After a much talked about and under-buzzed surprise guest appearance from Google’s Matt Cutts at SES San Francisco this August, many in the SEO community are already discussing rumors about the severe hit we can all expect to take from Google’s next big algorithm change.
I personally found the seminar Cutts presented us with to be enlightening and a bit of a relief. For years SEO’s and outside observers have been predicting a day of reckoning for black hat SEO. You could argue that the Panda and Penguin updates and subsequent updates have rendered useless many classic black hat SEO techniques. Fear not, my fellow link building and SEO friends.
Cutts disclosed enough information and helpful tips to keep SEO a legitimate and prosperous business for the foreseeable future, with client interest in mind. Let’s break down the actual changes we’re aware of. Theses changes will help us understand how we can develop a powerful content-based link building campaign.
Google is not the Government of the Internet. They’re a business, just like their competitors (Yahoo, Bing, and Blekko to name a few), and despite their overwhelming power, they make certain changes to increase their effectiveness and stay ahead of the curve. Google maintains a heavy interest in transparency and user input. Therefore it is not surprising that perhaps the largest change within the algorithm is the Knowledge Graph. Google: “Tom Cruise”. Go on, open a new tab and do it. At the top of your screen you’ll notice that there is a box with an image of Tom Cruise, tidbits of information about Tom Cruise (including some website sources), and other related search suggestions above the returned search results. This is Google’s Knowledge Graph at work.
The knowledge graph is in beta phase, but is steamrolling down the pipeline. It aggregates information from existing site (which is the subject of some controversy) based not on keywords, but on a new interpretation of the meanings of search terms. If the specified phrase isn’t readily interpreted for meaning, a query will pop up as to ask what the user is meaning by their search, similar to the current “Did you mean____?” result. As Matt Cutts stated: ”We’re moving from quality to knowledge.” Results will be returned however the search engine interprets the search itself. This is also being called “intent based search”.
Google wants to uncover a users intent and therefore offer you a more specific and correct answer. What this means for you? You need to ensure your SEO and link-building efforts are relevant to your niche. If you sell dog beds then you’ve got to get links and content on sites about pets, pet supplies, dog, specific dog breeds, etc… Weaving a site into its knowledge graph has a much greater chance to rank. The best way to mesh your site into its knowledge graph is with content link building.
Content Link Building
Google is ramping up the importance of genuine content more than ever before. If you build links based on useful information and informative content, your site has a greater chance to build authentic authority, which search engines love.
Many link builders are painfully learn that creating incredible content is a great way to obtain quality links, and the time put into great content equates can equate to an incredible link. Unfortunately developing great content is not an easy task.
What types of content can you develop? Content can be anything from an article, video, graphic, image, song and whatever else someone could make and share online. Content is everything. If you want great links you need to develop great content.
Very few people will hand out a link because your site is really nice. Its hard to convince someone to link to your content or to even want to post your content. If you want to try and guest post you’ll need a writer that can craft an article worthy of beating out potentially dozens of other people trying to guest post. If you article isn’t up to snuff it simply wont be posted.
To know what to make content for you’ll need to discover as much information as possible about your niche, and then have your content creators condense the material into useful and digestible content that is represented in a unique manner that other sites will want to link to or post. Search everywhere for relevant places that your sites needs to be. Remember in a world without search engines where would you get links to drive traffic? Those are usually the best and most relevant places for you to be. When you can present content that is deemed useful to a general audience, quality link building has a great environment to grow.
Get out there and dig into your niche and then creatively think about the types of content might be shared or that a specific audience might want. Weave your site into its knowledge graph by using relevant content on relevant sites. Its all about future proofing your site from the inevitable updates this means developing meaningful and real content that will earn links on relevant websites. Announcing the knowledge graph is a warning shot over the bow of black hat SEO. The smart the search gets the more powerful relevant great links will be.