Paradigm shifts are neat.
During the European Renaissance, writers, visual artists, and philosophers began seeing the human body less as a wholly impure agent of evil and started celebrating it instead. Something similar happened during the Enlightenment when intellectual inquiry gave rise to the spread of secularism and democratic governance.
These were paradigm shifts – strong changes in the way people think, behave, and see the world. Shifts like these pose serious challenges to the establishment, and those who refuse to adapt are ultimately left by the wayside.
In the Internet marketing space, there’s a big paradigm shift happening right now, and it’s taking the the SEO crowd by storm. Last year’s Panda update should have been case-in-point for all the doubters, but more recent changes to Google’s algorithm really ought to underscore the inevitable.
You see, Internet marketing is evolving. In the not-so-distant future, thought leadership – not your link count – will become one of the biggest search engine ranking factors.
And to a large extent, it already is.
“What side of the fence do you want to be on?”
The side that just lost all its rankings because it relied on cheap content or the side that connected with key players in its niche and established itself as a thought leader?
That’s the question Wil Reynolds of SEER Interactive asked in a recent interview published on Valeria Maltoni’s blog. The question was whether it’s a better idea to purchase loads of inexpensive, low-quality content and throw it into spammy article directories or develop a sophisticated content strategy and invest the time, energy, and money needed to create useful content that benefits your audience.
Here’s the interview. To get the goods, be sure to watch until the end.
Wil’s point, of course, is that it’s ultimately more expensive to get cheap, easy links today than it is to create a high-quality inventory of digital assets that will help your business grow for years to come. Time will reward those who play it smart.
And from having worked with some of the more forward-looking Internet marketing outfits out there (Had to throw a little client love in there. Sorry.), I can tell you that many consultants are already steering their clients in this direction.
Pretty soon, the tried and true strategy of quantity over quality won’t work anymore. Google’s pretty smart. As Wil points out, they employ more PhDs than just about anyone else. The algorithm overlords will figure out a way to reward those who provide true value.
It’s really just a matter of time.
So, what does this mean for you?
It means it’s time to invest in content your audience can use. It means connecting with the big thinkers in your niche and demonstrating your own expertise, leadership, and savvy all at the same time.
It means worrying less about keywords and links and more about value.
Because if you’re really helping your audience solve problems, the keywords and the links will appear naturally. Eventually, you won’t even have to think about them anymore. At least not much.
After all, great content speaks for itself. What does your content tell others about your business? What kind of story do you want to tell?