Google is waging war. At least that’s the impression the media are giving of Google’s announcement that the search giant has made a ‘pretty big algorithmic change’ to the way in which it ranks pages.
The new algorithm is a means by which Google aims to reduce the rankings of sites with low-quality or copied content that is keyword-rich but essentially useless. In a blog post, Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts (Google Fellow and Principle Engineer respectively) outlined the aim behind the change:
‘This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites – sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites – sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.’
While Google hasn’t stated anywhere that it is ‘waging war against content farms’ (as is the popular sensationalism of the update), it’s clear that it will change the way a lot of companies approach SEO. The algorithmic changes are as yet only in effect in the US at the moment but are set to be rolled out in other countries in the future. This means that now, more than ever, high-quality, relevant content trumps SEO trickery every time. Of course, SEO cannot (and should not) be ignored, but SEO alone will not suffice. As a social media marketing agency, we’ve been championing a shift to more holistic marketing solutions for some time, something that this new algorithm looks set to reward.
The rules of the game might change, but if brands and marketers insist on quality, integrated solutions, they’ll consistently come out on top. With the Oscars fresh in everyone’s mind, it’s helpful to view SEO and search engine marketing like the making of an Academy Award-winning film.
From time to time, Hollywood spews out a film that’s little more than a casting call of popular celebrities, deliberately designed to build hype, but ultimately not very good. The most recent example that springs to mind is Valentine’s Day, a shallow abomination that was almost universally panned by reviewers. In SEO terms, this is a content farm – filled with keywords but ultimately not of very much benefit to anyone.
Cast your mind now to The King’s Speech. Nominated for 12 Oscars and the winner of four, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actor, it was a relatively low-budget film that was not only intelligently researched and executed, but brilliantly cast with quality actors, rather than a cattle call of the latest edition of People Magazine.
Insist on quality, not the latest gimmicks. In the democracy of the Internet, loyalty and respect coupled with innovative ideas will get you a lot further than trying to rort the system.
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Image: Alexis Kenne