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Optimization: Answers on Content, SEO & Visibility

Recently, I had the honor of cohosting a webinar entitled “Content marketing and the evolution of SEO” with Chad Pollitt from Relevance, a digital PR and content marketing agency. We received so many great questions from our attendees during the webinar. Lucky for us, Chad agreed to tackle some of the ones we were unable to get to last week.

Q: My organization’s blog currently doesn’t allow readers to leave comments. Does that affect SEO?
Pollitt:
It can have an impact on SEO. Google’s Caffeine indexing system was updated in 2011. This update was called “Freshness.” The point of the update was to reward the freshest relevant content. Every time a comment is made on a blog, that post has fresher content on it.

If content is commented on by hundreds of people weeks after it was published, that content is likely to be more digitally relevant to appear in the SERPs than if the content had no comments.

Q: What if you have a business writing your content, not your individual employees?
Pollitt:
This is not recommended because businesses NEVER write content – people write content. Google knows this and desires that writers take credit for their work. In the future, when AuthorRank is released, content that is not attributed to a human will be at a competitive search disadvantage. Currently, content with AuthorShip attribution has a higher visibility in the SERPs than content with no attribution (see below).

Chad Pollitt

Q: Are you saying that Google+ is the key to SEO now?
Pollitt: Google+ is not the key to SEO. Great content and earned media coverage is the key to SEO. Currently, Authorship has no direct impact on Google’s algorithm. However, due to increased SERP visibility, it’s likely that content associated with Authorship will see an increase in click through rates. This could impact Google’s decision for ranking the content in its SERPs. In 2005, Google released a whitepaper it called Hilltop. The concepts outlined in the whitepaper explain how they sort the relevancy for websites in some industries. Companies with the most relevancy for an industry represent the top of the search hill. When AuthorRank is finally released, it will identify human hilltops – at that point Google+, great content and earned media coverage may be the key to SEO. We’ll have to wait and see.

Q: We only have one person writing content on our site—to put my name on all our posts and not our company would devalue the company brand.
Pollitt: I can see how this would be problematic. However, not establishing authorship is problematic, too. My advice – get three or four volunteers who you can ghost write for. Continue to write all of your posts, but make the volunteers the author of selected posts. That way, you’ll establish Authorship and avoid the perils of publishing “non-human” company content.

Q: Why doesn’t Google have “no follow” tags on company website pages, but they do on press releases?  Aren’t they both self-promotional?
Pollitt:
All web content is promotional – some more or less overt than others. Google requested that folks use no-follow language in their press releases because it knew that people were using them for the sole purpose of manipulating its algorithm. Google wants press releases to be so compelling that a journalist or editor deems its content to be press-worthy (the original purpose of press releases pre-Internet). Press releases should only impact search rankings if they truly earn media – social shares, media coverage, etc.

Want more optimization wisdom? Access the full recording of our Content Marketing and the Evolution of SEO webinar, or check out our latest tip sheet, 10 Tips For Optimizing Content.

About Laurie Mahoney

Laurie Mahoney is the Director of Product Marketing at Cision. She is a regular contributor to Cision Blog mainly focusing on topics like content marketing, social media and SEO. Laurie is a Chicagoan now, but spent her earlier days in the South where she attended the University of Georgia. She has a weakness for good TV, sushi and anything that mentions “salted caramel” in the name. You can find her on Twitter @channermahoney.

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