Google’s has tremendous impact on the World Wide Web and the business done on it. Every action taken on the web by website owners today is done keeping Google’s expectations in mind. Where does that put the other search engines? Well, the harsh truth is that while search engines like Yahoo and Bing are popular, this popularity doesn’t even come close to the support enjoyed by Google. If you are talking about search, you are talking about Google. There are no two ways about it. Every piece of content written for the web and ever online marketing activity performedis done, keeping Google in mind. Nobody can change this fact.
2013 will be the year of a very different Google; it will be the year of Web 3.0, powered by Google through three important functions – Content Marketing, SEO and Social Media. One can get a clear idea of what such a web environment will look like and its scale and scope, by taking a closer look at these three online functions.
There was a time in to the not too distant past that the use of ‘content marketing’ and ‘social media’ played second fiddle to SEO in terms of their respective contribution to improving website rankings. But, with the release of Google Penguin and Panda updates, Google has adopted a more revolutionary role in the web environment. It wants to champion the cause of quality content and by doing so improve search quality. It wants to give importance to people who write useful content; it wants people to interact with each other by sharing links, and it wants webmasters to practice ethical SEO.
With the immense and ever increasing user base of Google, it will be safe to say that Google is the new World Wide Web and the World Wide Web is Google. Add to that Google’s focus on quality and you have a situation wherein, in the near future, web users will use the term ‘using Google’ and ‘using the web’ synonymously.
Google’s changing the way webmasters think and it’s also ensuring that the users not only expect but also get more from the World Wide Web.
As we mentioned right at the beginning, this change is being facilitated by the three musketeers, namely content marketing, SEO and Social Media.
Let’s take a look at each one in isolation and see how they are powering the Web 3.0 revolution.
Content Marketing – Relevant Brand Building
Content marketing is not a new phenomenon. It was commonly used to build links, for e.g. article submissions to article directories was and still remains a commonly used method for building links. This is just one of the many activities that encompass content marketing.
But, contemporary content marketing is not just a means of building links, but also building brand authority and credibility.
Content marketing gives you an opportunity to share free and valuable content to build links and attract visitors; convert visitors into paying customers and convert these customers into repeat customers. Forget the ‘free’ part for a moment, and focus on ‘links’. When you are marketing valuable content you are building links by forging relationships; you want to connect with the right people (prospects who you have a better chance of converting into your customers) who look at your business or its website as a source for getting the information they are looking for.
Remember, in today’s times, the profile that you are marketing your content with, is quickly associated with your business. Market useful content and it positively impacts your business’s credibility; on the other hand if you don’t make sure that you offer quality content, your business’s reputation takes a big hit.
This article on a content marketing strategy for 2013, give insights on what your content marketing strategy should look like this year.
Nobody said getting high rankings on Google’s SERPs was easy and with Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, it’s become even more difficult. Natural link building is now the focus of attention and its content marketing that is emerging at the forefront of the quality link building efforts of webmasters.
Webmasters are increasingly focusing on writing interesting articles that people will actually like reading. That’s because, as attention focuses on quality, people will only link to articles that showcase quality, relevancy and value addition.
Already, a user is searching for information that only meets the highest standards of quality; that’s because they know that such information is readily available now, and they don’t have to search high and low for quality information that is helpful for their needs and requirements. They pay scant attention to low quality content, so why would anybody link to it.
Quality is the driving force behind present-day content marketing, and this is what web 3.0 is all about.
Quality, breeds quality, and this will be the defining nature of next generation web experiences.
Social Media – Your Brand Goes Viral
A few years ago, the phrases social media and search were never taken in the same breath. There was very little to correlate the two. But, today, Google is taking a close hard look at your interactions on social media, and considering them as a ranking factor. This SEOmoz article on A Brief History of social signals for SEO will give you an idea about social media and its impact on SEO.
The use of social media to get a high rank on Google’s SERPs is taking off in a big way. But, to look at the use of social platforms only through the prism of Google’s rankings will be wrong, to say the least. The use of these platforms has improved web based communications and has allowed businesses to interact with their target customers at a more personal level.
