Monday, 18 July 2011
Is Content King or Court Jester?
Since Google changed its search algorithm a little while ago everyone is scrambling to regain the position that may have been lost in the rankings. Many really high page rankings were falsely awarded based on questionable strategies like key word stuffing. The content was garbage (certainly not king) and rose to the top because of the bells jingling on the jester hat it was wearing. When you got past the singing and dancing, there was no depth.
I’m glad this has happened for one basic reason…there’s too much jester and not enough king out there and I’m tired of trying to sift through it to find the quality content. Just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s gospel.
As a professional writer, I could certainly crank out 10, 200-word “articles” in one day (and get peanuts for it, of course) but I prefer to take my time, do some original research, talk to some experts and produce a quality piece of writing of which I can be proud. I knew that common sense and rational thought would eventually prevail (enter the Panda), but the unfortunate thing is that some good content sites (like Suite101 and e-zine) have been caught in the clean up. But they will rise again by using organic (and longer lasting) SEO strategies and perhaps get rid of some of the not so great content that they do have and tighten up the submission requirements.
Google's new search formula (sometimes called "Farmer") actually looks for quality. I honestly don’t understand how it’s done from the technical perspective but what I do know is that the tail isn't wagging the dog any more. Your content actually has to provide good information to be ranked high up in a search. Google has a responsibility to its users as well as its advertisers. It’s a fine line but I think it will help weed out some of the weaker content. Of course, I understand that, as information consumers, it’s up to us to decide what we want to read and what we don’t, but there’s no end to this virtual bookshelf. Sometimes information fatigue sets in before you have a chance to find the kings ransom.