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April 23, 2013

What Does Google Really Want from Content Marketers?

These days, just about everyone is going on and on about how important content marketing is, but what exactly does that mean? How can you please your human readers and the search engine spiders all at the same time?
Part of it involves some good ol’ fashioned common sense — like publishing content that offers more facts than fluff and staying away from keyword stuffing. Beyond that, here’s what Google really wants from content marketers:

1. Guest posting done the right way
According to a video posted in October 2012, Matt Cutts (the head of Google’s Web spam team) says that submitting guest posts to different websites is a great idea. However, it’s only worthwhile if you’re “someone who writes really well and has something to say.” That means you’ve got to bring your A-game every time and look at guest posting as a way to connect with readers — not just a way to gain links.

And, of course, if you’re thinking about spinning your guest posts or publishing posts on any ol’ site, don’t bother. Those tactics haven’t worked in a long time. Instead, look for authority sites in your niche that are going to surround your posts with other high-quality content. In fact, Cutts says if you’re a good writer, the good blogs should be happy to have you.

2. Web content that people are inspired to share
Really want to know how Google judges content? Here’s a hint — it has at least a little bit to do with social networking. After all, if Google didn’t think that social networking was a big deal, it never would have bothered to create Google+. Luckily, by publishing great content on your own site (or on someone else’s site like we talked about above), you’ll have plenty of people “liking” it, tweeting it, pinning it, and +1ing it.
However, this means that you’ve got to actually build relationships with your readers. If you write content that treats people like nothing more than a money tree, don’t expect them to share it.

3. Websites that are a treasure trove of knowledge
These days, Google’s definition of “Web spam” is sites with low-quality content or those that are simply too thin on content altogether. Remember, it’s up to Google to provide results that offer legitimate answers and solutions for its searchers. So, if your Web content doesn’t do that, don’t expect to find yourself at the top of the search results.

4. A continuing focus on “the animals”
If you think that algorithm changes like Panda and Penguin are sooo 2012, you’re going to be awfully unhappy in 2013 and beyond.

Panda is still rolling along, getting tweaked and updated every couple of months. As for Penguin, a major update is coming sometime this year. In fact, Cutts said during his panel discussion at SMX West that it will be one of the most talked-about algorithm changes of the year.

Its goal? Cutts has talked about making advancements in Penguin that could enable it to penalize sites that have 50 percent spam. Considering that the older versions of Penguin have only been able to penalize sites that have 80 percent spam, this would be a huge step – and one that would leave lots of site owners scrambling. If you don’t want to be one of them, it’s time to give some serious thought to your content marketing efforts.


Nicole Beckett is neither a penguin nor a panda — but she knows how to create great Web content. In fact, the entire team at Premier Content Source prides itself on taking clients’ content marketing efforts to new levels.

14 Responses to “What Does Google Really Want from Content Marketers?

    I agree with your points posting good quality and unique content really makes a difference and people love to read and share it along. Moreover one thing that one should always focus upon is to do some good market research before start posting as posting what people like is really an important part.

    avatar Shilpi Roy says:

    Brilliant post. The last point is the eye-catcher of the post ” A continuing focus on “the animals”. Great share.

    avatar Adam says:

    It’s surprising how frequently people forget the mission that Google has which is to provide users with good relevant content based on their query. You can have all the inbound links you want, but is your content any good?

    We can mess around with link building and meta data all we want but it’s pointless if we don’t have useful interesting content. The one main rule to stick to is making great content, a lot of the other pieces should fall into place over time (sharing, following etc)but it all starts with great content.

    Thanks for the kind words, everyone! 🙂

    Adam — it really *is* that simple! But, yes, so many people get caught up in the “aura” of Google that they forget Google is a company that has its own job to do.

    Executive — You’re so right. It isn’t good enough to publish content that’s great. You also need it to be exactly what your target audience is looking for!

    avatar Parag Patel says:

    I like this post. really nice and simple tips for content marketers.

    avatar Barb says:

    Good content and meta data that are relevant to each other wins hands down even without linking, which I prefer to be natural.

    Don’t forget internal linking. Visitors should be able to get to any page of a site from all pages of that site.

    Last but certainly not least, employing pure organic white hat will keep algorithm changes at bay. No worries about sore feet from tripping the night fantastic during the infamous Google dance.

    avatar patrickf says:

    I’m struggling with my content, and I was wondering if it is wise to put in “Radical” articles along with “Web Designing Tips”, and “Small Biz Talk”. I regularly add new articles typically bi-weekly.
    Does this diversity affect my ability to attract visitors?
    http://www.patrickwebdesign.com/blog

    Barb, you couldn’t have summed up the white hat part any better! Some website owners are so busy trying to trick Google — but they could actually spend the same amount of time doing things the right way!

    Patrick — if by “radical”, you mean posting stuff that’s totally off-topic, don’t. Even if it’s really well-written and really interesting, it’s not what your audience is looking for. You’re much better off establishing your expertise in one specific area, rather than writing about all kinds of random stuff because you feel like you HAVE to publish something.

    Great article!! I got nabbed by “the animals” back in 6/12, slowly coming back. Yea, Google really did a flip on us with their furry algorithms, and forced a lot of extra studying and work for all us SEOers.

    Take solace in the fact that you weren’t alone, Steve… Countless site owners faced the same problems (some very deservedly so, and some not so much). Hope you’ve been able to get your rankings back!

    avatar Jennifer says:

    Hey Nicole, an excellent post, really. I must say that when a person from the internet marketing world hears that there is a new activity on the block that is proving to be successful for the site, that person just goes out and tries the activity on like hundred sites so to say. This just results in reducing the quality and creating more spam. That is exactly what happened with Guest posting too. It was good until everybody started using it the wrong way.

    http://www.linkresearchtools.com/case-studies/pure-spam-deep-dive/

    avatar Nicole says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Jennifer!

    You’re right… Online marketers tend to go “gangbusters” on certain techniques, and devalue them in the process.

    Luckily, though, with guest blogging, YOU get to choose where you publish your content. If you want to spam the heck out of the web, you can certainly try. But if you want to limit yourself to authoritative sites in your niche (which is the RIGHT way to do guest blogging), you can do that, too! The spammers won’t be able to hurt you if you stick to quality over quantity 🙂

    Google want from content marketers to share quality content for the sake of good info not only to gain rank

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