We’ve said that paying for content is like paying for sex. If your content is awesome, you shouldn’t be paying them– they should be paying you.
Same for any type of content sharing or work.
Have You Received One of These?
In the last fifteen years, I’ve gone to a few hundred conferences and paid for only a couple of them. They pay me to speak, plus cover air and hotel.
If you’re having to pay to post, then you’re most likely in the SEO business – meaning that you have low quality, irrelevant content that is jammed with “SEO optimized” links to your client, and should heed Cynthia Johnson’s advice:
We can pay for links and we can pay for influence, but we cannot pay to be influential. It is rare to find a brand that has to pay for either and can live up to the referral. The future of paying for influence will be followed by reputation management issues – just as the world of paying for links has been followed by penalties and loss of traffic.
Even if someone were to pay us for that, I’d have to say no. Would you accept payment from someone asking you to swallow poison?
Ironically, if you want to rank in search engines, you’d want to produce relevant, authoritative content. Then you’re helping both the users and the engines, which are increasingly getting similar in abilities. We can talk about AI another day, for the SEOs that still think it’s about fooling the machines.
If you want to rank in search engines, then practice content marketing. SEO is the result, while content marketing is the activity– don’t get them backwards.
Even if you succeeded in tricking Google to rank on your keywords, you STILL have to get the users to click through and convert. And crap content won’t do that for you, as Aidan Cole points out:
Hemingway once said, ‘every man should have a built-in automatic crap detector operating inside him.’ Now, everyone consuming content online is getting good at such detection, so too is technology. Publish crap and get left in the dust – it’s that simple. Context drives engagement now more than ever. The content must keep up!
No wonder most reputable publications have the same guest posting or article submission guidelines. They simply want what is amazing for their community– so unique/good that people will share it and that engines will appreciate, too.
As the machines finally close the gap, expect tactics like the screenshot above to hurt you more than they already are.
The next evolution of selling links is selling influence.
Instead of selling a PR6 link, you’ll sell a post from someone with 500,000 Instagram followers. And you can expect there to be a similar marketplace that evolves to facilitate the transactions.
We know that social signals impact search.
Only this time, with better measurement, we can track word of mouth effects. Nothing wrong with the old days of paying a celebrity to endorse your product. But now we can trace the impact of these and sponsorship deals.
At first, we have valuation of impressions and social interactions (which is EMV– Earned Media Value). But soon with universal oAuth, connecting with Facebook and Google as THE login layer, we can trace users to a purchase.
This is more than the buy buttons cropping up over mobile.
It extends into the Internet of Things, where we can track conversions through devices that otherwise weren’t connected to the Internet and activities people weren’t comfortable tracking a decade ago.
Are you still selling and buying links?
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