Why Content is Still King: Crucial Updates for 2014 and Beyond

Reading quality contentAt the risk of sounding self-congratulating, I have been saying that content is king and links are the king’s ransom since I began my career in Internet Marketing. Today a modification to that statement is to add the word “quality,” as in “QUALITY Content is King.”

What is the Difference Between “Content” and “Quality Content”?

From it’s inception, Google has been adjusting it’s algorithm to provide the best possible search results for it’s users.

It’s used metrics such as the number of pages a website had, the amount of relevant keywords on those pages, links from other websites which supposedly indicated that the content had impressed those at other sites enough for them to include a link to it in their own content (articles, posts, etc.) and even “community engagement” to position pages higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

However, shady search engine optimizers, business owners and others began churning out meaningless sentences shoved together into paragraphs just to get more pages and words up on their websites. In 2006, BMW’s German site used these techniques to artificially inflate their visibility and you can only imagine what happened when Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam came across this tactic being used. That’s right, zero visibility.

As Dave Davies from Search Engine Watch explains in, “What is Pure Spam: 10 Examples from Google,” content spam includes, “automatically generated gibberish, cloaking and scraping content from other websites.”

“Spinning” is another form of spammy content creation that surfaced when duplicate content became an issue with Google and people could no longer copy content from other websites. “Spinning” is taking a piece of content and changing words, sentences and/or paragraph structures before posting it—fully reconstituted—on a website. Google can spot this as well so just don’t do it.

Here’s a low quality content example from a movie site describing kids movie, “Despicable Me, Too”:

“Gru is a modified man. No more a super-villian who needs to be the baddest of the bad people, he’s now trained, with his three lovely children, his very funny gobbledygook discussing, Tic-Tac-looking minions, a creepy dog and an wicked researcher associate (Russell Brand) whose concentrate is now creating jellies and jellies.”

And another from a fitness site:

“the benefits calorie burning is the only benefit of Pure Barre. According to Pure Barre, the technology to protect your joints, because it does not involve any rebound or jump. Each followed by stretching create long bulk, muscle exercise intensity part.”

The strange choice of words “gobbledygook discussing” and “benefits calorie burning” and the poor grammar exposes these authors as either non-native speakers or content spinning software programs. The content has been posted to websites basically with the assumption that no one is really reading this content except Google bots. Think again because quality content is what rules the kingdom and if you need guidance about living within the rules of this kingdom, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I specialize in consulting with companies who are looking for a stronger presence on the Internet. It’s what I do.

QUALITY Content is King and Rules the Kingdom

At this point, the Google algorithm has become sophisticated enough to send spam alerts to teams of editors who DO open pages and actually read through content with their own eyes. They even pick different pages to read randomly, without an automated alert. From now on, before you write another word, assume that your article or web page will not only be read by people on the web, it may also be reviewed by a professional editor at Google.

While you may think that spam does the trick, the bottom line is people don’t like it and Google doesn’t like it. Therefore, creators of spam and what Google considers “thin” content, are now out of luck.

Like any business, Google’s prime directive is to deliver the best products to its ideal customers. For Google, those products are website PAGES containing specific and detailed answers to questions users type or speak into Google search. Google is continuing to perfect its process of decoding exactly what the user wants via the semantic web, and delivering the most precise answer whether that’s information, a business, a non-profit, directions, photos, a government entity or a page full of separate answers.

“Spam” is NOT Ham, and “Thin” is NOT “In”: Quality Content to the Rescue

Spammy content isn’t the only content rustler riding the Internet. “Thin content” or content that provides little or no added value to the site might have many words but little or no authentic or original content. Examples include weak affiliate pages, cookie-cutter sites, doorway pages, automatically generated content and copied content.

SEO writer Paula Allen, explains,

“thin content is the opposite of the “unique, quality, relevant content” that the search engines want to show on results pages. Thin content can hurt a website’s SEO and revenue.”

Many businesses have been in the habit of charging their front-desk assistants and low- or un-paid interns with creating content for their websites. A marketing director or business owner tasks these clueless but eager individuals with going to other sites, copying the content and rewording it a bit here and there. After reviewing it and a little editing, it’s posted online.

While this process may be something of a step up from content created by a software program or non-native speaker, it is not content that focuses on the company’s target client’s pain points and how the business’ services and products can help. It’s neither detailed nor specific enough to impress Google and its hundreds of MIT PhDs much less a reader seeking information.

Over the years with it’s many algorithm updates and overhauls Google has made it very clear that “thin content” and spam will negatively impact page rankings. They’ve said this before, however they are in a “take-no-prisoners mode” now and demote web pages regularly. Even if a web page manages to escape a manual penalty, it flounders and slowly drift downwards in the search results.

Visibility in Google

Here is the good news. Google has really stuck by its mission statement to serve up quality content to searchers and there are some things you can do to improve your existing content and create new. If you feel you need help please don’t hesitate to contact me. I consult with companies who are looking for help with their SEO campaigns to gain more visibility in the search engines. I am happy to help.

 

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