How is Link Building Doing?

A few charts from Google Trends over regarding a few search terms within the industry

Past 12 months of searches for “link building”.

link building

Looks pretty stable.
What about over a longer time period?

link building

Looks like it peaked in 2012, and now back to 2009. Seems stable the last 12 months though.

Content marketing seems to be the latest buzzword, but surely that’s a word only the gurus use?

link building

But whatever happened to “social media marketing”, surely that’s old stuff right now and no one searches for it?

link building

Nope! Social media marketing is kicking link building’s ass. But don’t they know that links = higher rankings in the Google results page. Well perhaps people have a perception that social media is far more important than ranking in Google. That may or may not be the case, but for what people are actually searching for. For “social media marketing”, computer says yes.

So does that mean the fragrant and effervescent social media department are crushing the Ben Sherman shirt wearing SEO types?

link building

SEO for the terms of these charts still beats all the other terms into the ground? Does this mean that it’s not dead. Of course it does, but you never thought that anyway, did you?
Does this mean that you should pile everything into SEO and let the social media marketing department more time to play on Snapchat? Probably not, there may be an issue with SEO being highly definable whilst numerous other terms could be used for social media marketing and content marketing.

What I think it does mean is that the SEO engineer should be secure in their employment, ensuring them to invest further in their wardrobe of Ben Sherman shirts.

The Magnificence of Creating Content on the Web

Cornwall sunset

From my twitter feed, earlier today.

Content creators take nothingness and fill the void.

How cool if you fill the void with a special kind of wonderful

Content creators taking nothingness and fill the void.
How cool if you fill the void with a special kind of wonderful

Especially in SEO, when grinding it out.
We forget the magnificence of human communication.

I am looking to start 2015 out differently.

With a different attitude to creating content.

We tend to allow the act of creating content to become too mechanical, feeding only the Google bot. Rather than seeing it for what it is, the magnificence of communication between one human being and another or between one human being and many.

I fully realise how “hippy dippy” and hopelessly idealistic that may sound. But think about that for a moment if you do not fear the path it will take you down.

The level of human communication we now have is staggering.

The quality of that communication is something that as a content creator, I take direct responsibility for.

Remember, if you Tweet, Facebook, blog, etc. you too are a content creator.

This year is my year of training others. I am making myself available to share what I know, teach what I have done, to coach, motivate, direct those who want to take their content creation to a higher level.

2015 is going to be about Total Availablity

I will come to your office
I will come to your conference
I will write for your audience
I will Skype, Hangout, Facebook, Connect to your crowd

 

I’m going in
100%

Let me know if you want some of that.

You can email me lyndon@cornwalseo.com
You can Tweet me lyndoman
You can Facebook me
You can Google+ me
You can Linkedin me

Lets make 2015 Magnificent

Using the News to help with Content Marketing and SEO

Frustrated blogger

Knowing what to blog about, to create content about every day is a bit of a task. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible. Of course you need content that works rather than the filler that most other blogs and websites churn out. You need to create content for people rather than the Google bot.

One effective way to keep the content ideas fresh, is to create content around the news.

The news has a few things going for it from a content marketers perspective.

  • It changes every day
  • People talk about it on social media
  • People hunger for more detail about a specific news story
  • Not all news is bad, negative or depressing

There are many examples of succesful content marketers surfing this news wave every day. It’s not exactly newsjacking, that’s another thing, but it is using that jump off point of the news to further the narrative.

Examples of last week include fly tipping in Essex, the latest Kim Kardashian story (remember your content is competing with Kim Kardashian’s Ass), Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Halloween, and lets not forget Star Wars.

Black Friday was interesting, especially in the UK. There were a large number of people in the “megh” camp, who just couldn’t be bothered to get excited about saving money on a bargain. And even in Cornwall the excitement was in the barely bothered camp.

I talked to traders about this, Bakery 46 and Near and Far Nepalese Clothing and Bakery 46 both said it was pretty much like any other Friday and not much difference. You may argue that such small traders cannot climb onto the Black Friday wagon, but there there is news there is content marketing opportunities and small traders can absolutely benefit from a relatively cheap form of marketing.

Image source

Should going Whitehat be an ethical decision or a Business decision?

White hat SEO
First published 2011

To Go White Hat or Black Hat SEO is not an ethical decision it’s a business decision

The aim of the white hat seo is to unnaturally manipulate the Google results page in their favour. The aim of the black hat seo is exactly the same.

Where it differs is the white hat keeps within the Google guidelines and the black hat does not.

Therefore it is inaccurate to call the black hat unethical as it is absurd to allow an American Corporation whose legal obligation is to its share holders to define what is ethical and what is not ethical behaviour.

