Google rewards 'good' content

18 August 2014
Bad content means low SEO.

The word was that Google’s Panda algorithm meant that if you didn’t have a Google+ page you could forget about SEO. That was 2011. But it didn’t quite work out like that, at least not for my organisation who shares its acronym with the esoteric and intriguing, among them State Bar and Basketball Associations, an association for school bursars and, most recently, one for Indianhead Sheep Breeders.

Since Panda become extinct we have had Penguin and Hummingbird. The latter seems to have made more of an impact...

For some time the company I work for held the top spot on Google searches for “ISBA”. Somewhat inexplicably we then played second fiddle to a company sharing the same acronym, but retained most of the other spots on the sought-after front page. A few weeks ago we linked our Google+ page to our website and lo-and-behold within 24-hours the spiders had done their work and we topped the charts once more. But this seemed to come at a price as we lost several other spots on the front page. It’s enough to make you join the “I’m Still Baffled Association”. But what is becoming more obvious is how Google’s algorithmic sophistry is linked to content marketing and how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ that content is. 

I guess for good or bad, you should really read popular or unpopular (after all, I doubt there is a calculation that can ascribe an empirical value to whether a screaming devil baby is better than Ron Burgundy’s tips on how to be more of a sex panther! See our Content Hub for examples). Shares and likes work for me. 

The changes that Google made to its algorithms in recent years have had a major effect on the way it indexes its search results. Hummingbird enabled the Google search engine to produce better, more relevant results for semantic searches; conversational searches (aka "long tail inquiries") rather than keyword specific searches, as was the case previously. More detail on how these updates have affected search can be found here.

Content marketing can complement traditional marketing methods. Quality content not only strengthens SEO – helping the brands appear higher on Google searches – it can also be used to attract potential customers. But it should not just be wielded as a blunt sales tool; if it’s good enough it can also seduce potential consumers through more subtle means and build longer-lasting brand association and loyalty.

It has never been more important for content creators to understand what their audience wants, when they want to see it, and to give deep consideration to the most apt context. For those advertisers having trouble convincing purse-string holders to invest in content (and there are a vast array of options facing advertisers!), the obvious advantages of better SEO and, perhaps more pertinently, the obvious disadvantages of dropping down Google’s listings, might be a useful persuader.

Ultimately, this is all great news for the consumer as there is a demonstrable business need for content to grab attention and hold it, and that can only really happen if it resonates with the end user. 

By Mario Yiannacou

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