Matt Cutts has always been a visible presence to those that follow what Google is doing.

But Google’s Head of Webspam truly flexed his muscles last week when he confirmed via his Twitter account that his team “took action on several thousand linksellers in a paid-link-that-passes-PageRank network” on 15 May.

Cutts revealed the information after he tweeted earlier in the day that “it’s safe to assume webspam will continue to tackle link networks that violate [Google’s] guidelines.”

Are Google penalties and the associated grief really worth bending the rules with paid links?

Those that were running the networks were obviously privy to a pretty penny or two, but it’s hard to imagine what was going through the minds of those that bought these types of links – especially with Penguin 2.0 around the corner!

Paid links have always been a no-no when it comes to SEO. Google’s incredibly strict about this, yet so many webmasters and agencies still appear to be flouting the rules (and getting caught) for the benefit short-term results.

Are the penalties and associated grief really worth bending the rules?

Not if you care about your business and your website. Many will argue that link building is becoming increasingly difficult and that finding authoritative links is getting harder than ever.

That’s why so many people are turning to content marketing to solve the problem.

The problem with content farms


“it's safe to assume webspam will continue to tackle link networks that violate [Google’s] guidelines

Content marketing has always been incredibly important when it comes to link building and online search success, though.

And the benefits of content marketing aren’t just there for link-building purposes. Creating interesting and effective content for your brand and its overall online strategy is one of the best things you can do to improve its visibility, and reputation, on the web.

But, like paid link farms, there have been content farms on the internet throughout the years which host nothing more than blocks of text with the odd link placed here and there (part of the reason the Google Panda algorithm came into existence).

Cutts has recently released a video (below) underlining that Google will be going more “upstream” where fighting spam links is concerned.

It’s pretty safe to say that the overall SEO landscape will change phenomenally over the next month or so, according to Matt.


Building a consistent content strategy

The one thing that won’t change, though, is the benefits of creating your own quality content with a thorough, thoughtful strategy in place.

Search engines love original, interesting content that keeps users engaged, informed and entertained.

Great content is also likely to be picked up by and shared by visitors which creates a knock-on effect, getting your site noticed by a wider audience. Pairing your content strategy with an effective social media presence will also boost your chances for search success.

Consistency is key when you’re producing and sharing content. If visitors and searchers are able to rely on your ability to create something special on a regular basis then they’ll keep coming back for more, time and again to check.

Harnessing your content creativity

We’ve previously written about how a few journalistic approaches can help you create incredible content and look at things from a different angle when news breaks in your industry.

But there are other forms of harnessing creativity when it comes to creating original articles, videos, podcasts and more for your site.

A content calendar is perhaps one of the most simplistic ways to start creating unique content for your site.A content calendar is perhaps one of the most simplistic ways to start creating unique content for your site.

Get your calendar and plan ahead. Look for special occasions and holidays that are coming up and plan your content around them.

For example, if you’re coming toward the end of January then take a look at what’s coming up in February. Notable occasions are typically Valentine’s Day and more. Or, if you really want to be clever, you could highlight specialist events such as London Fashion Week or the 6 Nations Rugby.

Events such as Valentine’s Day are celebrated on an international scale and there’s no reason you can’t create content around it for your site. A jewellers? Write about five affordable-but-stunning pieces of fashion to give to your partner.

That goes for all industries, too. It may be tough for say, a building company, to write something original about Valentine’s Day. But great content doesn’t have to be a quirky blog or article.

Instead why not run a competition for money off a service, or the chance to win a free home inspection and share it across your social networks? More than anything, showing that you’re participating in special occasions and offering something interesting will always pique interest.

Interact with your followers to create something special

The majority of brands that are successful are so thanks to repeat business and loyalty.

The monetary benefits of that are obvious, of course, but why not tap into that consumer-base across social media and incorporate it into your content strategy?

Let your imagination grow and let it fulfil its potential for your brand.Ask customers for opinions on upcoming products and feature their thoughts on your blog. Or go a step further and create a strategy that allows people to submit their own content to your channel.

User-generated content is a fantastic way to build trust with your readership and tap into creative ideas that may not even have crossed your mind – so long as you credit the creator, of course!

Allow people to submit their own reviews for products that you feature (a tactic that Amazon employs incredibly well). Or, if you have the time and resources, create a YouTube channel where your followers can upload their own videos.

There are numerous other ways to build and enhance your content strategy, so let your imagination grow and let it fulfil its potential for your brand.

But, as Google has shown – and always underlines – paid links and poor-quality content won’t get your site anywhere in the long-term.

And, as soon as Penguin 2.0 comes out, short-term results won’t even be worth the money if you’re looking for a quick fix.

To find out more about link building through content marketing and other aspects of search engine optimisation contact Webpresence today to speak to our team.