by Michael O'Neill
July 24th, 2013

In this recent interview, Matt Cutts has yet again emphasised Google’s desire for content marketing to win out over spam in the fight for SEO tactics.

Considering that Cutts makes the rules, it’s worth listening.

Companies act in three ways when it comes to SEO and content marketing. Cutts’ comments provide continued vindication for those that understand content marketing and are playing the long game towards brand awareness and quality, continued panic for those that buy their SEO positions with thousands of cheap links (insurance and finance, I’m looking at you) and a somewhat confused look from those that think content marketing is about ensuring your marketing team adds press releases to their blog once a quarter.

If you don’t know which of these you fit into because “we have an agency that does SEO for us and I’m not sure what it is they do” — chances are they’re buying links and you’re in danger, so listen up and read on.

If your marketing strategy fits int the first bucket, congratulations, keep it up. If not, there really can’t be any clearer warning signs than Cutts’ comments in this interview. It’s time to do content marketing correctly for SEO. It is not cheap. It is not easy. It is not fast. Take Ralph Lauren. The brand runs a hospital and a fashion school. That’s content marketing done right. It’s no surprise that they’re the no.1 brand for “polo shirts” in Google.

Eric Enge, who was talking with Cutts, gave a really good five-question plan for evaluating links from content marketing efforts:

- Would you get this link if Google and Bing didn’t exist?
- Would you proudly show this to a prospective customer?
- Would you show it to your children?
- Is it a genuine endorsement by the person giving it?
- Do you have to argue about whether it is a good link?

For any link to Ralph Lauren’s page – the answer to all of those is yes. That’s good content marketing. It starts with genuine, relevant and brilliant content and ends in quality, legitimate links. Go look at your corporate blog and it’s link profile – can you answer the same as Ralph Lauren?

Ben Bale is director, digital, at CMG Australia

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