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Link-builders versus content marketers

Like Reese’s, link-builders and content marketers need to combine forces because they’re two great tastes that taste great together. Link-builders tend to be more left brain — technical, logical, analytical, and objective — while content marketers tend to be more right-brain — creative, artistic, intuitive, thoughtful, and subjective.

Link Builders are from Mars, Content Marketers are from Venus.

Without the content marketers and copywriters, there’s no there there. Without copy, there’s no text, and without text, Google’s blind. Without well-written, high-quality, descriptive and easily-understandable copy, link-builders tend to compensate by doing keyword research and writing clunky-but-functional hooks that used to work well enough luring the bots, spiders, and indexing agents. And, content marketers generally suck at distribution. And self-promotion. And shamelessness. And even optimizing copy for both online consumption and index comprehension. The content marketers love to write but often are lost deep in the technology behind the scenes whereas link-builders can go to town on tracks of copy and content but don’t actually want to write all that content themselves, especially if that commitments required needing to write new a few times a week–forever.

Reeses_Peanut_Butter_Cups_Commercial_1972-500x378Circa 2014, organic search engine optimization is going to need both link-building and content marketing strategies and tactics in order to get, and keep, Google’s attention. In fact, you will probably need to hire an information architect, a copywriter, and a community manager, too.

Google is becoming a Turing test for organic search. In the past, the test wasn’t hard. Now, Google’s tightening the screws. In some ways, Google is slowly implementing the online equivalent of United States Citizenship and Immigration ServicesE-Verify. The only way Google can do this is by making it harder and harder to make it to the first page of Google search if you insist on maintaining anonymity, that part of Google’s background check requires that some or all of the folks responsible for each site are “validated.” However, Google’s almost never throws babies out with the bath water; and when it does, it tends to roll back or revise algorithm updates that go too far and diminish the quality of the search results instead of improve them. As a result, Google’s been caught in a lot of untruths and lies by omission.

In other words, Google tells us what they want us to believe — sort of like parents who want you to get straight As (but who would really just be happy if you could somehow just pass). Everything that Google says officially about its search algorithm is just classic misinformation.

I don’t trust anything that Google tells me about search. One thing I do know is that Google loves it when you spend money on contextual advertising. That’s true. Another truth is that Google really wants us to use Google+. Really badly.

ReesesCommercialAnd Google has a dynamic tension between its goals and its slogan, “don’t be evil,” and needs to ride the fine line between the misinfo and disinfo required by a the command and control regimen required to maintain a $344.7B publicly-traded company in order, all the while still keeping Google’s culture in line with what people expect, as in not being evil.

However, I have long considered Google disingenuous when it comes to how their search index algorithm works when it comes to whether or not meta tags, alt tags, keywords, descriptions, page rank, and inbound links still carry influence.

The long and short of it: it all matters!

hqdefaultGoogle just wants us to spend less time trying to game the system, a system that can still be gamed if you pour enough raw resources, intellect, agility, creativity, and craft into the game, and more time feeding it what it wants, which is simple: useful content fast.

All the ingredients are still in the Google Pie, though in varying proportions over time. Google used to be indiscriminate, sucking down sites as quickly and as often as possible. It was hard enough to keep sucking, slurping, digesting, indexing, and serving up pages as near-real-time speeds. Now, Google’s been better able to map out the interrelationships not only between sites but also within sites.

In much the same way that Google used to favor .org sites and still do .gov and .edu, or how Google used to really care about how old your domain was as an indicator of maturity and reliability, Google now is starting to favor your online community involvement: are you popular, are you timely, are you social, are you generous, are you consistent, and are you integrated?

Google is indiscriminate when it comes to where in the network your site exists. It understands context, interconnection, history, and the way organic systems actually do grow over time–rather than the way inauthentic, false, spammy networks tend to behave. Real growth is slow–fake growth is is too time-, money-, and resource-conscious to waste any time. Inauthentic networks of sites and links tend to rush, then tend to explode over a weekend or a couple weeks, as though produced in a movie set by a cast of thousands, and then, when they’re built, they tend to show the sort of predictable  pattern indicative of clockwork, of automated systems.

More deus ex machina than the messiness stops and starts — the random seeds — of the human touch. Batch process and blind watchmaker versus the messy expansions and contractions so indicative of human creativity.

What’s more, it seems obvious that Google has the resources and the archive to check your homework against all other historical content (maybe ever produced) to see whether you’re pulling too much of a Rand Paul by just plagiarizing all of your content from other sites or taking a large tract of content and having robots and scripts mix and match them into something entirely new but still suffering the traces of other people’s work, of their words.

Google’s way too smart for you to get away with cheating. If a simple high school English teacher can run her student’s essays through a plagiarism-checker before awarding grades, don’t you think Google is always checking our work?

So, if you spend all your money on techies then you’re not spending enough money on creating new content, new words, new essays, new resources for Google to offer to its users.

Google’s lying to us aspirationally. Google is on a vision quest to make us better-trained at offering more and better content on their behalf but also up to their standards as well. They want us, on our own and out of our own treasure, talent, time, to give us Google-quality content: original, useful, educational, informational, wise, accurate, truthful, entertaining, but also quick, optimized, responsive, and also perfectly-rendered on any device.

Lacking that, Google will always go around you — or so someone else.

If you don’t feed Google what it wants, Google will choose Google+, Yelp, Wikipedia, or the news instead of you, your products, and services.

And, if the current trends can be read into the future, the noose is tightening.

While the current crop of SEO specialists (who are often closer to black hat no matter what their websites state) are still well worth their paychecks — at least for now — why not spend a little more time hiring story tellers, strategists, designers, writers, and artists to better convey what you’re about, how you’re different, and why Google’s users would be better served to visit you than some “better” site that Google made on your behalf, if you’re lucky, or your competitors’ superior sites, if you’re not.

Feel free to email me at chris@gerr.is or call me at +1 202-351-1235

Learn more about Chris Abraham at Gerris digital.

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Chris Abraham

Chris Abraham

Chris Abraham, digital strategist and technologist, is a leading expert in digital: search engine optimization (SEO), online relationship management (ORM), Internet privacy, Wikipedia curationsocial media strategy, and online public relations with a focus on blogger outreachinfluencer engagement, and Internet crisis response, with the digital PR and social media marketing agency Gerris digital. [Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call with me] A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and adviser to the industries' leading firms. Chris Abraham specializes in web technologies, including content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.  Chris Abraham was named a Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer by Forbes, #1 PR2.0 Influencer by Traackr, and top-10 social media influencers by Marketwire; and, for what it’s worth, Chris has a Klout of 79 the last time he looked. Chris Abraham started doing web development back in 1994, SEO in 1998, blogging in 1999, influencer engagement in 2003, social media strategy in 2005, blogger outreach in 2006, and Wikipedia curation in 2007. Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call. If you want to know the services that Chris offers check out Services If you want to work with Chris use the Contact Form You're welcome to follow me via Social Media You can learn more about Chris over in About Chris writes a lot so check out the Blog Chris offers webinars so check Events

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