Google’s New Content Rankings Can Hurt or Help Your PR

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Google announced today it will begin tracking and ranking individual content creators. (You can read more about it on ReadWriteWeb). Authors will be ranked, not just content on individual websites. If your business is gunning for organic search placement (and who isn’t?) what could this mean for you?

Plagiarized Content Will Kill You

Last week, a friend of mine, who is a reporter for USA Today, had an story she wrote for the paper plagiarized by

Here’s Kelly Kennedy’s original story
Here’s the ripped off version attributed to Deborah Hirsch.

Notice a difference? Me neither.

The comments at the bottom of the article even call out plagiarism but the website hasn’t removed the story. So, using the example above, TMCNET will not only be dinged in rankings for duplicate content, their contributor, Debora Hirsch, will also be penalized for plagiarism.

Don’t make the same mistake by copying a related news story on to your business’ blog and calling it your own. It’s not clear exactly what the repercussions will be, but given today’s announcement, you might want to start looking at past blog posts as well. Write your own intro sentence and link to the entire news story just to be on the safe side. This has always been a good blogging practice, but now it has implications.

Take Advantage and Create Thought Leaders Within Your Organization

And while we’re on the subject of blogging, you might want to think about who’s blogging for your site, as well as writing your contributed articles and blog posts for trade publications and content websites.

While writing a contributed article for a trade magazine is more work for your employees, no one can disagree that it’s a bad idea. Newsrooms are short-staffed these days and often you’re more likely to land an article into a trade magazine if you write it yourself than if you sit in your office and wait for a reporter to call you.

Now that your employees’ names will be linked to everything they write, you can really take advantage of this opportunity to extend your thought leadership within your industry.

Thought leadership, whether it’s information coming from your CEO or your top sales guy, can demonstrate your company’s innovation, customer service, and show that you have business ideas that merit attention.

While in the past, it may have made sense to pass around the workload of writing contributed blogs and trade magazine articles, it appears to make more sense now to have one voice for your company online and have a single content creator.

There are a lot of future implications that can be imagined for businesses to consider. For example, what if your thought leader gets another job? Do they take your web traffic to your competitor? That could shake things up not just for SEO managers, but for your entire marketing team and program.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is that great content comes from great authors. Choose wisely in your communications strategy and you won’t be scrambling to fix links every time Google adds to their search functionality.

Photo by maigi/

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