Late last week, Google announced one fairly major update to its search algorithm: that content with a high number of copyright removal notices would be penalized in its search engine results pages (SERPs).
There's been a healthy debate about what exactly this means, especially in the entertainment industry. Tim Worstall of Forbes raises the valid point that takedown notices don't necessarily mean sites with removal notices are violating copyrights.
For a little while now, the search giant has released its algorithm updates each month. (Check out this fairly comprehensive list from WebProNews. ) While many changes are designed to stay one or two steps ahead of black hat SEO techniques, just as many of the updates are meant to showcase good content that web searchers actually want.
Entertainment and piracy debate aside, this particular set of updates benefits creators of original content, including many artists and musicians, as well as news organizations and - you guessed it - brands.
In the paid/earned/owned media landscape, many brands are shifting portions of their budget to branded content. According to eMarketer, 39% of companies expect budgets for digital content creation to rise, and the spends are rising to unprecedented levels. (See chart.) This content, in turn, feeds brands' digital presence - as well as their customer engagement channels - and provides potential fodder for media coverage. It also extends brands' experiences outside of just a product. (The Red Bull Flugtag and BMW Films' "The Hire" are just two examples.)
In short, Google's algorithm changes mean the same thing for brands they always have: brands that post frequent, high-quality content on user-friendly websites will draw links from other high-quality websites. That content, in turn, will be shared socially by the brand and by others. As a result, they will get rewarded with higher search engine rankings, while brands and websites that post infrequently, stuff their content with keywords and generate links from poor-quality sites will not.
More on social sharing and Google's Panda and Penguin updates in a later post.
- Daniel B. Honigman