ColourOfSpring - 8:57 am on May 14, 2013 (gmt 0)
I get a little disappointed whenever Matt comes out with the "write great content" mantra. We already know that purely from a conversions points of view, and we also know that there seems to be almost zero correlation between great content and ranking well in Google. Google are simply failing at detecting quality content and are relying on the "proxy" to quality content which is quality links. I believe this is a very poor proxy. These can be gamed, and also without savvy marketing skills (some could argue this is "gaming" links anyway), they're also almost impossible to come by in 2013 where few people really link out freely. I also believe Google know it's not the signal it used to be - hence their myriad of updates to punish off-page signals. Google are wrestling with their algo's historical reliance on links - every change they make is a reaction to this historical reliance. There will be no revolution in thinking at Google while they keep reacting and tinkering to a 90s method of evaluation that is way past its sell by date. If you don't think Google are so reliant on links these days, why are SERPs full of spam? Because Google rely on links way too much. Also if you don't believe Google rely on links so much, why does Penguin exist?
However, maybe that will actually change with Penguin 2.0. Maybe this update dials down the importance of links (COULD be the case as Matt has made a bold prediction that there'll be a lot less spam in the SERPs this summer). I certainly hope so. As a webmaster, here's what I want to do: I simply want to look after my sites, and my visitors to my sites. The only off-page marketing I want to do is quite literally engage directly with my potential market via specialist forums (MUCH more engagement than the big social networks), and also let my customers do the word of mouth (which they do). I don't want to carry out non-sensical "means to an end" activities like setting up a Google+ account or pinning images to Pinterest because it's the flavour-of-the-month platform and dilute my energy across several social network platforms. I just want to "specialise" on my sites and devote my time to them.