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We always look forward to the panel debates at BrightonSEO as the discussion is more open. It's even better when they involve ex-members of the Google Search Quality team (and a "former" spammer).
- You cannot recover from a penalty with just a disavow file, you have to do link removal
- Google is using the disavow tool to crowdsource bad links/domains
- A bad link is any link "made for SEO"
- Link building is fine, as long as you build for traffic
- Google can tell if a link is getting clicked or not
- Negative SEO is far less common that it is talked about, it is usually a spam attack or result of miscommunication
- Sites hit by negative SEO are never clean to start with
- There are hundreds of reasons that your site might drop in Google, not always a penalty, so do discovery on your own site, don't look for answers on the internet
- Google focus on users, not SEOs/webmasters, so there is always going to be collateral damage
- You can't recover from a penalty and then delete your disavow file, Google keeps track of everything and will find out
- Second penalties are much harder to recover from that first ones
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On Friday we attended our favourite local conference: BrightonSEO, organised as ever by Kelvin Newman (thanks Kelvin!). As usual there was a diverse set of speakers & topics and also as usual it's Monday morning & I'm writing up the most interesting & actionable advice from the day. We also ran a live blog using Storify throughout the day which included tweets from the conference. Read our live BrightonSEO blog here.
For a comprehensive understanding of SEO as a whole, it's worth coming on our SEO Training Courses at Silicon Beach.
We stuck with the Dome talks all day and although the topics included Social, Creative & Onsite there was a definite theme running through the conference:
April's conference was all about using content to build links but since then Google has come out against guest posts & press release links, and so the advice has shifted from building to earning links through content.
This was my fourth BrightonSEO (as a company we've attended every single one since the beginning!) and it's interesting to see the shifts in best practice that can occur in only 6 months.
Update 09/07: Search Engine Land have reported that Google's John Mueller has twice stated that if you are guest blogging for links, then those links should be nofollowed. This is stronger proof than ever that Google considers guest post links a violation of their Webmaster Guidelines and it's a matter of time until we see some sort of 'guest post link penalty'. I think this should be taken with a pinch of salt so you shouldn't rush out and nofollow all your posts, but you should definitely think about the kinds of sites you are writing for and the quality of your content.
Nearly two years since we wrote about guest blogging as the next big thing for SEO and link building, it's time to look at how guest posting has changed, the impact of scaling and whether it's still a valuable SEO technique.
In 2013, most businesses realise the importance of content. That's why so many SEO agencies are repositioning themselves as content agencies, or at least offering it as a primary product. Our Content Marketing courses used to attract mainly bloggers, but since the Panda and Penguin Google updates we have seen a large increase in SEOs wanting to learn about content.
Yet this mass conversion to content brings up some issues - there is too much noise. Most businesses are still stuck in an outdated content strategy - regular, mediocre quality blog posts with little intent. The content is happening, but is it working?
With content at the forefront of so many marketing strategies, it seems at first glance that big businesses have a massive advantage. Whole in-house marketing teams as well as high profile agencies on hand to craft incredible content. How does a small business compete against this with a 1-3 person marketing team?
Big Evergreen Content
The idea for this post was sparked by Hannah Smith's talk at BrightonSEO 'Go Big or Go Home' (excellent write up on State of Search), which prompted me to revisit Dr. Pete's SEOmoz post at the end of last year 'Why Big Content Is Worth the Risk'. Both Hannah and Dr. Pete explain why big content is necessary and how it can help your business stand out in a very crowded world of below par blog posts:
"We all want the low-hanging fruit, but let’s be honest – the low-hanging fruit is rotten, bruised, and covered with the grubby fingerprints of all the other spoiled brats pawing at it."
The consensus of both the talk and the post is that big content takes around 40 hours to produce. Hannah compared this to an average 12 hours for 'small content' but I think that's a huge overestimation for the majority of businesses. James Carson recently alerted Twitter to the existence of a job ad for an agency looking for a Marketing Executive who for £18,000 a year had to write 25 blog posts a day. That's well over 6,000 articles a year on a range of topics, written by somebody with little knowledge about the subject and obviously no research.
With that much noise, it's important to be different to break through, and that's where big content comes in. But I'm going to go a step further and ask you to consider another element - sustainability. Another popular topic at BrightonSEO, and a common phrase in marketing blogs at the moment is Evergreen Content.
In the rest of this post I'm going to try and convince you why your content should be both big and evergreen for the holy grail of content marketing.