cutts is anything to go by, updates such as Penguin are going to become better and better.
That’s certainly good news for many and we are certainly seeing a significant mindset changes for many in the way we are thinking about SEO and in particular link acquisition and social media integration. However there has been a number of interesting side effects of the whole focus from Google on “cleaning” up the link profile
One of these has been a move from SEO to Content marketing. Organisations such as Kevin Gibbons BlueGlass UK have been very successfully in getting people to think more about content as the fundamental aspect of the SEO strategies – and how they leverage those to gain keyword coverage and share of voice in the organic search landscape. Many other organisations have followed – and even many traditional organic search agencies have migrated their SEO strategies to reflect this framework in one or another fashion.
The holistic search perspective can only be good. SEO’s are thinking about video, imagery, PR and how to maximise coverage of their content, much as many other channels such as PR have done for a while. Siloed content for meantime can work – but I think one would be foolish to think there is any longevity to relying on such strategies as a long term objective and continue to generate the success you have received in the past
One only has to look at how the modern landscape is different to that of say 10 years ago. 10 Years ago, many modern social networks were in their infancy, if not an apple in their teenage creators eye. Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest all either non-existant or early stages to say the least. Fast forward 10 years – and we have multiple signals to base content authority on. Simple website citations are no longer the overriding consideration of potential authority – and one would again be remiss to consider that any search engine looking to objectively understand authority/interest and interest is not going consider social signals as a potential and considerable part of that equation. That % may at the moment be quite small – but we’re definitely going there. Social signals and behavioural analysis is the future and we as search engine marketeers are going to have to embrace that
There has also been the rise of the removal companies – many of which do some great work. However what does concern me is that many of these are no more than opportunists looking for a quick buck in an environment where many organisations are now coming to terms with dramatic drops in rankings. Don’t get me wrong there are some fantastic tools and fantastic organisations now operating in this space, but at times it does appear to be a wild west with little consideration to solving the long term issues of client sites – and it was interesting to see from a number of presentations at Sascon the number of people affected by Penguin 1 coming back into scope after improvement for Penguin 2.
That crossroads is here, some old school techniques still work well – image links for example appear to be working wonderfully and bypassed much of this Penguin updates for many sites. However that is a very short term way of looking at things, and building a more robust approach to SEO centering on building great content would certainly be the considered way to move forward. However all of us have bossees and clients to report into , many of whom do not want to wait for that to occur, or are willing to take the necessary risks to achieve short term objectives. At the end of the day its that propensity to risk that’s going to be the overriding factor. Short termism does work (just look at payday loans ) but be prepared for the long term fallout.