In May, Google rolled out its Penguin 2.0 update. And although the revision to Google’s proprietary search algorithm affected only 2.3 percent of English searches, that percentage translates to 115 million English queries on a daily basis, according to Thinking Juice, a U.K.-based ad agency.
Penguin 2.0 has two critical implications. The technology giant is forcing companies, organizations, publishers, marketers, journalists, and bloggers to populate the Internet with high quality content. The search engine wants to ensure that users are rewarded with outstanding, helpful information that can be used on a practical basis.
Secondly, Google is punishing content manipulators, plagiarists, and link spammers by burying their sites into obscurity.
“Bad SEO (search engine optimization) firms spam the internet on behalf of their clients with the intention to ‘game’ the system,” says Chris Kilbourn, founder of Utah-based TOFU Marketing. He says that businesses and organizations must use “white hat” techniques and publish high quality content in order to entice prospects to visit their websites.
“These techniques include mass social bookmarking, directory submissions, blog commenting, link farming, article spinning and distribution, placing links on low-quality websites, guest posting on low quality websites, etc.,” says Kilbourn. “Some of these activities, like blog commenting for example, aren’t harmful when done naturally. If the commenter has something useful to contribute, that’s great. However, a vast majority of SEO companies are still using these spammy techniques that are hurting their clients.”
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Penguin 2.0 penalizes sites that have spam links; links gained from advertisements; and links gained from hacking other websites and embedding links into the HTML. Organizations should focus on pursuing “white hat” links from sources such as PR campaigns, content marketing, creating useful websites, and similar methods, according to Kilbourn.
Unfortunately, most corporate marketers don’t have journalistic training and are used to blasting sales content via emails and brochures. In the Internet and social media channels, however, hard sell techniques often turn visitors away with a click of the mouse. And search engines are logging the exit times and bounce rates.
Google’s move shows why traditional advertising has seen continued declines in developed markets, as companies shift their focus towards Internet marketing, social media campaigns, and mobile platforms. Marketers are viewing television, radio, and print as expensive ways of getting attention.
“Content marketing is the best way to do marketing,” says Kilbourn. “Although it provides relatively long-term results, content marketing can be cheaper, it helps with SEO, branding your company, increasing trust with your website’s visitors, forming partnerships, and more. I believe that it’s been growing so rapidly because of Google’s most recent updates forcing companies to stop spamming the internet and provide great content.”
He adds that inbound marketing “pulls willing prospects into your sales funnel- as compared to than pushing them with traditional advertising.”