SEO content marketing roundup, week ending February 16th

Let the games begin! In this week’s latest and greatest web writing news, the gloves come off and it is on:  Google (seemingly) takes on black-hat SEO practices in a widely-publicized scandal while (actually) continuing to wage war on content farms, content marketing talks influence and smart branding strategy, and social media flexes its muscle with its growing role in business (and world affairs). It’s definitely not your daddy’s newspaper…catch this week’s picks:

The Latest Buzz:

The Dirty Little Secrets of Search was the headline of David Segal’s New York Times article exposing JC Penney’s black-hat SEO fail.  Then came the fallout:

Search Marketing Wisdom posted a wise piece by Alan Bleiweiss on why JC Penney has a bigger problem than paid links, provoking a response from the giant retailer as well as great commentary by industry heavies.

Notably, Jill Whalen of High Rankings Advisor pointed out that she had originally raised the red flag about anchor text link spam only a week before it all hit the fan.

The latest?  Retail Online Integration reports that both JC Penney and Google “have shrugged the whole thing off,” or at least the big G has minimized it. Hmmm.

Great analyses of the whole mess and lessons inherent are at Search Engine Land, WordStream, and DAC Group.

Content Marketing:

So why do you need a content marketing strategy? Lee Odden of Top Rank explains the big picture very well.  He also shares his top five picks for online marketing blogs from the UK.

Valentine’s Day tributes:  elemental ways to attract prospects are posted at Content Marketing Institute, while Blue Focus Marketing features a smart read about what makes a brand irresistible.

Directly related to the subject of attracting readers, Conversation Marketing advises to write with personality and avoid being a literary prude.

And beyond attraction: Enchantment?  In this Hubspot interview, Guy Kawasaki talks about how any business can enchant their prospects with their brand.

Shelly Bowen discusses influential web content strategy via her review of Colleen Jones’ book, “Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content.”

Email marketers will want to note this article at Marketing Sherpa about growing your list using social media, citing a study of KFC’s success in using a Facebook email sign-up form.

Decision overload: Neuromarketing addresses the interesting topic of “choice fatigue” and why this is an important consideration for all marketers.

Thinking about introducing video or podcasts into the content marketing mix?  Check out this post by Ann Smarty at Blueglass about why you should do how-to videos, and this four-step how-to on podcasting success at Social Media Examiner.

SEO & Search:

Let the Google v, Content Farm Games Begin —  On the heels of the JC Penney link spam fiasco, Google released a new chrome extension allowing users to block sites.  The blocked sites will in turn serve as data for the Big G to consider an algorithmic change, according to this Marketing Pilgrim post.

WordStream and Search Engine Land both post an explanation of how the Google Personal Blocklist feature works, while Search Engine Watch notes the potential for abuse.

SEOmoz posts an interesting read about the next generation of SEO ranking signals, while SEO Book reflects on where search has been and how to spot where it may be going.

Dealing with “findability disaster” in the way of combating negative content is the subject of this post at Website Magazine, while Search News Central discusses how Google handles reviews and sentiment.

On a quality link quest?  Ontolo posts 55 new link-building resources, and Flying Point Media posts a how-to on finding quality links using Google Operators.

Understanding user behavior via analytics is the subject of this Level 343 article, and this thoughtful post at Search News Central discusses how SEO is all about the situation.

Mark your calendars for SMX West in San Jose, CA, March 8th – 10th, and for SearchFest 2011 in Portland, OR, on February 23rd.

Social Media Marketing:

Social networking and the media revolution in Egypt is the subject of this post at Famous Bloggers, while Social Media Examiner looks at how to create your own social networking community.

Interesting read on the science of social success (social media economics) is at ReadWriteWeb, while this post at Slate explores whether the valuations of social media companies like Twitter may be too high.

Social Media Today posts how to gauge influence to find top bloggers, and Mashable posts an insightful look into what stats actually drive Twitter’s trending topics.

Kristi Hines posts a Twitter marketing guide at Kiss Metrics, and  Twitter CEO Dick Costolo shares why there won’t be a Twitter-branded smart phone (at Mashable).

Unmarketing posts a provocative piece on how we are killing Facebook, and Hubspot discusses Facebook’s new fan pages design and its decision to kill its markup language (FBML) in favor of iFrames.

Finally, Jeff Esposito posts 23 impressive social media facts (complete with sources) to share with executives.

7 replies
  1. Derek Cromwell
    Derek Cromwell says:

    One of the things that stood out to me in this whole J.C. Penney issue was not with the big box retailer but with the NYTimes.

    Did anyone else notice the complete lack of an optimized title for the purposes of SEO? The subject of the piece – J.C. Penney – was in no way mentioned with other extremely common things we’d use to find the article. like “SEO”. Instead they opted for “search optimization and its dirty little secrets”.

    Granted, the Times is a major publication so they’ve got global reach and plenty of people to carry the story but if you did the quick search (that many people were likely doing) of “nytime seo jc penney” or something similar you couldn’t find this article.

    You were turning up other blog posts. The Times could have better positioned themselves with a much stronger title from an SEO standpoint to ensure that the traffic came to them first.

    This is one of those times where a properly optimized title would have likely provided more benefit than the marketing hook they used in the current title. Too many businesses make this mistake and unfortunately the smaller businesses that don’t have a network of followers like the Times wind up with their content getting lost – never to be discovered – all because of a title derp.

    Reply
  2. Laura Crest
    Laura Crest says:

    Hi Derek! Yes, you are so right about title “derp” issues, especially for SMB’s! The sexy hook doesn’t serve as well as a well-optimized headline in so many cases, and as you’ve pointed out, this also applies to the “big boys” of online content publishing.

    Heather’s SEO Copywriting Certification course does address this, as distilled in this post from the previous year: http://www.seocopywriting.com/content-marketing/leverage-your-online-writing-for-optimization-and-conversions/

    Thank you Derek, for sharing your insight! :)

    Reply
  3. Laura Crest
    Laura Crest says:

    Hi Derek! Thanks for your insight here. You’re absolutely right — the sexy headline is no substitute for a well-optimized one, no matter how big a player you may be in the content publishing world! :)

    Reply
  4. Laura Crest
    Laura Crest says:

    Dave, you’re most welcome! Yes, your article was very helpful. I’m always scouting out great resources for our readers’ weekly roundup, and am happy to have found yours! Thank you for your comment and the “bookmark” :)

    Reply

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