Last month, Google proved it’s not taking a summer vacation from ensuring users find the best content through search – so neither should you. Here’s Brafton’s take on July’s biggest content marketing news that can help inform your strategy.

Google rolled out Panda 21 on Tuesday, and the latest algorithm update impacted about 1.1 percent of queries.Check your content: New Panda on the loose

On July 18, Google launched a Panda update, “[incorporating] new signals for finely targeting” low-quality content.

A lot of sites that felt they were inappropriately targeted by previous Pandas reported recovery following the launch of Panda 26. But this doesn’t mean the search engine is lowering its quality standards, in fact other news from Google reveals it’s getting even more careful about SEO rewards for content: Namely guest blogs and press releases.

No link love for shallow content: Press release & guest blog SEO guidelines

Webmaster Tools updates make clear that marketers using these formats in their content mix have to evaluate the goals and metrics for success: Are they being used for purposes beyond link building? Google’s newly updated Webmaster Tools link schemes guide identifies “large scale guest posting with keyword-rich anchor text links” and press releases overly optimized with links on keyword anchor text as practices that could hurt SEO.

Google Webmaster Guide link schemes

SEO links have always been a big draw for these formats, but the webmaster tools updates should come as no suprise: for nearly a year Google has been warning content marketers against thin guest post strategies that focus less on sharing provoking insights for new audiences and more on winning inbound links.

Still, before scrapping these formats, consider how they can still be used for broader marketing goals. Access to readers of outside websites can be key to making a positive impression on new and wider audiences. Some of the leading cited benefits of guest blogs and press releases include increasing brand awareness and earning new referral traffic, regardless of SEO links and keyword rankings. Place the focus on carefully crafting messages that will resonate with readers on industry blog or news wire sites.

Video content earns shares (& leads) with good integration

When considering content that will resonate with your audiences, don’t forget to consider video.

Branded video sharing jumped 7% quarter-over-quarter in Q2 2013.

New data from Unruly shows that sharing of branded videos jumped 7 percent quarter-over-quarter in Q2 2013, proving this format can help spread corporate awareness.

While more businesses report using video to drive marketing goals, some brands are getting stuck in top-of-funnel marketing with their video content. 

July Video Integration Video

Companies publish videos without first considering a real strategy – whether they lack subject diversity, consistency or fail to align popular crowd-catching videos with integration best practices that get viewers to connect the clip with the sponsoring brand and convert. Brafton recently published a video on nine rules for video integration that shares some video strategies to fulfill broader marketing goals, build loyal followings and more easily measure leads from video investments. Be sure to watch for insights on better video marketing.

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