Friday, August 15, 2014

I Love Gaming, But It Doesn't Define Me

This morning, I read a fantastic article by Ben Kuchera at Polygon titled "Gaming Is Not the Most Important Thing In My Life." While I highly suggest reading the entire thing, here's a quick summary: as a writer in the gaming industry, you'd likely assume that he's consumed by gaming all of the time. And you'd be wrong. A self-proclaimed 15% gamer, he prides himself in being multi-dimensional. He's fortunate to have a job that allows him to scratch the gaming itch which allows him to pursue other interests in his free time.

This is something I've given a lot of thought to as well. As someone who is working in the industry, I've been exposed to every kind of game, and in turn, every kind of gamer. Ben points out that the notion of a "hardcore gamer" carries a certain negative connotation -- particularly the most vocal ones -- in that they allow gaming to define themselves, and in turn, asses their self worth. What this equates to in Ben's position is any criticism of a beloved franchise or console is interpreted as a personal attack.

Make no mistake -- gaming is an important part of my life. I choose to spend a fair amount of my spare time gaming. I love it. In terms of variety of experiences, platforms, and accessibility, there's never been a better time to be a gamer. Anyone with an idea can create and become the next big thing (see: Flappy Bird).

However, that's not all I am.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Google's Updated Search Algorithm Puts Greater Onus on Social Content Marketing

What's changed?
Google recently announced significant changes to their legacy algorithms -- Hummingbird, Panda, and Penguin, which impact 90% of the world's searches -- that took the war against spam links and black hat SEO to new heights. At its core, the change is putting a much greater emphasis on content relevance and quality by stripping out bad searches (keyword stuffing, duplicate content, and hyperlink manipulation) and clearing the lane for the good stuff.

So what does this mean for digital marketers and brands?
The bottom line is this: great, relevant content will prevail over all else. No longer will marketers and SEOs be able to stack the deck to artificially inflate the presence of bad and/or irrelevant content. If the ever-increasing demand for original, quality content wasn't already apparent -- this is your wake up call.

The good news in all of this is, if you're already creating engaging, high quality content for your marketing campaigns, this is some of the best news you'll hear all year. With the clutter out of the way, your content stands that much greater of a chance of being discovered by your intended audience.

As a brand or agency, there has never been a more important time to focus on the creation of original content in real time. By reacting to global events and trends quickly in an authentic manner, you'll not only ensure your content is original and fresh, but you'll be poising your content (and brand) for discovery. And the changes to Google's algorithm have cleared the lane of clutter to make a clearer path to the top of the search engine results pages.