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Google Revolution’s Profound Implications

October 31, 2013

Not Knowing What You Don’t Know Can HURT

The new SEO started when Navneet Panda helped Google see how dirty our content marketing rooms had become. Granted we were maintaining those rooms with house rules, but things had to change. Google’s core truth is link democracy.

If links can be purchased Google’s algorithm is random. Marketers don’t pay millions for random. We marketers will pay millions when there is some definable and easy to understand benefit. Google’s benefit has and will always be relevant traffic. If links aren’t democratic, if links don’t accurately represent LOVE, Google’s system is Yahoo by another name.

Back in the day it was possible to BUY an injection into Yahoo’s organic listings. Yahoo’s listings looked like Google but was purchased. Google scoffed at such clear evil. Problem is once PageRank 8 and 9 websites began selling valuable links Google was in danger of doing the same thing as Yahoo with one painful difference.

If you purchased the “link juice” necessary to win an organic term from an “authority” website needed from a high authority website and your website won a top position you just “YAHOOED” Google and the big G didn’t make a dime. This was the SEO equivalent of the Great Train Robbery.

Google’s algorithm had to change or those billions in ad revenue were in danger. Marketers don’t buy RANDOM. Pain on the organic side of the fence always had a predictable short term Google benefit – a need to buy more PPC as “penalized” websites tried to stay alive long enough to recover lost traffic. BTW, you never “recover lost traffic”.

The rub is PPC is hard to use like that. PPC is based on trust and trust is built over time. If your website is on fire and you haven’t been spending PPC then using it may feel like a garden hose when you need a much bigger option. This PPC is based on trust and trust is built over time is why I recommend PPC spending no matter how good other marketing channels are going. Spend the money just so you have the fire hose when needed.

“SEO” Revolution Is HERE and NOW

At lunch the other day we started discussing how Google’s latest algorithm change dashed some websites managed by our lunch companions by as much as 30%. Given that statement you would think our discussion of how to create sustainable engagement via cause marketing would have gone better.

No one sees the REVOLUTION TRAIN until it is too late. Cause marketing is no sliver bullet. There is no one thing you can do to protect your digital assets. We lucky few Internet marketers are sand castle sculptors and we work on a content network beach where the tide always comes in.

This particular New SEO tide has important implications few grasp. Implications that must be understood or our lunch companion’s websites will never recover.

New Google Implications

  • Links without corresponding social support are spam.
  • Claims without corresponding links and social support are spam.
  • Heuristic measures must get better faster or pain will multiply fast.
  • New Google is about engagement and relevance (at its core).
  • If your website is slow or stupid it is over.
  • If your website is fast and too smart for its own good it is over.
  • If your website helps change the world it has the only insulation you can have.

Save The World Marketing

That last bullet from the list above is another way of saying something I love – your Internet marketing must be about the BIG IDEAS. If you have an increasing number of relevant and engaged conversations across Facebook, Twitter, GPlus, your website, blogs, YouTube channel and even your email marketing your KLOUT goes up as authority is gained.

The answer at our lunch was to double down and dig harder.

Yeah, not so much. Doubling down on a tactic that got your website in trouble in the first place only increases SEO pain. SEO isn’t about “technical SEO” anymore. Google assumes you know how to form a relevant title and use H1 tags.

NEW SEO is the intersection of social signals and your website’s heuristics.

Heuristic measures such as time on site, pages viewed and lower bounce rates is the sentient mob voting the way the “New SEO” wants. Not hard to see why Storytelling Is The New SEO.

When I created the Slideshare linked in the previous sentence little did I know how Google would insist on the kind of engagement stories deliver. Why are VIDEOS going tsunami viral finally after rocking on the edge for years? Video marketing creates engagement. Watch 5 two minute videos and you just spent 10 minutes on our website.

BTW, I recommend 5 two minute videos not one ten minute video. Your visitors will see ten minutes as a bridge too far and flee even as they may grant the time needed to watch 5 two minute videos if your storytelling is brilliant, engaging and threaded well (one video leading to another and another).

Add Cause Marketing Now

If your marketing already saves the world feel free to ignore these last paragraphs. Save The World Marketing, another Slideshare created about a year ago, came from noticing how nonprofit and for profit tactics were melding into each other. The web is the great melting pot and nonprofits must master commerce, distribution and reach just like for profits need great emotional storytelling and the improving page views and time on site great stories bring.

If that last sentence sounded like up is down you understand the scope of Google’s New SEO revolution. If your website speaks mostly to itself about itself you have a problem. If your website doesn’t tell emotionally resonant engaging stories you have a problem. If your website just got tagged by a hummingbird you have a problem.

If you do ONE thing tomorrow find a SAVE THE WORLD cause aligned to your brand ideals (see Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profits At The Worlds Greatest Companies by Jim Stengel for more on “brand ideals”). Find a cause your company can support that rounds out your brand. Find a cause that provides a new dimension to how customers, advocates and partners feel about your company, website and brand.

Don’t create cause marketing for the amazing new SEO benefits since to do so would be inauthentic and could hurt much worse than any benefit. We just created one of the first crowdfunding cancer research websites. CureCancerStarter.org is about helping cancer patients, their friends and families see into the lab, find the hope that resides there and know we will cure cancer in our lifetime. I shared a vision with Mark and Jon about how a company that now employs more than 80 great web programmers and marketers could help save the world.

The other side of that coin is the real ROI benefit of such courage (even if such return seems remote today after writing such large checks).

Doing the right thing is increasingly the right thing to do. Your cause will be shared around the world in minutes. Your followers will love your brand as never before. I tried to convince our lunch companions the future isn’t more of the same. The future is a revolution and it is hard to see revolutions until they are undeniable.

The irony of starting our lunch with the very reasons WHY our cause marketing conversation should have gone better hasn’t escaped me. Wake up, find something you do that helps save the world and talk about it or align with a partner who is saving the world and learn to tell emotionally resonant stories. The only protection left is the impact you, your company, brand and service creates so throw boulders not pebbles and don’t wait to count the ripples.