Mar 30 2010

Useful Content Is Part of The Algo

Category: organic seoTom Shivers


Matt Cutts recently said, “We have over 200 signals in our scoring to try to return the most keep talking you're just making me famousrelevant, 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 its current users. What ranked well last year may not rank well this year. Here’s what I mean. You can go hire a copywriter to spin content for you for $10/hour or 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”.

Google has limits; they aren’t going to index every piece of content for a number of reasons:

  • Contrary to public opinion, server space isn’t free.
  • Google is getting faster (Caffeine) and that means efficient at identifying quality, useful and fresh content.
  • Even if you throw links at junk content and it gets indexed, it still may not pass 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 actually a million search results, that’s an estimation (see Stephan Spencer’s post: Results 1 – 10 of about 23,850,000,000. Yeah, right).

Google has always been about improving the Internet:

  • “We are constantly working to provide you with more relevant results so that you find what you’re looking for faster.”
  • “We try to anticipate needs not yet articulated by our global audience, and meet them with products and services that set new standards.”

Take a tip from Google regarding content and keep up with current developments and what works for business.

So, how can I help Google make their search engine better? Ah, are you admitting that perhaps Google’s algo is a bit more complex than you anticipated and you can’t game the search results? A wise conclusion, since Google’s search engineers are made up of many, many PhDs.

Consider the rise and power of social media today.

It occurred to me, while reading How Customer Engagement will determine winning brands in Social Era, that audience engagement is the reason social media was created and has swept the Internet!

Consumers know tons more about marketing than businesses give them credit for, that’s why you still see lame, boring, “look at how great we are” advertising – stuff that doesn’t interest people or 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 what advertising they are willing to see or not see, and consumers have been in control for some time now. 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 to not 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.”

For example, if you are a local 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 in the area, will find your article in Google. Helping your users solve a problem and head off a property catastrophe is likely to attract readers who might need the services of a local plumber. 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 the fact that you can help them solve the problem they have right now!

Engaging content like that gives a business instant credibility from those whom 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 any way?

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! You can also follow me on Twitter here.