SEO or search engine optimization has undergone several transformations over the years. The very concept of search engine optimization is still evolving and it wouldn’t be wrong to presume that there will be many more transformations in coming years.
SEO as most people know it has changed, quite dramatically. Experts know that it is a completely new and different paradigm today. Most SEO practices that worked in the past would not work anymore. It is no secret that black hat practices are being severely penalized by the likes of Google.
With several updates and amendments to the rules of the game over the last two to three years, SEO is a very different premise today. From the likes of Panda to Penguin and numerous other smaller changes done to the algorithm, Google has changed the world of online marketing. Today, hyper optimization will not work. Stuffing contents with keywords or rampantly creating links to generate redirected traffic will not work.
Link wheels and all kinds of shady practices to generate links or traffic will invite severe penalties. The focus today is on content. How content will help people or the audience at large. The necessity of the hour or the demand of Google is high quality authority sites.
The search engine giant is looking for experts in any given niche. Should a company fail to establish itself as an expert or in effect a brand, then it stands very little chance to get a desirable search engine ranking.
The Importance of Brand Mention
The concept of link wheels or back links was very simple. It was also very effective. Online marketers or SEO professionals developed links and spread them on third party sites.
From blogs to social networks, article directories to almost everywhere that could be accessed, links were sprayed randomly and according to a plan.The more links one could get, the better it was as the chances of getting more traffic were directly proportional.
But none of those approaches will work anymore.
Google doesn’t want back links or link wheels to talk about a company, brand, product, service or website.
Google wants brand mentions.
No more shady planting of links on any site. No more disputable and irrelevant link building. Brand mentions have to be relevant, they have to be organically generated or presented on high authority sites. That will get traction for a company, not a random mention or link somewhere that has nothing substantial or of value to offer.
Working on Brand Mentions
Just to give you an idea of what kind of brand mentions Google is going to reward.
When a piece of content on some website talks about a certain professional, company, a report of the company or quotes anything that the company or professional, as in expert, has said or done, then that is regarded as a brand mention.
For instance, a respected reviewer or consumer electronics mentioning a relatively lesser known company making accessories for a particular mobile phone or computer while reviewing a mobile phone or computer is an excellent brand mention. The reviewer is respected as an expert in the domain. Google has a record of the reviewer’s activity and tracks the traffic, rank and impact on the audience.
When such a high authority webpage or website has a mention of a company that is otherwise not very well known or even if it is known, the company or product or person getting mentioned gets an impetus in search engine optimization.
The brand mentions need not be links.
They need not be express or implied links. There doesn’t have to be a hyperlink. A sheer mention makes people aware of the brand or company, professional, product or service.
That itself is sufficient to get exposure. Such mentions can be tracked and they can also be used by the company or professional talked about. Companies can use such brand mentions as reference in their own content. Since the brand mentions are user or third party generated, they are authentic and Google or its algorithms doesn’t raise the red flag. Such brand mentions which are organically generated can be of great help and they have a much more definitive impact than generic links.
The focus is entirely on quality, authenticity, information and factual presentation of information. Contents developed for the sole purpose of getting a higher rank or to just have a presence of a keyword is not going to help. SEO has changed. Contents that are geared solely to help the end user or visitor to the site, or target audience in general will get most generously rewarded by search engine giants.
The bottom line is that trying to outthink or outsmart the system or algorithms of Google is not going to work. Offer value to the audience and SEO will become a self fuelled process.