Bloggers need to be aware that they are now very accountable to the laws of the land and the levels of responsibility are changing rapidly. And that mean anyone from a SEO Consultancy recruiting bloggers, or general writers, is going to have to realise that the rules are going to have to be followed.
Even a few years ago many writers who published their wares on the net
gave little heed to their accountability. Whereas journalists are (in the eyes of the law at least) bound by the rules of libel, hearsay and sub-judice, bloggers and general writers for the web have been overlooked for quite some time. And most within the SEO Agency world recruiting such talent were not bothered about the substance of the content, more that it was a vehicle to contain keywords and hopefully improve a site’s ranking.
But two events have really changed this position. Firstly, along came Panda and Google’s signalled intent to rid the web of useless content and secondly, the offline community suddenly woke up to the power of online content.
Panda is revolutionising the way content is prepared and displayed. The new algorithm from Google dictates that content should be quality in nature and relevant to the website. In other words, not content for content’s sake. In the past, most of the content on the web has been seen as useful camouflage for keywords and so little concern was given to what was written, only that the keywords were being used. Now, keywords are still incorporated of course, but the content has to add value – then everyone is happy.
And at the same time as Panda making itself felt, the credibility of the net and many individual websites has grown immeasurably and they are becoming as important, if not more, than traditional offline media outlets.
So bloggers, or content writers, who find themselves with a large following, suddenly have a voice which is influential and can trend opinions and have repercussions.
Therefore, all content writers need to be aware that their words and deeds can be actionable. And if they slip up in terms of libelling someone, or something, then they risk getting their collar felt.
Take the blogger behind the blog site Order-Order. Known as Guido Fawkes (aka Paul Staines), he allegedly leaked Alistair Campbell’s evidence to the Levinson Enquiry on journalistic standards and he’s now being called to question on where he gained the material.
No longer are bloggers and content writers being seen as oddities that normal people never mention. And that means all of them (who have not trained as journalists), need to understand the rules by which their material can be written. Otherwise, libel lawyers are going to discover a rich new stream of income.
Neil Martin is a UK SEO Consultant at London based SEO agency Cayenne Red. He is a regular contributor to the media on how companies market themselves in the digital age.