January 08, 2014

Does Your Content Marketing Conflict with Google's SEO Practices?

Every business produces content with the hope that it will gain a great deal of exposure and get the word out regarding its latest products and offerings. Businesses involved in content marketing—or those considering an entrance into the field—do so with the expectation that the high-quality content being produced will move up its ranking in Google searches, a practice known as search engine optimization (SEO).

The popular website Rap Genius, which compiles song lyrics and allows users to annotate pages, was removed from Google’s top search results in late December because of what Google viewed as Rap Genius’s manipulative SEO practices.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “Google took down Rap Genius after it was revealed that the site was offering bloggers exposure through its social media accounts in exchange for links to its website on their music blogs.”

To put that in layman’s terms, Rap Genius was highlighting bloggers not based on the quality of the content being produced, but rather because they were promoting Rap Genius in exchange exposure on the site.

While this practice might not seem like such a great overreach on the part of Rap Genius, a website that received $15 million in finding from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz last year, it does violate Google’s linking guidelines, which prohibits “creating links that were editorially placed.”

While Google has not released an official statement on this matter, the founders of Rap Genius published an “Open Letter to Google About Rap Genius SEO,” writing that, “…other lyrics sites are almost definitely doing worse stuff, and we’ll stop. We’d love for Google to take a closer look at the whole lyrics search landscape and see whether it can make changes that would improve lyric search results.”

image via shutterstock 

In order to get back into the good graces of Google, Rap Genius followed their recommended steps in determining which of their practices ended in “irrelevant unnatural linking” and ended up returning to the top of Google search results after a great deal of effort.

At the end of the day, Google is not wrong to enforce this practice. When users do an Internet search for the topics and keywords with which your business is associated, you obviously want the most accurate results to come up and for the highest-quality content to rise of the top of any search.

What can you do to ensure a top SEO result?

Ensuring that the content of your company’s blogs and feature articles are based on accredited statistics, engaging infographics, compelling case studies and industry news, your business will be able to create a compelling argument that your company is at the top of your field. Furthermore, the professionalism with which you highest-possible quality content is reflective of the quality standards with which your company conducts itself. While Google practices and guidelines may seem mysterious, they’re actually available on their website. Click here to take a look.

As for the content marketing that your business creates, it’s important to take the extra steps to ensure that your company doesn’t find itself in the headlines for violating Google’s SEO guidelines. Your company’s best bet is to ensure that all of the content marketing that it creates has the best intentions of your customers in mind and shines a light on the great work that your business is doing.

Edited by Justin Reynolds

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