Today’s guest post is by George Zlatin.

There has been a paradigm shift in the SEO community during the last year.

Google has made their algorithm more favorable for companies that focus on creating unique quality content.

This content can be created in many forms (blogs, infographics, videos, etc) and can be leveraged in different ways.

Google has always preached about content, but now they have actually done it, they have followed through with their threats.

Companies that don’t get this concept and don’t put it on their budget are going to be left behind in 2013.

The end goal is still the same (to get links) but the means to an end has changed – from backdoor tactics that were meant to trick Google into thinking your website was worth it’s rank, to full-fledged marketing strategies that engage people and make you deserve your top ranking.

1. Author Rank: Increased Visibility and Rankings

Google has created a new eco-system of content ownership called “Author Rank” and industry experts are touting that it might soon be a ranking factor as powerful as Page Rank.

To sum it up briefly, Google has big plans for Author Rank. Google Authorship allows writers to tie a piece of content back to their Google+ profile, thereby creating a central “Google verified” portfolio of all the writing they have done on the web. Those writers who use the Author Rank system get more authority based on their previous work. They also get more prominent placement with their picture next to the search results of their articles:

Google likes the authorship system and is pushing it hard because it helps them deliver higher quality results. It takes writers a really long time to build up their Author Rank but Google can also take it away very quickly if someone tries to game the system. Therefore, writers are less likely to jeopardize their Authorship credibility.

*Bonus Tip: Google Authorship also allows you to track how your content performs on other sites that you guest post on. You can see how much traffic your article gets via Webmaster Tools even though you don’t control the site. So if I get a guest post on I can see traffic data on that post.

Rand Fishkin's Google Authorship

2. Adds Credibility and Creates Loyal Customers

Good content that speaks to your target audience in a meaningful way is worth it’s weight in gold.

Your website is your 24/7 sales person and when people read information on your site that they like, they automatically associate your company (or your brand) with quality.

There’s nothing that can replace the unconditional trust that is developed when someone becomes a loyal brand supporter. The most well known example of this is Apple. They create quality products and even when they make mistakes people forgive them because of their loyalty to the brand. What other company can get away with some of the crazy stories we’ve heard about Chinese workers committing suicide because of the working conditions at the FoxConn factory in China?

Apple factory

Poor Working Conditions at the Apple Factory? No Problem.

3. Improves Conversions

Well-written content improves conversion rates. If you can improve your conversion rate by even a small percentage you can affect the bottom line.

The average conversion rate for an ecommerce site is three percent. That means a site will get three sales for every 100 visitors. If a site can get to even just a four percent conversion rate, that is a huge increase in sales!

Focus on good product descriptions that make people feel like they are literally smelling, touching, and feeling your products.

For B2B companies, work on creating copy that is not just a giant list of tactics but actually talks about strategy. Blog about things that matter to your target audience. Don’t just start a blog for the sake of having a blog.

4. Cheap SEO Tactics Don’t Work Anymore

During the last year or so, Google has rolled out hundreds of updates to their search algorithms. Two of the more significant updates that affected SEO were the “Panda” and “Penguin” updates. These updates really put the hammer down on cheap content and link building strategies.

Sites that previously had hundreds or even thousands of pages with very “thin” content don’t rank anymore because of Panda. Sites that over-optimized their link building and only got links with a specific anchor text over and over, don’t rank anymore.

5. Get Links While You Sleep

Good content might be harder and more expensive initially to create but consistently putting good stuff out there will get you to where you want to be and can be cheaper in the long run. Content that builds links needs to be original, useful and timely.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint…

There’s no magical SEO tactic that is going to get you to number one or bring in a million dollars in revenue. You have to treat your SEO campaign like you would treat at any long-term commitment that you know will pay off in the end. You have to create content. There’s no easy way out.

George Zlatin is the director of operations at Digital Third Coast, a search engine marketing firm based in Chicago. You can find George on Twitter and Google+.