Gaming Google or Content MarketingO.K., I’ll confess right now that I began my foray into the world of SEO by trying to figure out how to earn ranking without really deserving it. Honestly, I didn’t even know how to say that about myself at first. I just thought marketing worked like that! High quantities of content, stuffing keywords, over-optimizing my descriptions, using domain names to nail a high position in SERPs, etc. Hey, I didn’t even KNOW what “black hat” meant!

Black Hat? White Hat? Gaming Google or Good Stuff for Readers?

So I’m not trying to say I’m above the game! But I’ve completely moved away from it, and don’t really want to ever move back! I now work for a company that is committed to producing high quality, long lasting results for our clients, and I’m learning what everyone else out there is learning: it’s better and even EASIER to just produce top-notch stuff, and let your ranking by Google to take care of itself.

Just look at these two posts, in the same week, by Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Round table.

Article #1 – Google Cracks Down on Low Quality “Web Directory” tactics.

The first one reveals that some poor guy is complaining about being penalized by Google for his “Web Directory” that is apparently loaded with a lot of lightweight content (i.e. low quality). Barry graciously summarizes by saying, “Starting a directory? Think twice!”

Article #2 – Lots of buzz about a possible upcoming Algo Update by Google

The next article alerts us to lots of buzz and hints that Google is going to update the EMD or Panda or something! Again, a shout out to Barry for keeping us all up to speed on these things. I learn a LOT from Barry’s alerts and analysis.

But don’t you all see what’s happening here? If marketers (not sure what to call ‘em) come up with a better way to develop a short cut to non-authentic search ranking, then what’s Google supposed to do? Yes; they’re supposed to come up with innovative changes to their algorithms in order to block the short cut! In other words, it’s their job to keep you from gaming them! So as soon as they update their algorithm, all the effort that went into gaming Google just swirls down the toilet!

I, for one, am through with it! It’s just not worth all the work. Google has a few more assets than I have, and besides, I’m actually enjoying working more strategically to create high quality content that actually answers customers’ questions and adds value to them in the areas that they’re looking for it. Yeah, this takes work too. Lots of it! But guess what: Google (and all their assets) will be working to protect that kind of work, rather than working to expose and penalize it. Not a bad deal, eh?

What do you think? Should content marketing be an effort to game Google, and get your company’s name onto Page 1 through lots of artificial fluff? Or should content marketing be an effort to deliver answers and meet needs of customers so that they connect with you, trust you, and eventually take advantage of your products and services.

It’s up to you, but I know which way I’m rolling.