Imagine, customers can now interact with the director of a company! Isn’t that something that is truly revolutionary? The impact that such interactions and others have on Google’s rankings have actually fuelled the growth of social media. More and more businesses now have a presence on social media and this isn’t just because of the presence’s impact on their rankings.
A presence on social media helps you market your content to a target audience through demographic segmentation. You can createcontent that targets a particular segment based on their likes and dislikes, interests and preferences; and you can then make sure that you share this content with this target segment; this ensures they will read it.
Let’s just say that the emergence of social media has also had an impact on the marketing of content. Your content has a better chance of going viral now, of course, provided that its good content. Again, the operative world is ‘valuable content.
Think about it this way. Social interactions are now fuelling the growth of the web. As somebody who wants to leverage the maximum potential of the World Wide Web for business benefits, you need to participate in activities that don’t self-promote, but one’s which offer information in such a way that target audiences want to interact with you.
Share-worthy content is what empowers your social media interactions. Content that is shareable helps build natural links and this is what Google wants.
So, social media, content marketing, and Google form that unbreakable link that in other words is web 3.0; this article on Search and Social: What Marketers Need to Know about the Changing Landscape, takes an in-depth look into how the use of social media is impacting search results. It’s a must read.
SEO – The Foundation of Successful Website Branding
The growing importance of content marketing and the widening acceptance of social media as a communication platform of choice, has all the hallmarks of a revolution; but this doesn’t mean that you can ignore the basics of SEO. After all, Google’s insistence on quality SEO is not a new demand. It was made earlier as well, right from the start; but we had been ignoring its calls to make the Web a better place for its users.
We weren’t very worried when we bought links, created links farms, over optimized content and submitted a single article across hundreds of article directories. That’s because Google didn’t take offence then, but it is taking more than an offence now.
Its penalizing sites that aren’t subscribing to its quality guidelines, and there is a many a webmaster who is cursing the day he took the easy way out and suffering today, as a result. Content marketing and social media have provided them with a way out and a shot at redemption.
Most have started using social media as a means of improving brand awareness and reputation by sharing links to quality content written with an aim to ‘help’ the user. This, as we have been repeatedly telling through the article, helps build natural links, which is the life blood of every SEO campaign.
The Word Wide Web is like a sea of blue links, each connected to the other with content. But, this content is becoming even more interactive, more engaging and all the more useful. Businesses are no longer using SEO as means of achieving high rankings on SERPs but also as a means of improving their reputations and managing their brands.
SEO has transformed itself from a single minded purpose of improving rankings in search engine page results to something far bigger. This article by Neil Patel, on theState of SEO – What’s Working Now, gives an idea of the major transformations in SEO between then and now.
SEO is now more of a brand building exercise, than anything else. On page optimization, is still important; but it’s off page optimization that seems to be making more of an impression. It is something that is contributing majorly to Web 3.0 and the future of the Web.
Add up the activities, techniques, methodologies and benefits of content marketing, social media and SEO and you have Molotov cocktail of profitable and highly personal web oriented interactions. Last year, I had come across this article on The Death of SEO: The Rise of Social, PR, and Real Content. It was a very prophetic article then and very relevant now. However, I don’t think content and social media will spell the death knell for SEO. It will still be here and it will keep transforming itself to suit the changing requirements of businesses and the web users.
But, having said that I believe SEO as it exists today will slowly disappear and in its place will emerge a robust, a more user oriented process that brings together the very best of SEO, content marketing and social media to offer the Web 3.0 experience.
The way we are connecting with each other on the Web is changing as we speak. The reason I am writing this content, the reason why you are reading it, and more importantly, the way you have come across it, is something that we had never thought about, say, even one year ago. When we talk about web 3.0, it’s not just new technologies that are determining what it looks and feel like. What is defining web 3.0 is the fact that everybody including developers, designers, webmasters, SEO experts, social media professionals, content specialists and the users are all stakeholders in it. Even if one of them fails to do their job properly, the web experience that we are looking forward to falls flat.
There is no doubt about it. Content marketing + SEO + Social Media, is what is making the world go round today. The fact that this combination is bettering the life of people searching for information means it’s going to work in the future as well. Google’s popularity and its role in crafting the web 3.0 experience with the support of the three musketeers, is going to be a talking point for days to come.