Content Marketing Optimisation > How to Avoid Future Penalties

Don’t be a Content Marketing Ostrich > How to Avoid Future Penalties.

Content Marketing2013 is going to be a BIG year for content marketing. The rise of Google penalties, social and semantic understanding has forced even the most technical SEO into considering content strategy, creation and marketing.

The result has been a leap into the unknown for many, and a fast learning curve for the rest but while quality content is a great thing for brands, and the web generally, it doesn’t mean that it’s without risks.

As we’ve seen in recent months doing too much of a good thing can be frowned upon by Google and so if there is one key lesson from Penguin and Panda it must be that you should be much smarter in the way you deliver any campaigns online.

Even white hat projects like major content pushes can bring with it an element of danger. Algorithmic penalties by their very nature take no prisoners and so you must abide by certain rules if you are to avoid misplaced punishment.

The perfect example of early stage content marketing is guest posting. It’s a relatively straightforward and immediately impactful way of leveraging content for visibility and links. The problem is mistakes are made and anchor text is overused, or other key metrics are not monitored as closely as they should and so issues arise.

This is when content marketing optimisation comes into play.

I am going to stop making up new SEO buzzwords for the rest of this article and focus on how it’s still important to plan your approach with content marketing to ensure you are not at risk of over optimisation.

To do this we need to look at how we can better understand how things have changed and how we can leverage a new reliance on link relevancy to keep the right side of that line. Enter Semantically Related Keywords.

What are Semantically Related Keywords?

We all know that Google is working hard to fully understand the correlation between different words so that they can truly understand what context we are using when searching. Add to the fact that there are genuine semantic search engines such as the wolf ram alpha and it is clear that this is the future of the web.

But for quite some time Google has been working on creating a system that will analyse the content on a page and from the keywords of the article determine the overall subject. This is what Semantic is all about. Over the years there has been a lot of discussion on whether this is Latent Semantic Indexing or just a technology that gives weight to semantically related words. Either way, this technology has been given more weight in recent months.

Where to use Semantically Related Keywords

When Google crawls a page of content, semantics come into play and will look at the keywords on the page to determine the subject. This is how Google will know whether you mean hi tech devices or fruit when you are searching for the term “Apple”.

Fast forward to recent months and semantics has evolved and is now being used in many other areas of the web. In particular semantics are being used to judge the power and anchor texts of links and even used to detect over optimised link profiles. This is where careful optimisation is needed when planning content marketing.

How is Semantics used for judging links and penalties?

You only need to look at the recent panda and penguin updates to understand that Google is on a mission to clear up link spam promote genuine naturally gained link profiles. This has resulted in the relevance of a link being one of the most important metrics. How do you think Google determines the relevancy of a link? By using its technology to determine semantically related keywords of course.

I am going to bring this back to the guest post example to show how Google uses semantics to determine the quality and relevance of a potential guest post. This will in turn show how we can use semantics ourselves to both maximise the relevance of the link and ensure that the anchor texts are not over optimised.

Using Semantics to Control the Relevancy and Power of a Guest Post

With guest posting, we all know that having a guest post from a similar niche site is far greater than having a post from a completely different niche. Google automatically detects the relevancy between the 2 posts and gives the link more power because of it. Now you can probably guess by the theme of this article that I am going to explain that Google will look for the same and also semantically related keywords on the guest post to determine its true power. This is where we can be very clever and construct specific content to produce the absolute maximum power possible. All we need to do is make sure we write content that has the semantically related keywords that Google is looking for to determine the true relevancy.

Let’s go through an example, let’s say you have done the outreach for a website that is within the payday loan niche and you have found several finance blogs that will accept your guest posts. Whilst you know that a finance blog is an excellent, relevant site for your guest post, you can refine it even further by optimising the content you write. Here is how you can do this.

So you have you finance blog ready to take the content, you now need to write the content of your post to ensure it is as relevant as possible using semantically related keywords so Google will associate that content within your niche and give the link as much power as possible. There is a fantastic site called that will generate a list of keywords for you to use. Google may not specifically be using LSI to determine the relevancy of keywords but tools like this are still a good way to determine other relevant keywords.


Simply put in your main niche keyword and it will give you a list of all related keywords based on the top X of websites in Google.

Click image to expand.


Adam Mason

Adam Mason

Co-Founder at Datify
Adam Mason is the Co-Founder of Datify, a data driven digital marketing agency based in Peterborough UK. Adam has been driving data led SEO strategies for a number of years for a variety of clients – from local businesses, to multi-national corporations. Adam writes and speaks on SEO, CRO, link profile recoveries and full digital marketing strategies. When he’s not head down on the keyboard he’s either out rock climbing or glued to horror films.
Adam Mason

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5 thoughts on “Content Marketing Optimisation > How to Avoid Future Penalties

  1. Just a quick update, I Tried to use the site today and unfortunately it was not working. I thought this is as good to mention a few other tools that are excellent at finding semantically related keywords.

    Quintura – A great context based web search client –
    Google Keyword Research Tool – A tool most people know about and is excellent for similar keyword discovery
    Theasaurus – Don’t leave out the old fashioned thesaurus for finding related keywords.

  2. Great blog Adam. Semantics does help Google in finding out or understanding the relevancy of the content. Search engines do strive hard in deciding the ranking factors which can help them improve the relevancy of the results given to the user queries. Even the search engines have to satisfy two people, the first ones are their users by providing them the relevant results and the content owners by providing them the right rankings for the quality content that they feed to search engines or add to the internet ecosystem. These ranking signals are mainly used to weed out spam and appreciate high quality content.

    1. That exactly right and thanks for commenting. It’s a very fine balance Google must play and at the same time content writers must be careful with the content they produce which is essentially what this post is about. Guest posting is well known as the number 1 link building method and has proven to be very effective. But if great care and attention is not given to the anchor text ratio of links created it could end up with a slap from Google for the sites the links are pointing to.

  3. “We have all been there where you have secured a guest post from a niche that doesn’t quite match what your site is all about. ”

    Just be careful you aren’t stretching it too far. There still needs to be some kind of relationship between you site and the guest blog even if it isn’t the exact same niche. If it’s comes from way out of left field it’s hard to make the connection stick.

    1. Completely agreed Nick. Thanks for commenting. I am just trying to be as realistic as possible, It is an issue we all face as content marketers and yes you do need to make sure they are not completely irrelevant. But writing the right content can help push more relevance through.