Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, recently said, “We have over 200 signals in our scoring to try to return the most relevant, the most useful, the most accurate search results that we can find.”
Google constantly changes its algo to provide info that’s relevant and useful to users, as quickly as possible. What ranked well last year might not rank so well this year. As they put it themselves, “We try to anticipate needs not yet articulated by our global audience, and meet them with products and services that set new standards.”
Here’s what I mean: You can hire a copywriter to spin content for $10/hour (or maybe less), just so you can add more content to your blog and get more internal links to your important pages. But Google can look at that and decide, “Another waste dump; not interested.” It’s your responsibility to keep your pages up-to-date and relevant – for your customers and prospects, as well as for the search engines.
Simply put, Google will not index every piece of content for a number of reasons:
- Server space isn’t free.
- Google is getting faster (Caffeine) and that means more efficient at identifying high-quality, useful, fresh content.
- Even if junk content gets indexed, it might not pass through Google’s other filters that allow it to rank in the search results.
- Just because you see over a million results for a search query doesn’t mean there are literally a million search results – that’s an estimation (see Stephan Spencer’s post: Results 1 – 10 of about 23,850,000,000. Yeah, right. http://www.stephanspencer.com/search-engines/results-1-10-of-about-23850000000-yeah-right).
Perhaps Google’s algo is a bit more complex than you anticipated, and you can’t game the search results, after all. Knowing that Google’s search engineers comprise many PhDs, how can you help Google make their search engine better? Take a tip from Google’s own book regarding content: Keep up with current developments and what works for business, making sure your site reflects both, and:
Consider the rise and power of social media today
It occurred to me, while reading How Customer Engagement will determine Winning Brands in the Social Era, that engagement is the reason social media was created. And it’s swept the Internet.
Consumers know much more about marketing than businesses realize. That’s why we still see lame “Look at how great we are” advertising – stuff that doesn’t interest people, get them talking and certainly not taking action. In my opinion, this is one of the reasons social media is so popular, because consumers are in control of the advertising they are willing to see (or not see), and have been in control for quite some time. This “new phenomenon” in advertising isn’t going away.
So what makes a piece of content a success for the business?
Joel Spolsky, in his final editorial with Inc. Magazine, shares this idea: A blog that generates leads and sales has to be about something bigger than the product, service or the company. Yes, it takes real discipline not to post about yourself. “It has to be about your readers, who will, it’s hoped, become your customers. It has to be about making them awesome,” he wrote.
For example, if you are a plumber, don’t write about your long list of certifications and years of experience. That’s all about you.
Instead, write the definitive article on how to prevent pipes from freezing in your home or office. For the next several years, when the forecast is sub-freezing temperatures, anyone interested in protecting their property (or dealing with burst pipes) will find your article in Google. Helping your users solve a problem and head off a property catastrophe is likely to attract readers who need your plumbing expertise.
That’s the point of a useful piece of content. Writing about experience and certifications has its place, but it’s meaningless until someone recognizes that you can help them solve the problem they have right now. Engaging content like that gives a business instant credibility from those it has helped.
Yes, useful content is part of Google’s algo, but isn’t that what you want to spend your time and money creating anyway? The bigger question might be, “Once I’ve got useful content, how do I get the most out of it?”