Hey SEO Guys! What’s With All The Content?
Why do SEOs Love Content?
If you’ve been following the industry for more than a month you’ve probably noticed the strong emphasis on content. If you’re not familiar with SEO, or have a brief understanding, this might seem a little odd. SEO’s all about optimising your site and building links isn’t it? Well, yes, but SEO has changed a lot over the past ten years, mainly because Google has become better at understanding the web.
A Quick History Lesson
In the beginning there was Page rank, and Larry saw that it was good. Well, that’s a bit of an over simplification but basically:
- Larry Page & Sergy Brin created a system where links showed which sites were most important (Page rank) and founded Google
- SEO’s figured out building links could make you rank higher
- Google begin to manually penalise manipulative links, but this was a mostly loosing battle
- A large number of sites on the web had limited content, with over optimised page content and little value for users
- Google introduces a penalty for low quality content (Panda)
- Google introduces a penalty for low quality links (Penguin)
Obviously there’s more to it than that (if you want to learn more a good place to start is with the SEOmoz list of algorithm updates).
The take away point from this is that Google wants to show users sites which are interesting & useful, and they’re putting a lot of energy into ranking highly those which do. How do they know which should be ranked highest? There are over 200 factors in there algorithms, but basically they’re looking for sites with unique content, that users are looking for and other sites are linking to in a natural way.
How can they tell if links aren’t natural?
- They use the same anchor text
- They appear on sites with low levels of trust
- There are patterns in the linking
- Large amounts appear suddenly
- They appear on pages with little relevance to the target page
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but you can basically assume that Google knows what you did last summer.
How Have Search Engines & SEO Changed
So here we are, 15 years later and SEO has changed greatly, and yet old tactics still linger. Two of the biggest differences are:
- Google is better at determining if your content is of low quality
- Google is better at determining if your links are manipulative
So what do SEOs do to improve a sites ranking? Well, we still build links, and we still optimise content, but Dejan SEO, and agencies like them, now have a strong focus on improving user experience and creating content that people want to share and link to.
Yes, you can still do link building with blog out reach and guest posts, but the potential for this is limited. If your site doesn’t appear high quality then the sites that are most likely to link to you are going to be of low quality. This approach also relies 100% on the link builders. When they stop building, the links stop appearing.
It’s now widely accepted that the only strategy that will work long term is to create high quality content on your site. Finally, we’re doing what Google (and users) wanted us to do all along.
This strategy is a long way from what people typically understand as SEO. It’s not even been fully adopted by the SEO community.
At Dejan SEO we know people often choose to work with us because we’ve been consistently successful ourselves. They want whatever it is we’ve got and we decided that this is exactly what we should be giving our clients!
So what’s the secret to our success. We consistently produce content. This isn’t a short term strategy (Dan recently got a link from CNET two years following publication of the content) but it is absolutely the best way to “do SEO”. If you want to rank above your competitors, this is what you NEED to be doing. To labour the point, you can rank quickly for 3 months or your can rank steadily for years.
Still, this is not what many clients are expecting. Since heavily shifting the focus to content I have heard the following on more than one occasion:
- “I just want to rank number one. This is my highest priority. I’m not concerned about having a blog”
- “Can we hide the content so users don’t find it”
- “We’re re-branding and trying to have less content on the site ”
I totally understand how people feel about content. For the most part it seems like an inconvenience. Some people even consider text on their site unattractive. But consider for a moment the sites you find useful. Chances are they include helpful information, provide you with a great user experience, or do something better than other sites. Now consider your own site. Does it stand out from the crowd, does it do more than just sell your product, or does it blend into the background.
Our job is to help you make your site stand out in such a way that people will not only enjoy visiting it, but feel compelled to tell others about it, though word of mouth, social shares, and yes, you guessed it. Links.
You can carry on as you were. Optimise content, pay someone to build links and repeat. It’ll work for a while. But if you really want to succeed online you need to create good content.
A successful business looks into the future and tries to see what’s coming. In this case we’re looking at what Google would like to achieve. Eventually we can expect Google to reduce its reliance on third party signals and expand its understanding of content to the stage where it knows what the best result is without having to use links. This might seem a long way off, but with every step they take, the risk of not creating good content increases.
Good SEO agencies can help make creating content easier and help you get the most value out of the process.
What Do You Think?
What’s the biggest challenge for your business and creating content? Do you have time to do all of this, or would you prefer to do it the old fashion way. Talk to us on our Google Plus page.