Email marketers can learn a valuable lesson by considering the sea change instituted by the new Google Caffeine site indexing algorithm. Overnight, sneaky SEO tricks were rendered extinct, and content became king once again.
Google Had to Stop the Article Spinners
In the wild wild web's pioneering early days of monetization, the net filled up with 14 year-old kids holed up in their bedrooms who promoted themselves as Instant SEO Experts. They had cottoned on to the "secrets" of gaining high Google SERPs (search engine results pages) and thus flooding their websites and their Paypal accounts with showers of pennies. All someone needed to do was dig up a long tail keyword, type up an article (or even just copy one off some website), plunk it through an article spinner, generate a few tens of thousands of variations of it, FTP them up to a host's server, and voila: "Lamborghini dealership here I come…" even if the individual in question wasn't old enough to have a drivers' license.
All of that silliness worked fine for a while until it was the platoons of PhDs at Google that did the cottoning on. They figured out that they had just developed the world's biggest bank for the financing of unintelligible junk, and that in order to maintain their meager half a trillion dollar market cap, they had to come up with ways of shutting out the article spinning brigade and restore order to the savage frontier.
No One Wants to Read a 10% Keyword Density Text
Initially, Google started jiggling their algorithms around to devalue sudden dumps of 100,000 pages onto a site, misleading meta keywords, high keyword percentages (found with a search engine widget) and all of the more blatant violations of common sense. However, they had something much more explosive that they were busily concocting: Google Caffeine. This reimagining of the time-honored Google algorithm was the web's equivalent of Shock & Awe. Overnight, sites which had been sitting on #1 SERPs for years found themselves below the fold or right off the page, while a whole bunch of sites that wouldn't have been able to attract flies the day before were now sitting in the catbird seat. Meow.
Content That Appeals to Readers... What a Concept!
Even though the crying and gnashing of teeth by the webmasters who have been "wronged" has yet to abate, what Google Caffeine had wrought was not a capricious change implemented in an unjustified manner, but simply a return to common sense. The vast majority of the white, gray, & black hat SEO tactics were nullified in an instant, and in their place a remarkable concept now reigned supreme: Content! Content that's fresh, new, unique and interesting to an audience! Caffeine rewards sites that appeal to live human readers instead of bots. Wow. What a concept.
Inform & Entertain Your Prospects... Don't Hype Them
The Caffeine experience should be a wake-up call (sorry, couldn't resist the pun) to all email marketers, large and small. Instead of staying up nights figuring that your top 17 metrics gain 0.02% if your email's subscription button is located one pixel further up, try something really revolutionary for a change: Offer your prospects great content! Content that's fun to read, that informs them in an entertaining manner, and which doesn't sound like a checkered jacketed huckster trying to sell them a rusty 1974 Pinto that was only driven by a little old lady to church on Sundays.
In an increasingly fragmented email marketing universe, where your customers bounce around like free electrons in a social media field, the most basic key to successful campaigns remains not the tricks and the ploys and the legerdemain, but the quality and relevance of the content. If you write it, they will come.