Digital Marketing: Google - search engine for truth?

Don't dump your SEO strategies yet

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When Google sneezes, the world of digital marketing catches a cold.

In the most recent example, Google released a white paper that explored changing the criteria it uses to rank websites to include Google’s assessment of the accuracy of the content. Based on the sudden spate of articles on the topic, it’s obvious this has led to some serious sniffles among search-engine-optimization experts.

The paper, “Knowledge-Based Trust: Estimating the Trustworthiness of Web Sources,” discusses ranking websites based on the trustworthiness and factual accuracy of web sources. This new system would rely on Google’s own Knowledge Vault and a number of other metrics to gauge the accuracy of the information on a page.

If your website contains known inaccuracies, or if it simply doesn’t contain much content at all, your ranking on Google would be adversely affected.

Why should you care? The better your website ranks, the more traffic you are likely to get and the greater your lead generation and conversions. It’s that simple.

What’s New?

A Knowledge-Based Trust (KBT) signal would be a significant departure from current practice, which uses traditional linking strategies to boost a website’s “authority.” Instead of rewarding or punishing a website based on the number and quality of links it has to other websites, the search engine actually would assess the content of each Web page using the complex methodology discussed in the paper.

However, don’t ditch your current SEO strategies just yet. Google is quick to point out that these theories are still in development and are not expected to roll out any time soon. Not surprisingly, the idea that Google can know Truth (with a capitol T) still is up for debate, as seen in the flurry of articles this research has generated.

However, KBT is consistent with other major algorithm updates Google has released in the past few years — Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird along with a slew of other updates, reward high quality, fresh content and improved user experience.

Feeding the Beast

For the most part, Google aggregates all the content published on the Internet and spits it back out on command. The fresher the content, the more Google likes it, so websites, blogs, and paid media strategies all require fresh content to be effective.

Even social media citations are starting to populate the search results. Just Google your business name — if you have a social media account on Pinterest, LinkedIn or Twitter, just to name a few, your social media account will appear near the top of the results.

You should consider using each of these digital marketing tactics not only for their stand-alone effectiveness, but also for how they integrate with all your other efforts.

Truth as a Marketing Commodity

The key to a successful content marketing strategy is to provide free, no-obligation information or advice that doesn’t try to sell anything, but accurately answers questions and solves problems — and then make sure that content is promoted on as many platforms as possible.

Whether businesses do it because it’s the right thing to do, it’s good business or because the Google Truthers demand it, adopting a strategy that creates accurate, quality content on a regular basis is rapidly moving past the days of nice-to-have and into necessity.

• Regina Gilloon-Meyer is a content marketing specialist for Fusionfarm, part of The Gazette. (319) 368-8530; regina@fusionfarm.com; @Regiimary

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