SEO content marketing roundup, week ending February 16th

Let the games begin! In this week’s latest and greatest web writing news, the gloves come off and it is on:  Google (seemingly) takes on black-hat SEO practices in a widely-publicized scandal while (actually) continuing to wage war on content farms, content marketing talks influence and smart branding strategy, and social media flexes its muscle with its growing role in business (and world affairs). It’s definitely not your daddy’s newspaper…catch this week’s picks:

The Latest Buzz:

The Dirty Little Secrets of Search was the headline of David Segal’s New York Times article exposing JC Penney’s black-hat SEO fail.  Then came the fallout:

Search Marketing Wisdom posted a wise piece by Alan Bleiweiss on why JC Penney has a bigger problem than paid links, provoking a response from the giant retailer as well as great commentary by industry heavies.

Notably, Jill Whalen of High Rankings Advisor pointed out that she had originally raised the red flag about anchor text link spam only a week before it all hit the fan.

The latest?  Retail Online Integration reports that both JC Penney and Google “have shrugged the whole thing off,” or at least the big G has minimized it. Hmmm.

Great analyses of the whole mess and lessons inherent are at Search Engine Land, WordStream, and DAC Group.

Content Marketing:

So why do you need a content marketing strategy? Lee Odden of Top Rank explains the big picture very well.  He also shares his top five picks for online marketing blogs from the UK.

Valentine’s Day tributes:  elemental ways to attract prospects are posted at Content Marketing Institute, while Blue Focus Marketing features a smart read about what makes a brand irresistible.

Directly related to the subject of attracting readers, Conversation Marketing advises to write with personality and avoid being a literary prude.

And beyond attraction: Enchantment?  In this Hubspot interview, Guy Kawasaki talks about how any business can enchant their prospects with their brand.

Shelly Bowen discusses influential web content strategy via her review of Colleen Jones’ book, “Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content.”

Email marketers will want to note this article at Marketing Sherpa about growing your list using social media, citing a study of KFC’s success in using a Facebook email sign-up form.

Decision overload: Neuromarketing addresses the interesting topic of “choice fatigue” and why this is an important consideration for all marketers.

Thinking about introducing video or podcasts into the content marketing mix?  Check out this post by Ann Smarty at Blueglass about why you should do how-to videos, and this four-step how-to on podcasting success at Social Media Examiner.

SEO & Search:

Let the Google v, Content Farm Games Begin —  On the heels of the JC Penney link spam fiasco, Google released a new chrome extension allowing users to block sites.  The blocked sites will in turn serve as data for the Big G to consider an algorithmic change, according to this Marketing Pilgrim post.

WordStream and Search Engine Land both post an explanation of how the Google Personal Blocklist feature works, while Search Engine Watch notes the potential for abuse.

SEOmoz posts an interesting read about the next generation of SEO ranking signals, while SEO Book reflects on where search has been and how to spot where it may be going.

Dealing with “findability disaster” in the way of combating negative content is the subject of this post at Website Magazine, while Search News Central discusses how Google handles reviews and sentiment.

On a quality link quest?  Ontolo posts 55 new link-building resources, and Flying Point Media posts a how-to on finding quality links using Google Operators.

Understanding user behavior via analytics is the subject of this Level 343 article, and this thoughtful post at Search News Central discusses how SEO is all about the situation.

Mark your calendars for SMX West in San Jose, CA, March 8th – 10th, and for SearchFest 2011 in Portland, OR, on February 23rd.

Social Media Marketing:

Social networking and the media revolution in Egypt is the subject of this post at Famous Bloggers, while Social Media Examiner looks at how to create your own social networking community.

Interesting read on the science of social success (social media economics) is at ReadWriteWeb, while this post at Slate explores whether the valuations of social media companies like Twitter may be too high.

Social Media Today posts how to gauge influence to find top bloggers, and Mashable posts an insightful look into what stats actually drive Twitter’s trending topics.

Kristi Hines posts a Twitter marketing guide at Kiss Metrics, and  Twitter CEO Dick Costolo shares why there won’t be a Twitter-branded smart phone (at Mashable).

Unmarketing posts a provocative piece on how we are killing Facebook, and Hubspot discusses Facebook’s new fan pages design and its decision to kill its markup language (FBML) in favor of iFrames.

Finally, Jeff Esposito posts 23 impressive social media facts (complete with sources) to share with executives.