This update complements the Panda updates which were broadly focused on content quality. This in a way swings the pendulum back to the marketing side of SEO from the technical side of promoting a website to higher rankings through acquiring links by volume without consideration for quality.
Impact on Online Marketing
Getting quality links is dependent on good marketing whether it is of products, services or brand. Good marketing includes communication, cooperation with and contribution to the community with which your business interacts. Good online marketing is simply replicating this online using various tools and channels. The side benefit is getting good to great links and hence showing up higher in search results.
This is especially essential to small & medium businesses. The days of easy, free links quickly boosting site value are over. This comment by AJKohn captures this point succinctly. Now it is essential to have a clear online marketing strategy which is channel agnostic. You have to try it all to succeed.
As for SEO itself, it has to go beyond Google to all online promotional channels including other search channels. Even a top relevant community site which is relevant for regular engagement for your business with a few thousand visitors has search. While search is the secondary part here and contributing to the community is primary, knowing how that search works will only help you structure the content better in terms of getting found without compromising integrity.
What did the Penguin update do?
Link quality just got emphasized over quantity. As an example, instead of 50 articles to a routine article site for 50 low quality links, it is better to get 5 articles accepted by top influential blogs in your niche. So your articles better get more effort and attention.
Visitors and Brand got emphasized over keywords. While keywords are still important, the important point is building brand name and focusing on your visitors is now crucial. Brand name blue widgets is now important if you want to rank for blue widgets. To get there, your visitors need to associate you closely with the product for you to get such links naturally. If they do, you are already on your way to rank for blue widgets naturally.
User friendly and interesting content got emphasized over keyword centric content. It is now imperative for businesses to think about content in terms of the user over search engines. So your site and information structure are now very important as that influences internal linking and the anchor text mix.
Focus on building brand name through great products and services and also through good marketing.
Build a great information source for your market with quality content and resources.
Contribute to the communities where your customers are.
Don’t obsess over search engines, obsess over visitors.
Don’t be over dependent on Google, diversify your marketing channels.
Don’t go about dropping links which will send no traffic.
Most of all don’t panic. Search engines are going to do what they need to do to improve results and their revenues. The SEO ecosystem depends on search engines and has to adapt. But with a growing brand and multiple channels for promoting your business, you are de-risking yourself from any update and that is the way to go.