Are You Listening to THIS Web Content Advice? DON’T

Guy yelling into one end of a tin can phoneThe Google Panda/Farmer algorithm update that was installed in late February, did have an effect on web content. That’s a fact that cannot be disputed. How much of an affect will only be measured over time and once we shut up about it or stop obsessing over it. (one of the biggest effects has been the publicity!)

Anyone who’s anyone in the SEO and web content marketing world has chimed in on it. (It’s fun to chew the cud with the crowd, toss your hat into the ring if you’re an online professional, be seen as an “authority,” and otherwise make noise, but let’s be honest– the topic is equal part SEO >> it draws traffic). There are survival guides out there, there are posts and advice on what to do about it.  There are a lot of recommendations that follow the “don’t do this or that” model (ie., Top 10 SEO Copy Mistakes — since Panda/Farmer update). I’ve paraphrased, but you get my drift.  This is my bone to pick. “Don’t do this,” is easy. What’s not so easy is to actually apply some brain power to the matter and propose instead to your clients and visitors reasons why they should still be doing these things.

To borrow a “page” from Seth Godin–NOT doing is the real mistake. thppppppt!

(rant over.)

One popular belief has it that since Panda/Farmer…

Online press releases have lost their juice in the search results–“news” that’s relevant for SEO, brand-building, authority-building, and link building pursuits.

So, why continue to push web content into those markets?

Wrong advice #1: “Stop using online press releases.”

First, that advice is thought-less. The Panda/Farmer update is largely about differentiating between quality original content and the worst of the crap sucking up valuable Page Rank. Some press release sites, yes, welcome submission of almost any kind of garbage. However, some put submitted press releases through an editorial review before they are accepted and distributed/promoted. So, if the above BAD advice were true then why do PRWEb and 24-7 Press Release sites’ traffic patterns look like this?

(Note: the algorithm update went into effect in the U.S. late in February. You can read the post from the Official Google Blog. Sites that have reported big impacts were already feeling the heat by March 1, which is relevant info for the graph below.)

PRWEB traffic stats (Compete.com)

PRWEB traffic stats from compete.com

24-7PressRelease.com traffic stats (Compete.com)

24-7 Press Release traffic stats graph from Compete.com

Second, maybe the Google Panda/Farmer update disrupted the general search results ecosystem, but there are many other ways online customers and readers are choosing to get content, including online press releases:

  • Google Alerts: Anyone can set up a customized alert that shows up in their email inbox when a new mention of their keywords/phrases/search query appears in News results. These often include press releases.
  • Google News: Integrated news results include all types of news sources, including press release distribution sites like Follow news item button from Google NewsPRWeb, PRNewswire, and MarketWire. Now with the added ability to “Follow xxx news.”
  • Curated content: appears as little “related content,” “more information,” and the like on many websites and blogs, but links to similar content on other sites.

image of Google News results page

The one caveat for online press release distribution sites is that those that “guarantee” quality distribution and can prove it, now charge even for a basic release distribution. It’s up to you to decide if this remains a valuable use for your web content as a marketing and SEO strategy, not some guy trying to make a headline that drives blog readers for the day.

Anyone telling you to stop doing something with your web content b/c of this update is downright wrong, or at the very least putting wooden-headed, incomplete information out there. Quality content, regardless of where you choose to put it, will continue to be a valuable commodity on the web.

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