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Historically, companies have looked to PR agencies to provide the wholesome content to get consumer interest.  Then, once done, to make sure people see this wholesome content there have been SEO experts, tinkering away in the background, working their magic with keywords, backlinks and any old trick they can pull to boost your Google ranking.

Over the past few years, however, Google has been working to counteract the less savoury tactics employed by SEO workers, striving to make the Google search results as relevant and accurate as possible. The days of manipulating the digital make-up of the website pages, to encourage higher search engine results, have gone and we are now entering the quality content driven age.

This is fantastic news for those who work in the PR industry, those who employ the PR industry, and those who are engaging with it at an end consumer level. Finally it’s all about creating genuine content that does what you’d expect it to, not using a page of content to mask a web of tricks to draw as many people in – whether they’re relevant or not. Now the best content gets the best results, and those who use underhand tactics get penalised and pushed down the results pages.

The most recent change Google has made has been the penalising of advertorials, as these break two of the targeted rules of engagement – they are paid links and classed as un-natural links. This doesn’t mean it’s the end of advertorials driving traffic to your sites, but it does make it more difficult. By following a couple of strict rules you can still pick up traffic without damaging your PageRank, but at the same time the advertorial won’t contribute to it either.

You must alert the search engine that the links are for ‘humans only’ and should be ignored for PageRank calculations. This is achieved by adding the code rel=”nofollow” to the links you use, and to be extra safe you should only insert links into your brand name. For example we would only link through the words Elephant Creative, and avoid linking through ‘PR, marketing and social media advice’ or any keywords that you would usually try and cash in with. This, once again, allows Google to focus on quality content and not allowing businesses to buy their way into the search results by flooding the market with their presence.

Elephant Creative has been focused on quality content since the start and welcomes these changes to the process. Why should we waste our time creating ‘un-natural’ methods of traffic generation when we can focus purely on creating relevant and interesting content that draws the traffic in by encouraging engagement and interaction? If we are going to bring someone to your website, we want them to enjoy and share their experience with others, creating a natural and healthy online expansion of interested users.

By keeping up to date with the ongoing changes from Google we can ensure that all our content abides by their rules, avoiding any blacklisted tactics that will penalise a website ranking which can be difficult to recover from. If you’re currently using an agency for web based content, make sure they are moving with the times. Many totally acceptable practices from a few years ago are now being flagged up as penalties, such as link-heavy content and advertorials.