Using quality content to better the web, especially from a SEO perspective, is a noble task, but it comes with a number of decisions that aren’t always readily intuitive: where to publish, on what platform, and to whom? These are questions that concern “community.” While the decisions made are often those in the interest of increasing traffic or traction, the actual value of answering these questions seems problematic at best.
Content, and the strategy that surrounds it, can be a tricky and wonderful thing – but it isn’t the be all, end all.
The idea of “community” has already taken hold in social and content strategies. Influential blogs, profiles, pinboards, and Facebook Pages are recognized as well-established, with followings in the tens of thousands to the tens of millions.
Any competent SEO knows that a strong content strategy is integral to today’s digital marketing campaigns, where social signals and Google authorship are beginning to affect rankings. But while we can identify content’s weight – its significant role in SEO – the communities built around sharing and authorizing this content seem a bit hokey.
That’s right. Not quite a hoax, but hokey.
Community First, Shrine Later
Craig Mod recently published his thoughts on online communities in his article, Our New Shrines. The post details a process where a Facebook Page can be the starting point for a “shrine,” his moniker for “product.” Not the other way around.
The article explains how a growing community of 4 million users has formed around this page, seemingly in wait for a product or service to emerge. Mod excitedly deems this mode of marketing – community first, shrine later – a novel solution to building a digital empire.
The problem is that these online communities can and will continue to be defrauded. While Facebook has assured that they will improve spam detection, as a result of a startup alleging 80 percent of their traffic was sent from