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14th August 2013
By Corinne

Things are changing in the world of content marketing.

In a recent Hangout with Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz, Google’s John Mueller told webmasters to steer clear of ‘followed’ links on press releases, after a change in Google’s guidelines.

Soon afterwards, press release distribution service PRWeb announced they had added the nofollow tag to all the links embedded in their press releases.

A few days later, Matt Cutts released a new video, outlining why we should avoid using followed links on widgets and, in many cases, infographics as well:

What’s happening with Google’s approach to content marketing?

You might think the poor content marketing community was under attack from Google. But there are good reasons behind these changes.

In his recent talk for Figaro Digital: “Why empathy, expertise and generosity are the real drivers of online marketing success”, Andy spoke about what Google really wants to see from businesses online.

He said: “We think: ‘how can we give Google what it wants? More content, more links?’

“But what Google really wants to see is good businesses. We need to stop focusing on what we think Google wants, and start thinking about how we can grow and improve as a business.”

How SEO is changing… for the better

The reasoning given by Google for advising nofollows on a range of business-created content is clear. If the content was created by the business, it shouldn’t, in itself, be able to give an online advantage to that business.

Instead, the responsibility for that task should stay with the user, and those online publishers without any discernible connection to the business or monetary advantage in promoting them.

Gaining links, or ‘votes’, should rely solely upon others’ perception of a business’s content, or of the business itself, as genuinely useful, interesting; valuable.

We’ve already seen SEOs’ focus shift from gaining links for links’ sake, to gaining links by creating good content. Now the focus has to shift again.

Online marketers must now begin their thinking by working out how they can really add value to users. That’s got to be a good thing.

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