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How Google’s ‘Penguin’ Update Will Change Publishing, for the Better

Shifts by Google Mean Content Will Once Again Be King in Publishing

Yaron GalaiOver the past decade, the publishing industry been swinging on a pendulum created by the effects of search engine optimization (SEO). In the old, primarily print days, the most successful publishers were those that could produce great content for a specific audience and keep that audience engaged via subscriptions or at the newsstands. More recently, the kings of publishing were those that could best engage web crawlers and monetize their sites through a windfall of free search traffic. The focus has been less on creating great content and engaging readers than on producing lots of words on lots of pages to engage web crawlers.


But there is a silver lining to all of this. With last year’s Panda release, and the more recent Penguin release, Google is going to flip SEO on its head. If Old SEO enabled some to fool a crawler into indexing borderline junk content to get high rankings, New SEO looks likely to take any notion of fooling anyone out of the equation.


New SEO will put all publishers on more equal footing, favoring those that produce quality content that is highly engaging to a certain audience. If SEO was previously a linear method of feeding a crawler with words and links, Google’s results are now the result of a feedback loop: show them that you can produce quality content that people are attracted to, and free search traffic will follow.


There are two ways for a user to arrive at content — the first is actively searching for it on a search engine like Google or Bing. The second is to discover or stumble onto it via a link on another website, an e-mail from a friend, a link shared on Twitter or Facebook, etc. “Discovery” encompasses all those times we reach a page without first typing a keyword into a search box.


To feed the search rankings with New SEO, publishers must be thinking about the discovery side. How can they get more engaged people discovering their content and engaging with it outside of Google? Ironically, a New SEO expert will probably need to focus more on Facebook than on Google to improve search rankings. The same goes for brands that are investing in content creation and content marketing. To be successful, everyone needs to play by the New SEO rules.


With New SEO, the pendulum is finally swinging back to favoring humans over crawlers. The New SEO rules point directly back to what was valued in the traditional print-dominated days — content will not be a mechanism to convert clicks but a tool to boost awareness, increase overall engagement and offer opportunities to connect with a quality audience. And the “customer” that content is tailored for will no longer be SEO bots (the software apps that work the web automatically), as the New SEO favors the true end-user: the reader.


These are great days for publishing, and I’m very optimistic about future, weighted by quality content. Like many others, I hated much of what SEO had done to the industry, but the world of New SEO is one I’m looking forward to.


Yaron Galai is CEO and co-founder of Outbrain. Follow him on Twitter @yarongalai.

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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in Publishing


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Top 5 Ebook Self-Publishing Tips in 2013

“People judge a book a book by its cover, they do, so I would strongly recommend that authors consider using a professional cover designer and investing the time and effort in that,” says Lefebvre.


Three days ago, the Times Colonist, a Canadian newspaper has published a very interesting article talking about Self-publishing. The article took  our attention an today we want to Reblog it for you. The article has suggestions for authors for having a successfull self-published ebook.

In 2012, Douglas & McIntyre filed for bankruptcy protection, Random House of Canada become the sole owner of McClelland & Stewart, and Penguin and Random House planned a merge. It’s perhaps no surprise that year also saw an explosion in online self-publishing, with a wealth of platforms — including Kobo Writing Life, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, and iBooks Author — offering authors an alternate avenue.

“We’re actually hearing from a lot of different types of authors, some brand new and some successful … that have had traditional contracts that are just using self-publishing to experiment with new stuff or put books out that they…

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