It is not an ethical decision to employ black hat techniques, or white hat. It is a business decision.

Sometimes I use what is erroneously called black hat techniques, sometimes I use white hat. I use what works.

What works is defined by how Google works.

I would have no problem being 100% whitehat if blackhat made little business sense.

When I realised that many seo agencies who publicly said they were whitehat but were ranking by employing blackhat techniques I realised it wasn’t about slavishly following what Matt Cutts told us to do, in fact in some niches if you follow the Google guidelines you will lose.

When well known newspapers sell links for thousands of pounds with impunity you have to ask, what exactly is going on here?

I don’t do paid links as I have other skills which I can use. But I have to compete against sites which do buy links. I have no problem with that per se, but why doesn’t Google level the playing field.

Unload the dice and make the buying of links in line with the Terms of Service. Because right now it’s the big boys which can get away with buying links whilst the small guy is terrified of getting caught.

Now that is what I call unethical.

Image source

Why we should Create High Quality Content?

Who decides what is quality content?

In a post panda World, low quality content no longer cuts the mustard. It’s the high quality stuff that Google now requires when deciding where to rank your website.

This refers to both the content on your web site and the content on the websites linking to you.

Quality web content can be defined along the following terms:

  • It attracts and persuades a person to link to it for no other reason than to cite the information.
  • It attracts and persuades a person to share it on social media for no other reason than to show the information to others.

It is the intent within these two statements that is fundamental.

It is human action or reaction that defines what is or isn’t quality. Action regardless of any other factor than the content itself.

This is what we would call social proof or more accurately human proof. By it’s very nature it cannot be manipulated in the same way a search engine algorithm can be.

To be able to accurately quantify web content, the content that must be the sole influencer.

The human signal remains pure and is the product of each individual who makes the decision to create each social signal they produce.

It can of course be mimicked by software designed to act like humans, although such software is unable to replicate the nuance and detail which human social signals produce. We see this in software designed to inflate social media accounts such as Twitter, Pinterest etc. Although they aid to give some signal, it is one of very low quality and easily identified.

The human social signal can also bought. In large offshore setups, low paid workers toil in Internet factories creating social signals to order for clients to gain advantage in search engine rankings. Similar offshore factories already exist to build links in forums, blog comments etc.

Thus, the human social signal is noisy and contaminated and if Google is not able to identify and isolate the manipulated social signal then Google’s search engine rankings can be manipulated regardless of the quality of the content.

We may be seeing evidence that Google has somehow factored in a way to quantify the veracity of the social signal. I only have anecdotal evidence and is an educated guess, but it is the only way to determine whether the social signal is worth listening to. And also Google does give us clues on the direction of how their search engine is going to work.

It has gone beyond Google simply listening to the social signal, all social signals must now be quantified if they are to be of any use and authorship is one way to do this. If Google knows who wrote the article and who is responding to the article it can in someway more accurately predict the quality of the social signal.

For example, if an SEO agency writes an article and someone else calls it “Awesome”, that is a signal. But if Google then works out that the person works for the SEO agency, or constantly calls the content which the SEO agency produces “Awesome”, then the signal needs to be quantified to be accurate.

I have noticed this behavior on Twitter and it feeds into my study of the tribal psychology that exists on Twitter and social media. A certain website will release an article, its immediate employees respond in an unnaturally hyped up fashion, the approbation cascades down to partner companies and individuals seeking attention and validation from association.

Sometimes the content is excellent, sometimes it is mediocre and yet the same applause emanates from the same individuals creating a never ending stream of hype. It is only when the content is viewed by dispassionate readers that we are able to assess its true quality and quantify it. Therefore if Google were to determine the quality of the content it would have to apply a filter to those who express relentless, sycophantic adoration.

If Google knows who is initiating the social signal it will be able to build an algorithm around the data it knows about the signal. If it knows the author and if they have given their data to the Google database voluntarily or not then the Company can perform a correct quantification of the social signal and even the link signal if it comes from a website or webpage soley in the control of the the author.

Therefore, we may be seeing a way that Google has accurately determined which is quality content and also which are quality links.

It may even determine that if the author is not in their database their signal cannot be correctly quantified and must be treated accordingly.

This may already be happening with the data Google has in its database from its G+ system. It may that this so called “social network” is not a social network at all, but more of a way for Google to acquire an accurate human social signal in relation to web content

In conclusion, it is essential that websites continue to produce high quality content, defined by the viewer who is independent of any benefits which may come to the website which hosts the content.

The content must be judged by the reaction of those outside of the tribe if it is to be regarded as high quality or not.