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Will 2013 Bring a Paid Link Resurgence?

December 12, 2012
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With Google rolling out frequent changes, the last couple of years have been alternately amazingly fun and freakishly terrifying for anyone who builds links or has links built. It should be clear by now that your site can be harmed by poor-quality links, whether you bought them, got them for free or, heck, didn't even intentionally get them. I previously stated (in several places) that I thought negative search engine optimization was more of a scare tactic than a reality, but I've since changed my mind after witnessing it firsthand a few times....

 

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Five years ago, it seemed nothing was as buzzy and mysterious as search engine optimization. Today, "content marketing" has taken over as the reigning buzzphrase in marketing circles, with many SEO practitioners shifting their sales pitches to match the trend. The difference, essentially, is content marketing aims to create content humans want to read, whereas SEO aims to create content that pleases search engines. The two aren't mutually exclusive, but not long ago creating cheap, machine-friendly garbage for SEO was as effective as putting time and money into quality content. Not anymore.
 
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Search engine marketing has long been a top driver of online traffic and a key area of investment for e-commerce merchants. After all, using search engines as a resource dominates online life for all users. Consumers turn to search engines specifically for shopping-related queries. According to Forrester Research, 83 percent of online consumers conduct product research prior to purchasing and 39 percent of first-time online purchasers begin their shopping with search.
 

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