Much ado has been made of how quickly Google is evolving its Panda and Penguin SEO algorithms, discrediting once-viable online marketing strategies that were effective in the short term. Companies are wringing their hands at the prospect of being heavily penalized for things their marketing and SEO consultants once said were pure gold.
Here’s the funny thing about actual pure gold: it’s mostly unchanging. Gold’s value changes relative to the currencies it’s benchmarked against, but the gold itself doesn’t change. A brick of pure gold is elementally mostly inert. Gold doesn’t react to much (which is part of its value) such as oxygen, air, water, or other corrosives. Gold doesn’t change mass or volume, doesn’t expand or contract much, and isn’t easily consumed. A pure gold ingot from 10,000 years ago would, assuming it was kept in a dust-free environment, look the same today as it did at the moment of its creation. Even if it were kept in a not-so-friendly environment, a quick wash and a scrub and it’d look good as new.
That’s why gold is valuable: its perception of value is based on the fact that it’s a nearly immutable element that isn’t easily forged, damaged, or replicated. It has scarcity working for it in addition to its physical properties.
Now think about your marketing. Does it have intrinsic value? If you unearthed that marketing campaign, that marketing collateral in a year, would it still have value? What about in 5 years? As Jay Baer says, does it have “Youtility“, providing value by itself? SEO tricks (and marketing tricks in general) are the equivalent of iron pyrite, or fool’s gold. They look valuable at a glance, but once you examine it more carefully, you recognize that it’s not the real thing.
I once wrote an eBook about scholarship search, called Scholarship Search Secrets. The last edition was 5 years ago, yet I still refer to it and give the link to people half a decade later. Most of the advice still works, and most of it’s a way of thinking that is still valid even today. That job is now 3 jobs removed from today in an industry that I haven’t worked in for years, yet it’s still valuable. That’s golden value – and it’s value that people will still link to and share (and thus fuel Google search results) for years to come.
Go back in your archives to 2008. How much of what you were doing then is still valuable? How much of what you’re doing today will be valuable in 2018? Make that the benchmark of your marketing efforts and you’ll be beating Google for years to come.
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- Almost Timely: The 2020 Essays
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