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The great part about digital marketing is that there is no shortage of advice to be found. No matter what corner of the web you land on, people are telling you how they have cracked the Google algorithm or how they can read pagerank in their Starbucks tea leaves. The only problem is that digital marketing advice, by its very nature, has a short half-life. It doesn't sit pristine on the shelf; it decays. What works for your Business SEO or social media efforts one day could very well get you penalized the next.
It's Billing's Law: Educational content inherently degrades over time at a rate relative to changes in the industry.
When we educators first produce content, be it an eBook, article or blog post, we surely stand by what we say. It's the truth, or at the very least what we believe to be the truth. We have researched, asked and probed. We have written, rewritten, scrapped it all, written a third time, and finally published it. We're proud of what we produce, and we love to help, but even the best advice is soon made irrelevant by the ever-shifting nature of digital marketing. It can be maddening, but it's the reality we have to work with.
So how do you, the reader, combat this?
The best way, the only true way, is to shop for education the same way you shop for your fruits and vegetables:
At a farmers' market.
Wait, no, that's not right. It's FRESH; you have to make sure your content is FRESH. Even the most popular content from early in 2012 is already being made obsolete. Does this mean it's bad content and the creators should feel bad? Of course not, it's just Billing's Law in action.
The reality is that there are so many people putting out so much great content, there's no reason to resort to old stuff. Material from this week is best, this month is probably safe, but anywhere outside of a few months and you're in the danger zone baby. So when you read advice, do us a favor: Double check the date, softly squeeze near the stem, and stay safe out there.